Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island,

province (2001 pop. 135,294), 2,184 sq mi (5,657 sq km), E Canada, off N.B. and N.S.


One of the Maritime ProvincesMaritime Provinces
or Maritimes,
Canada, term applied to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, which before the formation of the Canadian confederation (1867) were politically distinct from Canada proper.
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, Prince Edward Island lies in the Gulf of St. LawrenceSaint Lawrence, Gulf of,
arm of the Atlantic Ocean, c.100,000 sq mi (259,000 sq km), SE Canada, extending c.250 mi (400 km) from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River to Newfoundland on the east. At its greatest width (northeast-southwest) it is c.500 mi (800 km).
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 and is separated on the S from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the Northumberland StraitNorthumberland Strait,
arm of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, c.200 mi (320 km) long and from 8 to 30 mi (13–48 km) wide, separating Prince Edward Island from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The strait is crossed by the Confederation Bridge, which was completed in 1997.
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, which is crossed by the Confederation BridgeConfederation Bridge,
Fr. Pont de la Confédération, bridge that joins Borden-Carleton in Prince Edward Island with Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick, Canada. Spanning the Northumberland Strait at its narrowest point, the bridge measures 8 mi (12.
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 (1997). It is Canada's smallest province but also has Canada's highest population density. The generally low, level island is c.140 mi (225 km) long and 5 to 35 mi (8–56 km) wide. Sandy beaches line the deeply indented north shore, and much of this popular resort spot is now Prince Edward Island National Park (est. 1937). Low red sandstone cliffs rim the south shores, and the tides reach to the headwaters of the island's short rivers.

With its fertile and distinctive red soil and its agreeable climate, the island has become known as the Garden of the Gulf. About 90% of the land is arable. The capital is CharlottetownCharlottetown,
city (1991 pop. 15,396), capital and chief port of Prince Edward Island, E Canada, on the southern coast. Food processing, tourism, fishing, and farming are the main industries. The French established (c.
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Economy and Higher Education

Agriculture and fishing have long dominated the economy. Since earliest settlement, fishing has been important, yielding an abundance of lobsters, oysters, halibut, mackerel, and herring. Livestock, fruit, and vegetables are produced, and potatoes are exported.

Because of the lack of raw materials and cheap sources of power, manufacturing is largely limited to food processing, such as the making of butter and cheese and the canning of pork and lobsters. There has been little diversification of the economy, but the tourist industry has grown. Sites and events associated with Anne of Green Gables, the story by islander Lucy Maud MontgomeryMontgomery, L. M.
(Lucy Maud Montgomery), 1874–1942, Canadian novelist, b. Prince Edward Island. Her first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), met with immediate success and has been widely translated.
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, draw many visitors, and the Confederation Bridge is expected to greatly increase tourism.

The Univ. of Prince Edward Island is at Charlottetown.

History and Politics

The Mi'kmaq lived on the island before Europeans arrived. Jacques Cartier wrote enthusiastically about it after landing there in 1534. Samuel de Champlain named it Île St. Jean in 1603, and it was known by that name (or Isle St. John) until 1799, when it was renamed after Edward, duke of Kent, who later fathered Queen VictoriaVictoria
(Alexandrina Victoria) , 1819–1901, queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1837–1901) and empress of India (1876–1901). She was the daughter of Edward, duke of Kent (fourth son of George III), and Princess Mary Louise Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
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. The first permanent settlement was made by the French in 1719 near present-day Charlottetown, but the British gained control under the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Many French settlers were deported by the British (see AcadiaAcadia
, Fr. Acadie, region and former French colony, E Canada, encompassing modern Nova Scotia but also New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and coastal areas of E Maine. After an abortive 1604 settlement of St.
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), but others remained; their descendants still live here. In 1803, Lord Selkirk's first colony of impoverished Scots settled here; persons of Scottish extraction now constitute about one third of the inhabitants.

In 1763, Prince Edward Island was annexed to Nova Scotia, but it became a separate colony in 1769. Responsible, or cabinet, government was granted in 1851. In 1864 delegates from the Maritime Provinces met in Charlottetown to discuss union—the first step toward forming the Canadian confederation, which was achieved in 1867. However, Prince Edward Island did not join the confederation until 1873. Throughout the 20th cent. the island's economy was relatively stable, although lack of energy and technology caused it to lag behind the rest of Canada.

The Progressive Conservatives (or Conservatives) and the Liberals are the only parties to have formed provincial governments since 1873. In 1993, Catherine Callbeck, who led the Liberals to a sweep, became Canada's first female provincial premier. Progressive Conservative Patrick Binns became premier in 1996 and was returned to office in 2000 and 2003. In 2007 the Liberals won a majority, and Robert Ghiz became premier; they remained in power after the 2011 vote. Ghiz stepped down in 2015 and Wade MacLauchlan succeeded him. The Liberals retained power after elections later in the year. The province sends 4 senators and 4 representatives to the national parliament.


See A. H. Clark, Three Centuries and the Island (1957); D. C. Harvey, The French Regime in Prince Edward Island (1926, repr. 1970); J. M. Bumsted, Land, Settlement, and Politics on Eighteenth-Century Prince Edward Island (1987).

Prince Edward Island


a province in eastern Canada, on Prince Edward Island. Area, 5,600 sq km. Population, 111,600 (1971). The capital of Prince Edward Island is Charlottetown. The economy is based on agriculture, with potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and tobacco the major products. Other industries include livestock breeding, fishing for lobster and cod, lumbering, and woodworking. Tourism is also important to the economy of the island.

Prince Edward Island

an island in the Gulf of St Lawrence that constitutes the smallest Canadian province. Capital: Charlottetown. Pop.: 137 864 (2004 est.). Area: 5656 sq. km (2184 sq. miles)
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