Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Establishment of the port city of Halifax

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Human settlement in present day Nova Scotia dates back to about 13000 years ago

Human settlement in present-day Nova Scotia dates back to about 13,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, when groups of hunter-gatherers moved into the region to hunt caribou. Oral tradition identifies these early settlers as the ancestors of the Mi’kmaq people, who occupied an area stretching from the Gaspé Peninsula to Cape Breton Island, known as the Mi’kma’ki. The Mi’comac did not settle permanently, but moved seasonally from coastal areas in summer where they fished and hunted, to inland areas in winter where they hunted moose, caribou, muskrat, and bear. A coastal area used by the Mi’kmaq was Zipugtug, later anglicized as Chebucto, meaning “greatest harbor”. The Mi’comac were prosperous and greatly influenced early Europeans.

The British government sponsored the first settlement plan in North America in 1746, centered on present-day Halifax. This settlement was made for a number of reasons, including to prevent a Catholic presence throughout Acadia and a French military presence in Louisbourg, but more importantly to capture the rich cod fishery. In 1749, Colonel Edward Cornwallis led about 2,500 settlers, most of whom were poor and mainly recruited from England. Cornwallis chose Chebucto as the site of the new settlement because of its fine ice-free harbor, the second largest in the world. Originally named Chebucto, it was later renamed Halifax in honor of the Earl of Halifax and Chief Lord of Trade and Plantation, who planned its settlement. The first settlers were given free building lots. Some died aboard the ship, about 1,000 left for Boston and other US destinations. However, merchants, many hoping to profit from loans, contracts, or money invested in the colonies, sought a quick escape from New England. A governor’s residence, an Anglican church, wharves, modest defense facilities and some wooden houses were built in a short time. To increase the settlement’s population, Germans known as “foreign Protestants” were recruited and given land just north of the city.

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Relations between the Mi’kmaq and the English were strained. The Mi’comac felt that the English had settled on their land without their permission, and English officials initially refused to accept the practice of giving gifts in exchange for the use of the land. Cornwallis wanted to bring the Mi’kmaq under his authority, but they refused. The Mi’kmaq declared war on the British in 1749. The French in Louisbourg encouraged this opposition and provided arms and money for the Mi’kmaq war against the English. The Mi’comac attacked British settlements and led a successful raid on Dartmouth in 1751.

In August 1755 the British deported Acadians, descendants of French settlers, whom they saw as a potential threat. The deportation of the Acadian population and the British occupation of Île Royale and Île Saint-Jean effectively ended French influence in the region. The Mi’kmaq were left to oppose the British on their own, and the chiefs signed a peace treaty with British officials in 1761. However, the American Revolution (1775–83) led the British to strengthen their military presence in Halifax, and there was an influx of loyalist refugees. These factors tipped the balance of power in the region against the Mi’comac, who quickly seized their remaining lands.
The Mi’kmaq First Nations were the original people of the Halifax region and remain the main aboriginal group in Nova Scotia. The Mi’kmaq existed here for thousands of years before contact with settlers.

Halifax, an Atlantic Ocean port in eastern Canada, is the provincial capital of Nova Scotia. A major business center, it is also known for its maritime history. The city is dominated by a hilltop fort, a star-shaped fort built in the 1850s. Known as historic features, the waterfront warehouses recall Halifax’s days as a trading hub for privateers, especially during the War of 1812.

The city of Halifax is truly a naval creation. It is one of the largest and deepest ice-free natural harbors in the world. It owes its existence largely to its location, which, over time, has made Halifax one of the most important Canadian commercial ports on the Atlantic seaboard.

It has been well-known as a woolen-dressing center in England since the 15th century, operating through the Halifax Peace Hall. It is internationally famous for its Mackintosh chocolates and toffees (now owned by Nestlé).

Halifax is known for its natural beauty. People’s favorite things about living in Halifax are being surrounded by the ocean and beaches. Wherever you stay in Halifax, never be far from the ocean, nature parks and protected wilderness areas.
The Department of National Defense is the single largest employer and Halifax Harbor continues to serve a major military purpose as the Atlantic Ocean home port for the Royal Canadian Navy. Canadian Forces Base (CFS) Halifax is Canada’s largest naval base and the country’s largest military base by personnel.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, incorporated as a city in 1841, has a population of 439,819 (2021 census). Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest urban area in Atlantic Canada. On 1 April 1996, Halifax merged with neighboring communities to form the Regional Municipal Government. The Halifax Regional Municipality occupies a strategic and central location on the province’s east coast and is home to one of the world’s largest ports. Noted for its historic military role, today it is a major regional center of Atlantic Canada’s economy.

Halifax has a rich literary and printing tradition. The Halifax Gazette was Canada’s first newspaper, and was first printed in 1752. Another famous historical newspaper is the 19th-century Nova Scotian, once a forum for Joseph Howe’s reform politics. These two newspapers are no longer published, but Halifax is currently served by the Daily Chronicle-Herald. English Canada’s first bookseller, James Rivington, began selling books in Halifax in 1761, and the city was also home to Canada’s first public library, which opened in 1864. Halifax is one of the main regional broadcast centers for CBC, which produces national FM music and television news programs and CTV Atlantic. Also provides live programs.

Halifax is the cultural center of Nova Scotia. Music, art and theater have been central attractions since its inception. When it was a garrison town many officers supported and participated in these activities. Neptune Theatre, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Symphony Nova Scotia continue these traditions. . Many well-known writers were in the city including Thomas Chandler Halliburton, Thomas McCulloch, Thomas Radall and Charles Ritchie. Hugh McLennan is another well-known author, and his book, Barometer Rising, details the drama surrounding the 1917 Halifax Explosion in the city’s North End.

The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic both display historical pasts, which are also preserved in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Halifax Citadel Historic Park overlooks the harbor and is a major attraction. October is Mi’kmaq History Month. The annual Treaty Day celebration month begins with the October 1, 1986 Supreme Court ruling affirming the Mi’kmaq’s right to hunt, fish and make a modest living.

Halifax has several universities, most of which have long had religious affiliations. Dalhousie was founded in 1818 without any religious affiliation. The university surpassed 100,000 graduates in 2006 and recently merged with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, now the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie. The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design was founded in 1925 and later became Canada’s first degree-granting art school. Nova Scotia Community College offers specialized programs through institutions such as the Nautical Institute, the School of Fisheries and the Aviation Institute.

Amateurs rather than professional sports characterize Halifax’s entertainment scene. The city has produced national champions in yachting, rowing, canoeing, curling, swimming and various other sports. Dartmouth’s Lake Banuk and Banuk Canoe Club have hosted international canoeing championships, and the downtown Metro Center has seen the national university basketball and volleyball championships. In 2007, Halifax competed to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but dropped out, saying the cost of the event would be too high. However, the city hosted the 2011 Canada Winter Games, a two-week event that included 2,700 athletes from 800 communities.

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