Nova Scotia (/ˌnoʊvə ˈskoʊʃə/ NOH-və SKOH-shə) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic provinces. Nova Scotia is Latin for “New Scotland”. Most of the population are native English-speakers.
With a population of 923,598 as of 2016, it is the most populous of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. It is the country’s second-most densely populated province and second-smallest province by area, both after neighbouring Prince Edward Island. Its area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,345 sq mi) includes Cape Breton Island and 3,800 other coastal islands. The peninsula that makes up Nova Scotia’s mainland is connected to the rest of North America by the Isthmus of Chignecto, on which the province’s land border with New Brunswick is located. The province borders the Bay of Fundy to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east, and is separated from Prince Edward Island and the island of Newfoundland by the Northumberland and Cabot straits, respectively.
The land that comprises what is now Nova Scotia has been inhabited by the indigenous Miꞌkmaq people for thousands of years. France’s first settlement in North America, Port-Royal, was established in 1605 and intermittently served in various locations as the capital of the French colony of Acadia for over a hundred years. The Fortress of Louisbourg was a key focus point in the struggle between the British and French for control of the area, changing hands numerous times until France relinquished its claims with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. During the American Revolutionary War, thousands of Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia. In 1848, Nova Scotia became the first British colony to achieve responsible government, and it federated in July 1867 with New Brunswick and the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) to form what is now the country of Canada.
Nova Scotia’s capital and largest city is Halifax, which today is home to about 45 percent of the province’s population. Halifax is the thirteenth-largest census metropolitan area in Canada, the largest city in Atlantic Canada, and Canada’s second-largest coastal city after Vancouver.