Government of New Brunswick

When Samuel de Champlain and other European explorers began to explore the area that became New Brunswick in the early 1600s, they were met by the Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik) and Mi'kmaq peoples who inhabited the area and lived along its rivers and coasts. The early French pioneers established settlements at the head of the Bay of Fundy and up the St. John River Valley as far as present-day Fredericton and called the entire Maritime region Acadia.

The area was the subject of numerous conflicts between the French and British empires during the later 1600s and early 1700s. The region was ceded to Great Britain in 1710. Following the final defeat of the French in 1755, more than 5,000 Acadians were forced into exile from their lands by the British. Some of them escaped to what was then a remote and relatively uninhabited coastline along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Baie des Chaleurs, where these Acadian settlements grew and thrived. Today, this region is known as the Acadian Peninsula.

In 1783, refugees loyal to the British Crown began to land at the mouth of the St. John River in what was then part of the Province of Nova Scotia . They were fleeing from persecution in the aftermath of the American Revolution and came from as far south as Georgia and as far north as Massachusetts. These refugees were not all of British origin, but included German, Dutch and Black Loyalists. The Black Loyalists included a number of freed slaves, but there were a small number of loyalists who brought their slaves with them to New Brunswick.

Discontentment with the government in Halifax led to the establishment of the areas north of the Bay of Fundy as the new Province of New Brunswick in 1784. By 1785, so many refugees had landed and settled at the mouth of the St. John River that the King granted a charter to the new City of Saint John , the first incorporated city in Canada. The capital was established at Fredericton, 114 km up the St. John River.

Scottish and Irish settlers began to settle in New Brunswick in the early 1800s. A large number of Irish, escaping from the hardships of the Potato Famine, made their way to Saint John and the Miramichi River region in the 1840s. Later immigration included a few hundred Danish settlers in the 1870s, whose communities in Victoria County exist today. A significant number of Jewish immigrants came through the Port of Saint John from the 1890s to the beginning of the First World War. A number of these immigrants remained to form Jewish communities in Saint John , Moncton and Fredericton. Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Pakistani and African Canadian communities have been established over the past century in the major cities.

New Brunswick was one of the first provinces, along with Ontario, Québec and Nova Scotia, to join together to form the Dominion of Canada in 1867. As part of Canada, New Brunswick has experienced immigration on a smaller scale from all over the world, and today boasts a varied and increasingly multicultural population.

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