Nova Scotia, history

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Definition [?]
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

Nova Scotia was contested territory between the French and British (and the Indians) from 1500 down to 1763. It was ruled as a British colony until it became a founding member of the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

1500 to 1763

Following the voyages of the Norsemen around 1000 and the discoveries of John Cabot in 1497, European fishermen and navigators skirted the coast. The explorers examined the coasts of Nova Scotia, sounded its harbors, and prepared maps; the fishers frequented its bays and fishing banks.

The French made the first permanent colonization. In 1603 Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, the patron and associate of Samuel de Champlain, obtained by charter all those lands lying between 40 and 46 degrees north latitude. In the spring of 1605 he founded Port Royal on Annapolis Basin. It was the first permanent agricultural settlement of Europeans in territory now Canadian.

The British crown, ignoring the French claims, granted all the territories between the 34th and 45th parallels (including both St. Croix and Port Royal) to the London and Plymouth companies in 1606. Rival French and English charters, with their overlapping territories, provided a basis for conflict. Between 1613 and 1710 Nova Scotia or Acadie changed hands ten times. In 1621 New Scotland, called “Nova Scotia” in the Latin charter, was granted to Sir William Alexander by James I of England. In 1632 300 French settlers arrived; together with some who came in 1671 they were the ancestors of the Acadian people. By the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 French sovereignty to Port Royal was again recognized but in 1710, the British seized Port Royal for the last time, changing its name to Annapolis Royal.

Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island enjoyed a brief but impressive existence as a New France colony during 1713-58. Founded as a military fortress, Louisbourg was a port for fishing and trade and an urban center for the French colonists. Louisbourg was founded at a time when there were no other French settlements on the island; it was the first crown-sponsored venture, in contrast to earlier private settlements. The settlement was divided into several distinct military zones to be fortified. Based on a fishing economy, Louisbourg was carefully planned to include public spaces for community gatherings, as well as churches and cemeteries. About 250 black slaves were brought from the West Indies to be house servants.

The French-speaking Acadians tried to remain neutral between France and Britain even as wars swirled around them. In 1749, in anticipation of another war with France, the British turned Nova Scotia into a military bastion, constructing a major new naval base of Halifax and subsidizing the migration of thousands of Protestant colonists. Once again they demanded an unqualified oath of loyalty to Britain from the Acadians, which they refused. The irresistible drift to war made the Acadian position increasingly untenable, and in 1755 Lieutenant-Governor Charles Lawrence and his council resolved to expel them from the colony. About 12,000 of the 18,000 were rounded up and resettled in Louisiana, as well as New England, France, England, and Saint Domingo, with many dying of disease in the process. [1]

The first newspaper anywhere in Canada, the Halifax Gazette, was founded in 1752.

1763 to 1867

Many of the 35,000 Loyalists who came to Nova Scotia as exiles from the Unityed States after 1780 were professional men, merchants, clergymen and former officeholders who felt that their loyalty merited privileged positions in the Empire they had so loyally supported. They were not welcomed by the current settlers (most of them Yankees), and the solution in 1784 was to hive off New Brunswick, with vast tracts of virgin land, as a separate colony that welcomed the Loyalists.

Governor John Wentworth (1794-1808), a Yankee who had been governor of New Hampshire before the Revolution, stabilized the colony's finances, tried to settle free blacks exiled from Jamaica (they were finally resettled in Sierra Leone), and quieted the Indians. Responding to the wwar with France, he cracked down on internal dissent, especially of the democratic sort voiced by the Yankees. His feuds with William Cottnam Tonge escalated into a constitutional struggle between the governor-in-council and the House of Assembly, controlled by Tonge. Wentworth, steeped in corruption and nepotism (which is how he became a governor in the first place), assisted the Halifax merchants but neglected everyone else. London removed the reactionary governor in 1808 and replaced him with George Prevost.[2]

The Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) brought new wealth. Lumbering and shipbuilding developed rapidly, and naval expenditures poured money into Halifax, the main British base north of the Bahamas. Significant improvements in communications and in agriculture took place and Nova Scotia competed successfully with New England in fisheries and for the West Indies trade. With the passing of the 1807 Embargo Act by the U.S. and the outbreak of the War of 1812, privateering against American ships, and smuggling into antiwar New England, became highly profitable. With peace in 1815 came depression, accentuated by a series of bad harvests.

Petitions for redress of grievances in the 1820s and 1830s led to a widespread movement for political reform. The appointed legislative council, sitting in secret and combining executive, legislative, and judicial functions, had for decades been the real center of power. The struggle culminated in responsible government in 1848, with an elected assembly exercising real power. It was the first responsible government in the British Empire overseas. Thenceforth no administration could remain in office unless it could command the confidence of a majority in the elected house of assembly.[3]

Economic development picked up after 1820, A relaxation in imperial trade laws helped expand the shipping trade; existing industry expanded, new industries were started, canals were begun, and steam power was introduced. The first locomotive had run on a short railroad at the coal mines in Pictou County in 1839, and in 1854 large-scale railroad building was undertaken. By 1876 there were rail connections with central Canada, and by 1891 there was a through line from Halifax to Sydney, in addition to numerous local lines. Railroad building, the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 with the U.S., and business created by U.S. government purchases during the American Civil War (1861-65) all stimulated the booming economy.

Interest in education increased, and schools were established but public education was contested terrain. Conservative Premier Charles Tupper succeeded in passing major legislation in the 1860s. In 1864 he had passed his first Free School Act, establishing a system of state-subsidized common schools, subject to regulation by a superintendent of education. The act did not require local taxation but promised greater financial aid to school districts which did levy school taxes. Most rejected taxes so Tupper passed another act in 1865 imposing compulsory taxation. He attempted to appease Protestants by stressing that the new schools, while non-denominational, would still provide Christian instruction. However the Catholics wanted state-supported separate Catholic schools. Tupper gave control over school policy to the provincial cabinet, where Catholics were guaranteed representation, and he opposed the creation of publicly funded Catholic schools. But Tupper promised the Catholic archbishop Thomas Connolly that if they followed the prescribed course of study, Catholic-controlled public schools could offer religious instruction after hours and still receive public grants. This successful compromise ensured to Nova Scotia a degree of religious harmony far greater than in the other colonies, where the school issue exploded in the late 19th century. The 1864 act created a system of school inspectors to develop modernizing attitudes consistent with the social and political need for an informed citizenry. The social need for universal education interfered, however, with rural work patterns and traditional family structures, and was not fully accepted until the 20th century.[4]

1867 to present

The British North America Act, by which Nova Scotia became part of the Dominion of Canada, went into effect on July 1, 1867. Premier Charles Tupper had worked energetically to bring about the union. But it was controversial because localism, Protestant fears of Catholics and distrust of Canadians generally, and worries about loing free trade with America, were all intensified by the refusal of Tupper to consult Nova Scotia's voters on the subject. A movement for withdrawal from Canada developed, led by Joseph Howe, the Liberal party leader. Howe's movement swept the 1867 elections but failed in its goal to withdraw from Canada because London was determined the union go forward. Howe did succeed in getting better financial terms for the province, and gained a national office for himself.[5] Long-term adverse factors came into play, such as the end of the Reciprocity Treaty with the U.S. which led to higher and damaging American tariffs on goods imported from Nova Scotia, the end of the American Civil War and the business it had generated, and the transition at sea from wood-wind-water sailing to steel steamships, all undercut the advantages Nova Scotia had enjoyed before 1867. Many residents for decades grumbled tha Confederation had slowed the economic progress of the province and it lagged other parts of Canada.

Halifax was a major assembly point for convoys and shipping to Britain from North America during World War I. The 1917 explosion in Halifax Harbour, caused by a collision between the French munitions ship Mont Blanc and the Norwegian relief ship Imo caused enormous destruction to the city.[6]

The first radio station began to broadcast in 1920.

Long-serving Liberal premier Angus L. Macdonald after World War II initiated large-scale spending programs for such services as health, education, labor union protection measures, and pensions. His successor Conservative Robert L. Stanfield served as premier during 1956-67. The more pragmatic Stanfield, though in favor of some government intervention in economic affairs, was cautious about social policy and unwilling to raise public expectations by trumpeting universalist schemes. Still, social provision was extended, notably in the building of new hospitals, for which funds were raised through a regressive sales tax. After 1960 there was increased emphasis on provincial assistance for local municipalities in health and education, with finances for university expansion. Generally, Stanfield, though a conservative, took a positive view of the state's role in helping citizens overcome poverty, ill-health, and discrimination and accepted the need to raise taxes to pay for such services.[7]

Nova Scotia was hard-hit by the Great Depression, as demand plunged for coal and steel, and the prices of fish and lumber plummeted. Prosperity returned in World War II, especially as Halifax became a major staging point for convoys to Britain.

Demographic history

The Micmac, an Algonquian-speaking First Nation, inhabited the area when Europeans first arrived. The first explorers and fishermen brought European diseases (especially smallpox) which killed off most of the Indians.

After several failures at colonization, the French settled at Port Royal in 1605. The first Scottish settlements in Nova Scotia were made in 1629 at Baleine Cove on Cape Breton Island and at Port Royal. British settlement began with the founding of Halifax in 1749; about 2,500 settlers from the continent of Europe migrated to the province in 1750-1752. About 12,000 Acadians were expelled Between 1755 and 1762. Some 8,000 New England Yankees settled in Nova Scotia. Between 1772 and 1774 about 1,000 Yorkshiremen settled at the Isthmus of Chignecto. The shipload of Scots which reached Pictou in 1773 were the first of thousands who came in the 19th century.

By 1760 Royal authorities were eager to fill up the vacant lands in the province with Britons; in 1758 and 1759 Governor Lawrence issued proclamations inviting New Englanders to come into Nova Scotia. The influx began in 1760 and continued for several years, with the result that about 4,500 New Englanders, together with hundreds of Irish, Scots, and people of Yorkshire, moved into Nova Scotia. On the eve of the American Revolution about one half of the population were Yankees. In the American Revolution, few Nova Scotians took an active part on either side, though Halifax flourished as a main naval base. By the end of the Revolution in 1783 some 35,000 Loyalists, and disbanded soldiers decided to make their homes in the province.

After 1783, with the loss of the American RevolutionLoyalists, and disbanded British soldiers doubled the population of Nova Scotia, and about 20,000 became permanent settlers there. Some freed blacks came with the Loyalists, but many moved on to Sierra Leone; several hundred remained and another 3,500, mostly escaped from Virginia, came after the War of 1812. The largest immigration came in 1815-51, with the arrival of some 55,000 Scottish, Irish, English, and Welsh settlers. By mid-century the population reached 275,000. After 1880 the coal and steel industries attracted immigrants from Britain and Western Europe.

On Cape Breton, the original Micmac Indians, Acadian French, Lowland Scots, Irish, Loyalists from New England, and English immigrants have all contributed to a history which has included cultural, religious, and political conflict as well as cooperation and synthesis. The Highland Scots became the largest community in the early 19th century, and their heritage in music, folklore, and language has survived government indifference, but it is now threatened by a synthetic marketable "tartan clan doll culture" aimed primarily at tourists.[8]

In the first quarter of the 20th century, Nova Scotia suffered significant rural depopulation, particularly in its eastern counties, which not only impacted it economically, but caused a turbulent political climate. Both George Murray, head of Nova Scotia's Liberal government, and his successor, E. H. Armstrong, implemented policy initiatives to improve rural life and modernize agricultural industry, and they secured federal assistance through loans and grants for agriculture, roads, and immigration. Murray was criticized for being too cautious in his reforms, while Armstrong, even with a Liberal federal government behind him, was unable to stop the eventual withdrawal of assistance. The situation only worsened with the post-World War II depression which brought the United Farmers Party to power in 1920 in the hardest hit areas of eastern Nova Scotia. The Liberals' failure to stem the decline of the area brought their defeat in the 1925 provincial election by "rejuvenated" Conservatives who capitalized on Armstrong's weakness. Rural depopulation and its impact on agriculture and society is key to understanding the province's politics in the early 20th century, when both provincial and federal politicians let down the people of rural Nova Scotia.[9]

In 1991 about 70 percent of the population was of British background, with people of English and Scottish ancestry predominating. Persons of French descent accounted for about 8 percent of the total. About 37 percent were Roman Catholic, 17 percent belonged to the United Church of Canada, 15 percent were Anglican, and 11 percent were Baptists. In 1991 the population was 54 percent urban and 46 percent rural. Migration from rural to urban areas was rapid until the late 1960s and insignificant since then.

Economic and Business history

An examination of Nova Scotia's trade and tariffs between 1830 and 1866 suggests that the colony was already moving toward free trade before the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 with the U.S. took effect, but that the treaty still resulted in modest direct gains. The structure of the economy changed because markets for some commodities, such as coal, were strongly affected though markets for other goods were untouched. The Reciprocity Treaty complemented the earlier movement toward free trade and stimulated the export of commodities sold primarily to the United States.[10]

Between 1851 and 1871 agriculture was the single largest economic activity in Nova Scotia. After 1891, total rural population, farmland, grain production, cattle production, and number of farms all consistently declined through 1951. Despite this, certain agricultural products, such as apples and dairy products, showed increases in production. Nova Scotia's total food imports exceeded exports, but many specific products showed surpluses. Agriculture was far more significant to the Nova Scotia economy during 1851-1951 than is traditionally portrayed; the province experienced the same decline in agriculture as neighboring areas, including much of northern New England.[11]

After Confederation, boosters of Halifax, Nova Scotia, expected federal help to make the city's natural harbor Canada's official winter port and a gateway for trade with Europe. Halifax's advantages included its location just off the Great Circle route and the closest proximity to Europe of any mainland North American port. But the Canadian Intercolonial Railway (ICR) took an indirect, southerly route for military and political reasons, and national leaders did not live up to promises to declare Halifax Canada's winter port. Despite appeals to nationalism and the ICR's own attempts to promote traffic to Halifax, most Canadian exports went though Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine. Wealthy Haligonians also failed to finance the construction of needed facilities. The outbreak of World War I finally boosted Halifax's harbor into prominence.[12]

William F. Stairs (1848-1904), scion of the powerful Stairs family, enlarged the family's multiple businesses by merging the cordage firms and sugar refineries and then creating the steel industry in Nova Scotia. In order to develop new regional sources of capital, Stairs was a pioneer in building legal and regulatory frameworks for these new forms of financial structure. Frost contrasts Stairs's success in promoting regional development with the obstacles that he had encountered in promoting regional interests, particularly at the federal level. The family finally sold its businesses in 1971, after 160 years.[13]

In Halifax Samuel Cunard, with his father, Abraham, a master ship's carpenter, founded the A. Cunard & Co. cargo shipping company and later the Cunard Line, a pride of the British Empire. Samuel parlayed his father's modest waterfront real estate holdings into a succession of businesses that revolutionized transatlantic shipping and passenger travel with the introduction of steam power. He contributed to Halifax civic life through philanthropic activities, founding the Chamber of Commerce, and participating in banking, mining, and other commercial enterprises. He also became one of the largest landholders in the Maritime Provinces.[14]

The vertically-integrated industrial giant, the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company (known as Scotia), made large profits in the early 20th century from exporting staples, pig iron, and steel products to foreign and national markets. Initially aided by the company's tidewater location and control over all phases of production, these were not sufficient in the long run to overcome such forces of fragmentation as dispersed and limited regional markets, increased costs of producing poor quality resources, and the minimal presence of external economies. With Scotia's eventual demise, towns like Sydney Mines, Trenton, and New Glasgow suffered economic and population decline.[15]

Labour history

Working conditions in the Halifax Naval Yard during 1775-1820 included officers who were corrupt; nepotism was common. The laborers endured poor working conditions and limited personal freedoms. However, the laborers were willing to remain there for many years because wages, even though sometimes late, were generally regular, and there was always the possibility of disability pay for those hurt on the job and pensions for those who stayed until retirement.[16]

Families attempted to maximize economic well-being by diversifying the employment opportunities of the working members. Shipbuilding was a part-time activity that complemented seasonal farming and lumbering activities. They had larger family sizes, used land for farming and security of food production, and saw the importance of job location for participation in pluralist activities.[17]

The labour movement in Nova Scotia may be traced back to the late 18th century. As early as 1799 there was a Carpenters' Society at Halifax, and soon there were attempts at organization by other workmen and tradesmen. In 1816 Nova Scotia had an act against trade unions, the preamble of which declared that great numbers of master tradesmen, journeymen, and workmen in the town of Halifax and other parts of the province had, by unlawful meetings and combinations, endeavored to regulate the rate of wages and effectuate other illegal aims.

Unionization has primarily focused on craft rather than industrial lines, except in the coal mines and steel plants. There has been an increase in industrial unionism with the expansion of industry. After the middle of the 19th century international unionism and American influence became important, with international unionism entering the province in 1869, when a branch of the International Typographical Union was chartered in Halifax. The development of federated unions is seen in the organization of the Amalgamated Trade Unions of Halifax in 1889, which was succeeded by the Halifax District Trades and Labour Council in 1898. By the end of the 19th century there were more than 70 local unions in Nova Scotia.

The Provincial Workmen's Association began in 1879 as a miners' union; in 1898, faced by a challenge from the Knights of Labor, it sought to embrace unions in all the industries of the province. The first local union of the United Mine Workers was established in 1908. After a struggle for control of the labour movement among the miners, the Provincial Workmen's Association was dissolved in 1917, and by 1919 the United Mine Workers had triumphed in the coal areas of the province. Success was credited to the aggressive leadership of legendary J. B. McLachlan (1869-1937), who left the coal mines of Scotland to migrate to Canada in 1902, became a Communist (1922 to 1936) and promoted a strong union and a tradition of independent labour politics. McLachlan’s battles with the American UMWA leadership, particularly the dictatorial John L. Lewis, demonstrated his commitment to democratic unionism for the miners and a fighting union, but Lewis won and outsted McLachlan from power.[18] Women played an important, though largely ignored, role in the union movement in Newfoundland's Cape Breton coal towns during the troubled 1920's. Women did not work in the mines but acted as family financiers and engaged in an array of other supportive activities. Women's labor leagues organized a variety of social, educational, and fund-raising functions. Women also violently confronted scabs, policemen, and soldiers. They had to stretch the food dollar and show inventiveness in clothing their families. In effect, the union movement relied extensively on women.[19]

In 1936, union organizers from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) launched a new successful organizing drive at the Dominion Steel Company (DOSCO) plant in Sydney under the auspices of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC). This effort drew the support of steelworkers in a way that previous organizing attempts had not. However, the militant and self-reliant traditions of the steelworkers collided with the cautious strategies and bureaucratic practices of the appointed SWOC leadership in the U.S. and Canada. As steelworkers at Sydney showed great solidarity in their struggle with DOSCO, they also resisted what they saw as undemocratic and highly accommodationist practices by the union's national and international leadership.[20]

After 1940 the labour movement has spread throughout Nova Scotia. Although most Nova Scotia branches affiliated with the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada after it first entered the province in 1902, there were a growing number of Canadian Congress of Labour affiliates in later years. In 1956 these two groups merged to form the Canadian Labour Congress. In 1987 there were about 105,000 union members, almost half of them affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress.

Labour legislation includes the Canada Trade Union Act of 1872 which made labour organizations more respectable, and the Nova Scotia Trade Union Act of 1937. It established the right of employees to organize and set the procedure for collective bargaining. Laws regulating the conditions and terms of employment are contained in a Labour Standards Code passed in 1972.

Historical resources

Historical libraries, in addition to research library at Dalhousie University at Halifax, include the Public Archives of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Legislative Library. The museum of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia exhibits important documents, paintings, and relics of the province's history. Other museums include the Nova Scotia Museum, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, all at Halifax; and fisheries museums at Lunenburg and at North East Margaree. The six national historic parks are: Fort Anne at Annapolis Royal, the site of early Acadian settlement; Fortress of Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island, with the ruins of a walled city erected by the French in 1720- 1740; Port Royal near Annapolis Royal, with a restoration of the Habitation built in 1605; Grand Pre in "the Evangeline country"; Alexander Graham Bell, with a museum, at Baddeck; and Halifax Citadel, at Halifax. Important historic houses and buildings include the Perkins House, at Liverpool, which was built in 1766; the Ross-Thomson House, at Shelburne, which was erected in the 1780's; Uniacke House, built at Mount Uniacke near Halifax, in 1813-1815; the Wolfville Historic House at Wolfville; and Clifton (Haliburton Memorial Museum), the Windsor home of Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton, author of the "Sam Slick" stories.



  • Beck, J. Murray. The Government of Nova Scotia University of Toronto Press, 1957, the standard history
  • Choyce, Lesley. Nova Scotia: Shaped by the Sea. A Living History. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada, 1996. 305 pp.
  • Donovan, Kenneth, ed. The Island: New Perspectives on Cape Breton History, 1713-1990 (1990)
  • Donovan, Kenneth, ed. Cape Breton at 200: Historical Essays in Honour of the Island's Bicentennial, 1785-1985. Sydney, N.S.: U. College of Cape Breton Press, 1985. 261 pp.
  • Fingard, Judith; Guildford, Janet; and Sutherland, David. Halifax: The First 250 Years Halifax: Formac, 1999. 192 pp.
  • Girard, Philip; Phillips, Jim; and Cahill, Barry, ed. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle U. of Toronto Press 2004. online review in French
  • Hornsby, Stephen. Nineteenth Century Cape Breton: A Historical Geography (1992) * Johnson, Ralph S. Forests of Nova Scotia: A History. Tantallon: Nova Scotia Dept. of Lands and Forests; Four East Publ., 1986. 407 pp.
  • Loomer, L. S. Windsor, Nova Scotia: A Journey in History. Windsor, N.S.: West Hants Hist. Soc., 1996. 399 pp.
  • Robertson, Allen B. Tide & Timber: Hantsport, Nova Scotia, 1795-1995. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot, 1996. 182 pp.
  • Robertson, Barbara R. Sawpower: Making Lumber in the Sawmills of Nova Scotia. Halifax: Nimbus; Nova Scotia Mus., 1986. 244 pp.
  • Tennyson, Brian Douglas, ed. Cape Bretoniana: An Annotated Bibliography. U. of Toronto Press, 2005. 789 pp.

Pre 1900

  • Beck, J. Murray. Joseph Howe: Volumes I: Conservative Reformer 1804-1848; vol 2: The Briton Becomes Canadian 1848-1873 (1984)
    • Beck, J. Murray. "Joseph Howe" in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (2000) online edition
  • Beck, J. Murray. Politics of Nova Scotia. vol 1 1710-1896 Tantallon, N.S.: Four East 1985 438 pp.
  • Bell, Winthrop P. The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia: The History of a Piece of Arrested British Colonial Policy in the Eighteenth Century. (1961). reprint Fredericton: Acadiensis for Mount Allison U., Center for Canadian Studies, 1990. 673 pp.
  • Brebner, John Bartlet. New England's Outpost. Acadia before the Conquest of Canada (1927)
  • Brebner, John Bartlet. The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia: A Marginal Colony During the Revolutionary Years (1937)
  • Buckner, Phillip Buckner. "Sir Charles Tupper," in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (2000) online edition
  • Byers, Mary and McBurney, Margaret. Atlantic Hearth: Early Homes and Families of Nova Scotia. U. of Toronto Press, 1994. 364 pp.
  • Campey, Lucille H. After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2004. 376 pp.
  • J. A. Chisholm, ed. Speeches and Public Letters of Joseph Howe 2 vol Halifax, 1909
  • Conrad, Margaret and Moody, Barry, ed. Planter Links: Community and Culture in Colonial Nova Scotia. Fredericton: Acadiensis, 2001. 236 pp. The Planters were New England Yankees
  • Conrad, Margaret, ed. Intimate Relations: Family and Community in Planter Nova Scotia, 1759-1800. Fredericton: Acadiensis, 1995. 298 pp.
  • Conrad, Margaret, ed. Making Adjustments: Change and Continuity in Planter Nova Scotia, 1759-1800. Fredericton: Acadiensis, 1991. 280 pp.
  • Cuthbertson, Brian. Johnny Bluenose at the Polls: Epic Nova Scotian Election Battles, 1758-1848. Halifax: Formac, 1994. 344 pp.
  • Desserud, Donald A. "Outpost's Response: The Language and Politics of Moderation in Eighteenth-Century Nova Scotia" American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29, 1999 online
  • Faragher, John Mack. A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland (2006)
  • Frost, James D. Merchant Princes: Halifax's First Family of Finance, Ships, and Steel Toronto: Lorimer, 2003. 376 pp.
  • Griffiths, N. E. S. From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 2005. 633 pp.
  • Gwyn, Julian. Excessive Expectations: Maritime Commerce and the Economic Development of Nova Scotia, 1740-1870 McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1998. 291 pp.
  • Hornsby, Stephen J. Nineteenth-Century Cape Breton: A Historical Geography. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1992. 274 pp.
  • Johnston, A. J. B. Control and Order in French Colonial Louisbourg, 1713-1758. Michigan State U. Press, 2001. 346 pp.
  • Krause, Eric; Corbin, Carol; and O'Shea, William, ed. Aspects of Louisbourg: Essays on the History of an Eighteenth-Century French Community in North America. Sydney, N.S.: U. College of Cape Breton Press, 1995. 312 pp.
  • Lanctôt, Léopold. L'Acadie des Origines, 1603-1771 Montreal: Fleuve, 1988. 234 pp.
  • MacKinnon, Neil. This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia, 1783-1791. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1986. 231 pp.
  • Mancke, Elizabeth. The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830 Routledge, 2005. 214 pp. online
  • Marble, Allan Everett. Surgeons, Smallpox, and the Poor: A History of Medicine and Social Conditions in Nova Scotia, 1749-1799. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1993. 356 pp.
  • Pryke, Kenneth G. Nova Scotia and Confederation, 1864-74 (1979)
  • Rawlyk, George ed. Joseph Howe: Opportunist? Man of Vision? Fustrated Politician?, (1967).
  • Reid, John G. et al. The "Conquest" of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. U. of Toronto Press, 2004. 297 pp.
  • Schama, Simon. Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution. 2006. deals with freed slaves in Nova Scotia in 1780s-1790s
  • Waite, P. B. The Lives of Dalhousie University. Vol. 1: 1818-1925, Lord Dalhousie's College. McGill-Queen's U. Press 1994. 338 pp.
  • Walker, James W. St. G. The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870. (1976). 438 pp
  • Whitelaw, William Menzies; The Maritimes and Canada before Confederation (1934) online

Since 1900

  • Beck, J. Murray. Politics of Nova Scotia. vol 2: 1896-1988. Tantallon, N.S.: Four East 1985 438 pp.
  • Bickerton, James P. Nova Scotia, Ottawa and the Politics of Regional Development. U. of Toronto Press 1990. 412 pp.
  • Bird, Michael J. The Town That Died: A Chronicle of the Halifax Disaster. (1967). 192 pp.
  • Creighton, Wilfred. Forestkeeping: A History of the Department of Lands and Forests in Nova Scotia, 1926-1969. Halifax: Nova Scotia Dept. of Lands and Forests, 1988. 155 pp.
  • Earle, Michael, ed. Workers and the State in Twentieth Century Nova Scotia. Fredericton: Acadiensis, 1989.
  • Frank, David. J. B. McLachlan: A Biography - the Story of a Legendary Labour Leader and the Cape Breton Coal Miners. Toronto: Lorimer, 1999. 592 pp.
  • Fraser, Dawn. Echoes from Labor's Wars: The Expanded Edition, Industrial Cape Breton in the 1920's, Echoes of World War One, Autobiography and Other Writings. Wreck Cove, N.S.: Breton Books, 1992. 177 pp.
  • McKay, Ian. The Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia. McGill-Queen's U. Press, 1994. 371 pp.
  • McKay, Ian. The Craft Transformed: An Essay on the Carpenters of Halifax, 1885-1985. Halifax, Holdfast, 1985. 148 pp.
  • MacKinnon, Robert. "Agriculture and Rural Change in Nova Scotia, 1851-1951." Canadian Papers in Rural History 1996 10: 231-273.
  • March, William DesB. Red Line: The Chronicle-Herald and Mail-Star, 1875-1954. Halifax, N.S.: Chebucto Agencies, 1986. 415 pp.
  • Morton, Suzanne. Ideal Surroundings: Domestic Life in a Working-Class Suburb in the 1920s. U. of Toronto Press, 1995. 201 pp. about Richmond Heights
  • Sandberg, L. Anders and Clancy, Peter. Against the Grain: Foresters and Politics in Nova Scotia. U. of British Columbia Press, 2000. 352 pp.
  • Sandberg, L. Anders, ed. Trouble in the Woods: Forest Policy and Social Conflict in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Fredericton, Acadiensis, 1992. 234 pp.
  • White, James Frank Edward. "Conscripted City: Halifax and the Second World War." PhD dissertation McMaster U. 1995. 482 pp. DAI 1996 56(8): 3267-3268-A. DANN98223 Fulltext: in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

  1. Griffiths (2005); Farragher (2006)
  2. Judith Fingard, "Wentworth, Sir John," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (2000) online edition
  3. Beck (1985)
  4. Buckner (2000); Robert Lanning, "Awakening a Demand for Schooling: Educational Inspection's Impact on Rural Nova Scotia, 1855-74." Historical Studies in Education 2000 12(1-2): 129-142. Issn: 0843-5057
  5. Beck (2000)
  6. Bird (1967)
  7. Jennifer Smith, "The Stanfield Government and Social Policy in Nova Scotia: 1956-1967." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 2003 6: 1-16.
  8. Steve Murdoch, "Cape Breton: Canada's "Highland" Island?" Northern Scotland 1998 18: 31-42. Issn: 0306-5278
  9. Paul Brown, "'Come East, Young Man!' the Politics of Rural Depopulation in Nova Scotia, 1900-1925." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society1998 1: 47-78.
  10. Marilyn Gerriets and Julian Gwyn, "Tariffs, Trade and Reciprocity: Nova Scotia, 1830-1866." Acadiensis 1996 25(2): 62-81. Issn: 0044-5851
  11. MacKinnon, (1996); Kris Inwood, and Phyllis Wagg, "Wealth and Prosperity in Nova Scotia Agriculture, 1851-71." Canadian Historical Review 1994 75(2): 239-264. Issn: 0008-3755 Fulltext: in Ebsco
  12. James D. Frost, "Halifax: the Wharf of the Dominion, 1867-1914." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 2005 8: 35-48. Issn: 1486-5920
  13. J.B. Cahill, "Stairs, William James." in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (2000) online edition Frost (2003)
  14. John G. Langley, "Samuel Cunard 1787-1865: 'As Fine a Specimen of a Self-made Man as this Western Continent Can Boast Of.'" Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 2005 8: 92-115. Issn: 1486-5920
  15. L. D. McCann, "Fragmented Integration: the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company and the Anatomy of an Urban-industrial Landscape, c. 1912." Urban History Review 1994 22(2): 139-158. Issn: 0703-0428
  16. Julian Gwyn, "the Culture of Work in the Halifax Naval Yard Before 1820." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 1999 2: 118-144.
  17. Larry McCann, "Seasons of Labor: Family, Work, and Land in a Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia Shipbuilding Community." History of the Family 1999 4(4): 485-527. Issn: 1081-602x Fulltext: in Ebsco
  18. Frank (1999)
  19. Steven. Penfold, "'Have You No Manhood in You?' Gender and Class in the Cape Breton Coal Towns, 1920-1926." Acadiensis 1994 23(2): 21-44. Issn: 0044-5851
  20. Ron Crawley, "What Kind of Unionism: Struggles among Sydney Steel Workers in the SWOC Years, 1936-1942." Labour 39 (1997): 99-123.