1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nova Scotia

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NOVA SCOTIA, a province of the Dominion of Canada, lying between 43° 25′, and 47° N. and 59° 40′ and 66° 25′ W., and composed of the peninsula proper and the adjoining island of Cape Breton (q.v.), which is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Canso. The extreme length from S.W. to N.E. is 374 m. (N.S. 268, C.B. 108), breadth 60 to 100 m.; area 21,428 sq. m. The isthmus of Chignecto, 111/2 m. wide, connects it with the province of New Brunswick.

Physical Features.—Nova Scotia is intersected by chains of hills. The Cobequid Mountains, stretching from E. to W. and terminating in Cape Chignecto, form the chief ridge. Several of the elevations are as high as 1100 ft., and are cultivable almost to their summits. Lying on each side of this range are two extensive tracts of arable land. A ridge of precipices runs for 130 m. along the Bay of Fundy from Brier Island at the farthest extremity of Digby Neck and culminates in Capes Split and Blomidon. Here and there rocks, from 200 to 600 ft. in height and covered with stunted firs, overhang the coasts. Beyond them lies the garden of Nova Scotia, the valley of the Annapolis. The Atlantic coast from Cape Canso to Cape Sable is high and bold, containing many excellent harbours, of which Halifax (Chebucto Bay) is the chief. The N. shore is, as a rule, low, with hills some distance from the coast. Of its harbours the most important is Pictou. Of the inlets the most remarkable is Minas Basin, the eastern arm of the Bay of Fundy; it penetrates some 60 m. inland, and terminates in Cobequid Bay, where the tides rise sometimes as high as 53 ft., While on the opposite coast, in Halifax Harbour, the spring tides scarcely exceed 7 or 8 ft. The height of the Fundy tides has, however, been often exaggerated, the average being 42⋅3 ft. Many islands occur along the coast, particularly on the S.E.; of these the most celebrated is Sable Island (q.v.). The rivers are, with few exceptions, navigable for coasting vessels for from 2 to 20 m. The principal are the Annapolis, Avon, Shubenacadie, the East, Middle and West rivers of Pictou, the Musquodoboit and the Lahave. The largest of the fresh-water lakes is Lake Rossignol, situated in Queen’s county, and more than 20 m. long. Ship Harbour Lake, 15 m. in length, and Grand Lake are in Halifax county.

Geology.—The Lower Cambrian formation forms an almost continuous belt along the Atlantic coast, varying in width from 10 to 15 m. and covering an area estimated at 8500 sq. m. It is interrupted by large masses of intrusive granite, extending from the extreme S.W. of the province as far as Halifax, and cropping out in detached areas as far as Cape Canso. This part of the province is rugged and sterile, and abounds in small lakes and peat bogs. Along the N.E. coast extends a Carboniferous area, including two large and productive coal-fields in Cumberland and Pictou counties, and continued in the coal-fields of Cape Breton. On the S. coast of the Bay of Fundy, and at Minas Basin and Channel, the Triassic Red Sandstone formation predominates, more or less protected by a narrow rim of trap rock, culminating at its E. end in the basaltic promontory of Blomidon (Blow-me-down). The Cobequid Mountains are a mass of slates, quartzite’s and intrusive rocks (apparently Siluro-Cambrian). At the joggins, near Cape Chignecto, occurs a splendid exposure, rich in curious minerals and fossils, and very celebrated among geologists.

Climate; Flora and Fauna.—The climate of Nova Scotia is more temperate than that of New Brunswick, and more equable than that of the inland provinces, though not so dry. Spring and winter begin about a fortnight later than in Ontario. Dense fogs often drift in from the Atlantic, but are not considered unhealthy. Most of the principal birds of North America are to be found, and the game of the country includes moose, caribou, duck, teal, geese, woodcock, partridge. snipe, plover, &c. The game laws are strict and well enforced. The chief wild animals are bears, foxes and wild-cats. Wolves, once numerous, are now. extinct. The natural flora does not differ greatly from that of the New England states. The sweet-smelling may-flower, or trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), grows extensively, and has long been the provincial emblem.

Population.—The population increases slowly, having risen only from 440,572 in 1881 to 459,574 in 1901, an average of 21⋅8 to the square mile (total area, 21,428 sq. m.). The rural population is grouped along the river valleys, and the natural increase is normal, but there is a large emigration to the manufacturing cities of the E. states and to the Canadian N.W. The great mass of the people are of British descent, but in parts of Cape Breton are found descendants of the early French settlers; in Lunenburg and the S.E. is a large German colony; near Halifax are a number of negroes from the West Indies, and scattered through the province are about 2000 Micmac Indians, who now confine themselves chiefly to the making of bows and arrows, baskets and trinkets; though they carry on a certain amount of mixed farming. Few are of absolutely pure Indian blood. The settlers of English and Scotch descent are about equal in numbers, but the latter have been more prominent in the development of the province. The Irish are found chiefly in Halifax and in the mining towns of Cape Breton. Roman Catholics, Presbyterians and Baptists predominate, though the Church of England is strong in Halifax, and still retains a certain social prestige.

Administration.—The executive authority is in the hands of a lieutenant-governor appointed for five years by the federal government, and of a council appointed from and responsible to the local legislature. This consists of a lower house of assembly, and of a legislative council of twenty life members, which the assembly has frequently, but in vain, endeavoured to abolish. The municipal system was introduced subsequent to federation, and is modelled on that of Ontario.

The revenue is chiefly made up of the Dominion subsidy (see Ontario), and of royalties on mining concessions, chiefly those on coal. Owing to the great increase of mining in Cape Breton, its payments towards the revenue are larger in proportion than those of the mainland.

Education.—Primary education is free and compulsory; secondary education is also free but optional. In each county one high school is raised to the rank of an academy, free to all qualified students in the county, and receives an additional grant. Roman Catholics have not won the right of separate schools, as in Ontario, but in Halifax and other districts where that church is strong, a compromise has been arranged. Thus the two Roman Catholic colleges, St Francis Xavier (English) at Antigonish, and St Anne (French) at Church Point (Digby county), and most of the convents are in affiliation with the public school system. There are also many private schools, chiefly for girls, and under denominational control. But while primary and secondary education is widespread and of good quality, higher education has suffered from denominational bickerings, and the universities are still too many and too small. They are: King’s College, Windsor (Anglican), founded in 1790; Acadia University, Wolfville (Baptist, 1839); St Francis Xavier, Antigonish (Roman Catholic, 1866); and Dalhousie University, Halifax (Undenominational), established by charter in 1818, reorganized in 1863, the largest and the most efficient, possessing faculties of arts, science, medicine and law. The province supports a normal school and schools of agriculture and of horticulture at Truro, and has voted $100,000 for a College of Technology at Halifax.

Commerce and Manufactures.—Nova Scotia is naturally a sea-going province, and till about 1881 had the largest tonnage, in proportion to population, in the world. Since then, her shipping has greatly diminished, though Halifax is still one of the chief winter ports of the Dominion, and Sydney is also a favourite port of call for steamers in need of “bunker” coal. The water-power provided by the rivers supports many manufactures. Several sugar-refineries exist, and a large trade is carried on with Bermuda and the West India islands.

Fisheries.—The fisheries of Nova Scotia are the most important in Canada, and the value of their products ($7,841,602 in 1904) is about one-third that of the whole Dominion. Lobsters, cod and mackerel constitute the bulk of the catch. Many boats are also fitted out in Lunenburg, Digby, Yarmouth and other ports for the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. A bounty is paid by the Dominion government, and attempts are being made to introduce more scientific methods among the fishermen. The vessels are manned by over 25,000 men, and many more are employed in the lobster canneries and kindred industries. Trout and salmon abound in the inland lakes and streams.

Lumber.—Lumbering was long the chief industry of the province, and is still very important, though the percentage of forest left uncut is only about 30%. The network of small lakes and rivers enables the logs to be brought to the mills with great ease, and little rough timber is now exported. The chief export is that of spruce deals, almost entirely from Halifax. The manufacture of wood-pulp for paper is also carried on.

Mineral.—Bituminous coal is mined in various parts of Cape Breton (q.v.) and in the counties of Cumberland and Pictou. The seams dip at a low angle, and are of great thickness, especially in Pictou county. The total product exceeds 5,000,000 tons, annually, more than two-thirds that of the whole Dominion. Of this over half is mined in the neighbourhood of Sydney, Cape Breton. Other important centres are Springhill, Acadia Mines, Stellarton and Glace Bay (C.B.). It is shipped as far west as Montreal, and to the New England states. Iron is largely produced, chiefly in the vicinity of the Cumberland and Pictou coal-fields. The deposits include magnetite, red haematite, specular, limonite and carbonate ores. Blast furnaces are in operation, especially at New Glasgow, Sydney and North Sydney, though most of the ore used at Sydney is imported from Newfoundland. The quarries of easily worked limestone, the product of which is used as a “flux” in the blast furnaces, add to the value of the iron deposits. Gold occurs in workable quantities in the quartz all along the Atlantic coast, and several small but successful mining enterprises are in operation, yielding about $500,000 annually. Large deposits of gypsum occur, especially at Windsor in Hants county. Manganese and copper are also worked on a small scale.

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Agriculture.—The attention paid to lumbering, fishing and shipping, and the subsequent emigration westwards have lessened the importance of this industry. Mixed farming is however largely carried on, and of late years dairy farming has been greatly extended and improved, and much butter and cheese is exported to England. Both the Dominion and the provincial governments have endeavoured to introduce scientific methods. Nova Scotia ranks second to Ontario in its production of apples and peaches. The centre of this industry is the valley of the Annapolis, where, it is said, one “may ride for fifty miles under apple-blossoms.” At the head of the Bay of Fundy and on Minas Basin the low-lying meadows produce splendid crops of hay. Owing to high Fundy tides, the air in the neighbourhood is constantly in motion, the result being a cool temperature, even in the height of summer, which is well fitted for stock-raising.

Roads and Railroads.—Road-making machines are employed for the improvement of the ordinary highways, and steel bridges are replacing the wooden structures; but the roads in the country districts still leave much to be desired. The Intercolonial railway, owned and worked by the Dominion government, is the chief means of communication with the other provinces, and for the carriage of local traffic. Besides the main line from Halifax to Amherst, a branch runs from Truro to Sydney, and another from Oxford Junction to Pictou and Stellarton. The Canadian Pacific railway has running rights over it from St John (N.B.) to Halifax; on its completion, similar rights will be granted from Moncton to Halifax to the Grand Trunk Pacific. The Dominion Atlantic railway extends from Windsor junction, near Halifax, to Yarmouth; the Nova Scotia Central railway from Lunenburg to Middleton on the Dominion Atlantic railway. A line along the Atlantic coast connects Halifax and Yarmouth, whence a daily line of steamers sails for Boston. Other lines connect Halifax with a number of the S.W. coast and inland towns, and a line has been projected from New Glasgow to Guysborough and the coast. Several smaller lines are owned by the various coal-mining companies. Telegraph and telephone lines extend all over the province, and there are two cable stations—one at Canso and the other at Sydney. The Marconi Company has stations for wireless telegraphy at Halifax, Cape Sable, Sable Island and Glace Bay.

History.—Nova Scotia may well have been the Markland of early Norse and Icelandic voyages, and Cape Breton was visited by the Cabots in 1497–1498, but not till 1604 was any attempt at permanent colonization made by Europeans. In that year an expedition was headed by a Frenchman, Pierre de Guast, Sieur de Monts (1560–c. 1630), who had received from Henry IV. full powers to explore and take possession of all lands in North America lying between the 40th and 46th parallels of north latitude. De Monts and his friend de Poutrincourt (d. 1615), endeavoured to form settlements at Port Royal (now Annapolis), St Croix (in New Brunswick) and elsewhere, but quarrels broke out with the Jesuits, and in 1613 the English colonists of Virginia made a descent upon them, claimed the territory in right of the discovery by the Cabots, and expelled the greater part of the inhabitants. In 1621 Sir William Alexander obtained from James I. a grant of the whole peninsula, which was named in the patent, Nova Scotia, instead of Acadia, the old name given to the colony by the French. During the reign of Charles I. the still existing order of Baronets of Nova Scotia was instituted, and their patents ratified in parliament. The treaty of St Germain-en-Laye (1632) confirmed France in the possession of Acadia, Cape Breton and New France; but fierce feuds broke out among the French settlers, and in 1654 a force sent out by Cromwell took possession of the country, but by the treaty of Breda (1667) it was restored to France by Charles II. Continual fighting went on between the French and the British colonists of New England, the Indians taking part, usually on the side of the French; in 1710 the province was finally captured by Great Britain and ceded to her in 1713 by the treaty of Utrecht, under the name of “Acadia or Nova Scotia,” the French remaining masters of Cape Breton. Perpetual quarrels went on concerning the boundaries of the district ceded; the English claim comprised the present Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, most of New Brunswick and the Gaspé peninsula, while the French restricted it to the S. half of what is now Nova Scotia. In 1749 Halifax was founded as a counterpoise to Louisbourg in Cape Breton, and over 4000 colonists sent out, but the French opposed the new settlers. In 1755 about 6000 French were suddenly seized by Governor Charles Laurence (d. 1760) and hurried into exile. After undergoing many sufferings, some eventually found their way back, while others settled in Cape Breton, or in distant Louisiana. By the treaty of Paris in 1763, France resigned all claim to the country. In 1769 Prince Edward Island (formerly Isle St Jean) was made a separate government. Meanwhile, immigration from the New England colonies had filled the fertile meadows left vacant by the Acadians. A later influx of American Loyalists led in 1784 to the erection of New Brunswick into a separate colony. In the same year, Cape Breton was also separated from Nova Scotia but reunited in 1820.

During the wars of the American and French revolutions Halifax grew apace. Hither, in June 1813, came the “Shannon” with her prize the “Chesapeake,” captured off Boston harbour. Meanwhile, between 1784 and 1828, a large Scottish emigration, chiefly from the Highlands, had settled in the counties around Pictou, and the lumbering industry rose to great proportions. Agriculture was for some time neglected, but in 1818 the letters of “Agricola” (John Young, 1773–1837) gave it an impetus. Representative institutions had been granted as early as 1758, but power long rested mainly in the hands of a Council of Twelve, comprising the chief justice, the Anglican bishop and other high officials. In 1848, after a long struggle, responsible government was won by the legislative assembly, led by Joseph Howe.

In these political struggles, education was often the battleground, the fight ending in 1864 in the establishment of free primary and secondary schools by Dr (afterwards Sir Charles) Tupper, and the re-organization on an undenominational basis of Dalhousie University (see Halifax). In 1867 the province entered the new Dominion of Canada. For some years afterwards an agitation in favour of repeal was maintained, but gradually died away. Since then its history is a record of uneventful progress.

Bibliography.—For history, see Duncan Campbell, Nova Scotia, (1873); T. C. Haliburton (“Sam Slick”), Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia (1829); Beamish Murdoch, History of Nova Scotia or Acadia (1865); Sir John Bourinot, Builders of Nova Scotia (1900). Consult L’Abbé H. R. Casgrain, Un Pèlerinage au pays d’Evangeline (1888), on the French side; F. Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, on the other. For general information, see S. E. Dawson, North America (1897); Sir Wm. Dawson, Acadian Geology (4th ed., 1891); J. C. Hopkins, Canada: an Encyclopaedia (6 vols., 1898–1899).