Prince Edward Island Becomes a Province of Canada
Cradled on the waves, this beautiful Island was successively named Abegweit, Île Saint-Jean, and Prince Edward Island to denote Mi'kmaq, French and English regimes.
Although inhabited by the Mi’kmaq people, the Island – as it is often referred to – was first discovered by Europeans when the French voyager Jacques Cartier explored what would become the Maritime Provinces in the 1530s. The original French settlers were the Acadians and called the Island Île Saint-Jean.
After a series of wars between the French and English in Europe and North America Île Saint-Jean was ceded to Great Britain in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris and renamed to St. John’s Island.
The present name of Prince Edward Island was adopted in 1799 to honour then Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn – the father of Queen Victoria and younger brother of King George IV. Edward was born on November 2, 1767 at Buckingham Palace in London to King George III, who was best known for losing the Thirteen American colonies during the American Revolution of 1776 and for a tenuous grip on sanity in his later life.
The title of Duke of Kent dates back to the eleventh century when it was first used by William I in the form of “Earl of Kent” and has been used intermittently since. The modern usage began at the start of the 20th century when the title of “Duke of Kent” was revived for one of the sons of George V, and is currently held by Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, Prince Edward.
Surprisingly, after having played such a large role in the formation of Canada at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, Prince Edward Island did not join Confederation until 1873 because it considered the original terms of 1867 unfavourable. The Hon. James C. Pope was the first Premier of the new province.
(At the Provincial Administration Offices grounds)
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