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Two groups of Algonquian-speaking indigenous peoples, the Abnaki and the Micmac, were in Nova Scotia when the first Europeans arrived. Vikings may have been the first Europeans to explore Nova Scotia, but the first recorded exploration was made in 1497 by English explorer John Cabot. French claims were established by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and by Jacques Cartier ten years later. In 1604 Pierre du Guast sieur de Monts, Samuel de Champlain, and Baron de Poutrincourt established a colony at Port Royal, but in 1607 the colony was abandoned. Poutrincourt returned in 1610 and established the first successful settlement of Europeans in what is now Canada. In 1621 King James I of England changed the area's name from Acadia to Nova Scotia. Eight years later groups of Scots settled at Charlesfort, near Port Royal, and at Rosemar, on Cape Breton Island. Throughout the 17th century the English and French battled over control of Nova Scotia. The Peace of Utrecht in 1713 confirmed British control of Acadia, although the French retained Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. During King George's War in 1744, the French and British again battled over Nova Scotia. The British decided to make Nova Scotia British by bringing in more settlers. Halifax was founded as a fishing port and naval station, and other towns were planned. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the French settlement of Fort Beauséjour fell under an American attack, and Fort Gaspereau fell to the British. After the war Governor Charles Lawrence ordered more than 6000 Acadians deported to the American colonies, but about 2000 escaped. By 1763 Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick were joined to Nova Scotia, although Prince Edward Island was separated from Nova Scotia in 1769 and Cape Breton Island and New Brunswick were detached in 1784. Cape Breton Island was reannexed in 1820. In 1758 Canada had its first representative assembly election, in Halifax.During and after the American Revolution (1775-1783) about 30,000 United Empire Loyalists (American colonists loyal to Great Britain) migrated to southwestern Nova Scotia, which later became the province of New Brunswick. By the 1860s plans for the unification of all the Canadian colonies were being proposed. Nova Scotians generally disliked the idea of entering the union, but Sir Charles Tupper, the Nova Scotian premier and later prime minister of Canada, agreed to the terms of the Québec Conference of 1864. Nova Scotia entered the Dominion of Canada in 1867. At that time, Nova Scotia was in economic turmoil, as its shipbuilding industry was diminishing. Trade and industry lagged after the American Civil War ended in 1865, and large numbers of Nova Scotians migrated to western Canada and the United States. The demands of World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), however, improved the economy. After 1950 the province made significant gains, as mining and manufacturing began to play a vital role in the economy. As the 1990s began, however, living standards remained low in Nova Scotia by countrywide standards.

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