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Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Notes: The City of Halifax (est. 1841) was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County, and was the largest city in Atlantic Canada., until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996. It is no longer an incorporated city.
The Town of Halifax was founded by the British government under the direction of the Board of Trade and Plantations under the command of Governor Edward Cornwallis in 1749. After a protracted struggle between residents and the Governor, the City of Halifax was incorporated in 1841.
On April 1, 1996, the government of Nova Scotia dissolved the City of Halifax, and amalgamated the four municipalities within Halifax County and formed Halifax Regional Municipality, a single-tier regional government covering that whole area.
Today the area of the former City of Halifax is now referred to as an unincorporated "provincial metropolitan area" by the provincial government's place name website, and the area is referred to as "Halifax Nova Scotia" for civic addressing.
The area is now administered as two separate community planning areas by the regional government for development, Halifax Peninsula and Mainland Halifax. It forms a significant part of the Halifax urban area. Residents of the former city are referred to as 'Haligonians'.
The Mi'kmaq called the area Jipugtug (anglicised as "Chebucto"), which means "the biggest harbour" in reference to present-day Halifax Harbour. There is evidence that bands would spend the summer on the shores of the Bedford Basin, moving to points inland before the harsh Atlantic winter set in. Examples of Mikmaq habitation and burial sites have been found throughout Halifax, from Point Pleasant Park to the north and south mainland.
Acadian period
Chebucto did not have a sizable permanent Acadian settlement, the closest being the settlements of Minas (later Windsor) and Pizquid. French warships and fishing vessels, requiring shelter and a place to draw water, certainly visited the harbour. The territory, which included much of the present-day Maritimes and Gaspé Peninsula, passed from French to English and even Scottish hands several times. In the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, Acadia was relinquished to England, however the boundaries of the ceasefire were imprecise, leaving England with what is today peninsular Nova Scotia, and France with control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The colonial capital chosen was Annapolis Royal. In 1717, France began a 20-year effort to build a large fortified seaport at Louisbourg on present-day Cape Breton Island which was intended as a naval base for protecting the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and extensive fishing grounds on the Grand Banks.
In 1745, Fortress of Louisbourg fell to a New England-led force. In 1746 Admiral Jean-Batiste, De Roye de la Rochefoucauld, Duc d'Enville, was dispatched by the King of France in command of a French Armada of 65 ships. He was dispatched to undermine the English position in the new world, specifically at Louisbourg, Annapolis Royal, and most likely the eastern seaboard of the Thirteen Colonies.
The fleet was to meet in Chebucto (Halifax Harbour) on British-held peninsular Nova Scotia after crossing the Atlantic, take water and proceed to Louisbourg. Unfortunately, two major storms kept the fleet at sea for over three months. Poor water and spoiled food further weakened the exhausted fleet, resulting in the death of at least 2,500 men, including Duc d'Anville himself, by the time it arrived at Chebucto. After a series of calamities the fleet returned to France, its mission unfulfilled. 1016 men were left behind, buried along the western shore of the Bedford Basin. The ghost of Duc d'Anville is said to haunt George's Island, his original burial place, to this day.
English settlement
Between the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and 1749, no serious attempts were made by Great Britain to colonise Nova Scotia, aside from its presence at Annapolis Royal and infrequent sea and land patrols. The peninsula was dominated by Acadian residents and the need for a permanent settlement and British military presence on the central Atlantic coast of peninsular Nova Scotia was recognised, but it took the negotiated return of Fortress Louisbourg to France in 1748 to prod Britain into action. British General Edward Cornwallis was dispatched by the Lords of Trade and Plantations to establish a city at Chebucto, on behalf of and at the expense of the Crown. Cornwallis sailed in command of 13 transports, a sloop of war, 1,176 settlers and their families.
Halifax was founded on June 21, 1749 below a glacial drumlin that would later be named Citadel Hill. The outpost was named in honour of George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, who was the President of the British Board of Trade. Halifax was ideal for a military base, with the vast Halifax Harbour, among the largest natural harbours in the world, which could be well protected with batteries at McNab's Island, the North West Arm, Point Pleasant, George's Island and York Redoubt. In its early years, Citadel Hill was used as a command and observation post, before changes in artillery which could range out into the harbour.
The town proved its worth as a military base in the Seven Years War as a counter to the French fortress Louisbourg in Cape Breton. Halifax provided the base for the capture of Louisbourg in 1758 and operated as a major naval base for the remainder of the war. The Sambro Island Lighthouse was constructed at the harbour entrance in 1758. A permanent Naval Yard was established in 1759. For much of this period in the early 1700s, Nova Scotia was considered a frontier posting for the British military, given the proximity to the border with French territory and potential for conflict; the local environment was also very inhospitable and many early settlers were ill-suited for the colony's virgin wilderness on the shores of Halifax Harbour. The original settlers, who were often discharged soldiers and sailors, left the colony for established cities such as New York and Boston or the lush plantations of the Virginias and Carolinas. However, the new city did attract New England merchants exploiting the near-by fisheries and English merchants such as Joshua Maugher who profited greatly from both British military contracts and smuggling with the French at Louisbourg. The military threat to Nova Scotia was removed following British victory over France in the Seven Years War.
With the addition of remaining territories of the colony of Acadia, the enlarged British colony of Nova Scotia was mostly depopulated, following the deportation of Acadian residents. In addition, Britain was unwilling to allow its residents to emigrate, this being at the dawn of their Industrial Revolution, thus Nova Scotia invited settlement by "foreign Protestants". The region, including its new capital of Halifax, saw a modest immigration boom comprising Germans, Dutch, New Englanders, residents of Martinique and many other areas. In addition to the surnames of many present-day residents of Halifax who are descended from these settlers, an enduring name in the city is the "Dutch Village Road", which led from the "Dutch Village", located in Fairview. Dutch here referring to the German "Deutch" which sounded like "dutch" to Haligonian ears.
The American Revolution and after
Halifax's fortunes waxed and waned with the military needs of the Empire. While it had quickly become the largest Royal Navy base on the Atlantic coast and had hosted large numbers of British army regulars, the complete destruction of Louisbourg in 1760 removed the threat of French attack. Crown interest in Halifax was reduced, and most importantly, New England turned its eyes west, to the French territory now available due to the defeat of Montcalm at the Plains of Abraham. By the mid-1770s the town was feeling its first of many peacetime slumps.
The American Revolutionary War was not at first uppermost in the minds of most residents of Halifax. The government did not have enough money to pay for oil for the Sambro lighthouse. The militia was unable to maintain a guard, and was disbanded. Provisions were so scarce during the winter of 1775 that Quebec had to send flour to feed the town. While Halifax was remote from the troubles in the rest of the American colonies, martial law was declared in November 1775 to combat lawlessness.
On March 30, 1776, General William Howe arrived, having been driven from Boston by rebel forces. He brought with him 200 officers, 3000 men, and over 4,000 loyalist refugees, and demanded housing and provisions for all. This was merely the beginning of Halifax's role in the war. Throughout the conflict, and for a considerable time afterwards, thousands more refugees, often 'in a destitute and helpless condition'2 had arrived in Halifax or other ports in Nova Scotia. This would peak with the evacuation of New York, and continue until well after the formal conclusion of war in 1783. At the instigation of the newly arrived Loyalists who desired greater local control, Britain subdivided Nova Scotia in 1784 with the creation of the colonies of New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island; this had the effect of considerably diluting Halifax's presence over the region.
During the American Revolution, Halifax became the staging point of many attacks on rebel-controlled areas in the Thirteen Colonies, and was the city to which British forces from Boston and New York were sent after the over-running of those cities. After the War, tens of thousands of United Empire Loyalists from the American Colonies flooded Halifax, and many of their descendants still reside in the city today.
Halifax was now the bastion of British strength on the East Coast of North America. Local merchants also took advantage of the exclusion of American trade to the British colonies in the Caribbean, beginning a long trade relationship with the West Indies. However, the most significant growth began with the beginning of what would become known as the Napoleonic Wars. By 1794, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, was sent to take command of Nova Scotia. Many of the city's forts were designed by him, and he left an indelible mark on the city in the form of many public buildings of Georgian architecture, and a dignified British feel to the city itself. It was during this time that Halifax truly became a city. Many landmarks and institutions were built during his tenure, from the Town Clock on Citadel Hill to St. George's Round Church, fortifications in the Halifax Defence Complex were built up, businesses established, and the population boomed.
Though the Duke left in 1800, the city's prosperity continued to grow throughout the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812. Although Halifax was never attacked during the war of 1812, due to the overwhelming military presence in the city, many Naval engagements occurred off the Halifax station. Most dramatic was the victory of the Halifax-based British frigate HMS Shannon which captured the American frigate USS Chesapeake and brought her to Halifax as prize. As well, an invasion force which attacked Washington in 1813, and burned the Capitol and White House was sent from Halifax. Early in the War, an expedition under Lord Dalhousie left Halifax to capture the Area of Castine, Maine, which they held for the entirety of the war. The revenues which were taken from this invasion were used after the war to found Dalhousie University which is today Halifax's largest university. The city also thrived in the War of 1812 on the large numbers of captured American ships and cargoes captured by the British navy and provincial privateers.
The wartime boom peaked in in 1814. Present day government landmarks such as Government House, built to house the governor, and Province House, built to house the House of Assembly, were both built during the city's peak of prosperity at the end of the War of 1812.
Saint Mary's University was founded in 1802, originally as an elementary school. Saint Mary's was upgraded to a college following the establishment of Dalhousie in 1818; both were initially located in the downtown central business district before relocating to the then-outskirts of the city in the south end near the Northwest Arm. Separated by only few minutes walking distance, the two schools now enjoy a friendly rivalry.
In the peace after 1815, the city suffered an economic malaise for a few years, aggravated by the move of the Royal Naval yard to Bermuda in 1818. However the economy recovered in the next decade led by a very successful local merchant class. Powerful local entrepreneurs included steamship pioneer Samuel Cunard and the banker Enos Collins. During the 1800s Halifax became the birthplace of two of Canada's largest banks; local financial institutions included the Halifax Banking Company, Union Bank of Halifax, People's Bank of Halifax, Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Merchants' Bank of Halifax, making the city one of the most important financial centres in colonial British North America and later Canada until the beginning of the 20th century. This position was somewhat rivalled by neighbouring Saint John, New Brunswick during the city's economic hey-day in the mid-19th century.
Having played a key role to maintain and expand British power in North America and elsewhere during the 18th century, Halifax played less dramatic roles in the consolidation of the British Empire during the 19th century. The harbour's defences were successively refortified with the latest artillery defences throughout the century to provide a secure base for British Empire forces. Nova Scotian and Maritimers were recruited through Halifax for the Crimean War. The city boomed during the American Civil War, mostly by supplying the wartime economy of the North but also by offering refuge and supplies to Confederate blockade runners. The port also saw Canada's first overseas military deployment as a nation to aid the British Empire during the Second Boer War.


City/Town : Latitude: 44.64586162823661, Longitude: -63.57357215776574


Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Family    Married    Family ID 
1 Aitken / Drury  29 Jan 1906Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada F102231



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