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Prince Edward Island

Entered Confederation: 1873

Prince Edward Island was a colony of 87 000 people when it joined Canada in 1873. The Island's economy depended on farming, timber and shipbuilding. There was a strong trading partnership with New England in the United States.

Although P.E.I. was a part of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences, it decided not to join Confederation in 1867. Later, Canada became afraid the Island would join the United States. To prevent this from happening, the Canadian government again invited Prince Edward Island to join Confederation. Meanwhile the Islanders, including the premier James C. Pope, started to think about becoming part of Canada in order to solve their two main problems:

  • The first problem was a very old one and had to do with land. Landlords who lived in England owned most of the Island. This meant that settlers could not buy their own land and had to rent it at high cost. Canada agreed to help by buying the land from the landlords so that settlers could then buy and own their land.
  • The Island had borrowed a lot of money to build a railway, and could not pay back its debts. Canada agreed to help them pay this money.

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