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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Prince Edward Island is named for Prince Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent, who was the father of Queen Victoria. Prior to its current name, however, the province has had some other names that reflect other stages in its history. The original First Nations inhabitants of the island were the Miâkmaq people, who called the island "Abegwiet", meaning "Land cradled by the waves." The French were the first Europeans to settle on the island, giving it the name "Ile St. Jean" as part of the French Colony of Acadia. After the British captured the island from the French, the island was given its current name in 1798. At the time, its peaceful natural beauty made it a popular vacation destination for British nobility.

While P.E.I. was part of the discussions that led to Canadian Confederation in 1867, the province did not in fact join Canada at this time. Instead, the province's leaders chose to stay independent and even entered into discussion with the United States. This did not last for long, however, as P.E.I. joined the new country of Canada in 1873. After joining Canada, railroads were extended to the island, giving a major boost to the province's agricultural industry.

History has brought many changes to the island, but many elements have remained constant from the time P.E.I. joined Canada. While agricultural and fishing remain important industries connecting the island with its traditional roots, the province also boasts a modern service industry and booming tourism. Alongside the modern capital of Charlottetown, many residents live in rural communities that retain a traditional feel.


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