Prince Edward Island (PEI) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the smallest province in terms of land area, but the most densely populated. The island has several nicknames: “Garden of the Gulf”, “Birthplace of Confederation” and “Cradle of Confederation”. Its capital and largest city is Charlottetown. It is one of the three Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic provinces.
Part of the traditional lands of the Miꞌkmaq, it was colonized by the French in 1604 as part of the colony of Acadia. The island was ceded to the British at the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763 and became part of the colony of Nova Scotia, and in 1769 the island became its own British colony. PEI hosted the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 to discuss a union of the Maritime provinces, however the conference became the first in a series of meetings which led to Canadian Confederation in 1867. PEI initially balked at Confederation, but facing bankruptcy from the Land Question and construction of a railroad, joined as Canada’s seventh province in 1873.
According to Statistics Canada, the province of PEI has 158,717 residents. The backbone of the island economy is farming; it produces 25% of Canada’s potatoes. Other important industries include the fisheries, tourism, aerospace, bio-science, IT, and renewable energy. As PEI is one of Canada’s older settlements, its population still reflects some of the earliest settlers, with Canadien, Scottish, Irish, and English surnames being dominant.
PEI is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Halifax, Nova Scotia and 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Quebec City, and has a land area of 5,686.03 km2 (2,195.39 sq mi). The main island is 5,620 km2 (2,170 sq mi) in size. It is the 104th-largest island in the world and Canada’s 23rd-largest island.