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Prince Edward Island - Canadian History.

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Prince Edward Island - Canadian History.

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Publié le : 3/5/2013 -Format: Document en format HTML protégé

Prince Edward Island - Canadian History.
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Prince Edward Island - Canadian History.
I

INTRODUCTION

Prince Edward Island, the smallest and most densely populated province of Canada. It is one of the Maritime provinces (along with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) and
one of the Atlantic provinces (the Maritimes plus Newfoundland and Labrador). Prince Edward Island lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and has a crescent shape. It is
separated from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the shallow Northumberland Strait. The provincial capital and largest city is Charlottetown.
Many of the islanders farm the fertile red soils that cover much of the land. Residents raise livestock and grow a variety of crops, especially potatoes--the traditional
primary crop. Because of its rich agricultural resources, Prince Edward Island has been nicknamed the Million-Acre Farm, the Garden of the Gulf, and Spud Island. The
Mi'kmaq, the island's original inhabitants, called it Abegweit, meaning "Cradled on the Waves." It was called Île Saint Jean by the French, and in 1799 its name was
changed to Prince Edward Island in honor of a son of British king George III.

II

PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

Prince Edward Island has an area of 5,660 sq km (2,185 sq mi). Apart from small ponds, there are virtually no inland bodies of fresh water. The province is about 230
km (about 140 mi) long and from 6 to 60 km (4 to 40 mi) wide. The shoreline is deeply indented by tidal inlets. Along the southern and eastern coasts, embayed river
mouths offer excellent harbors, such as the harbor at Charlottetown. Few places on the island are further than 8 km (5 mi) from the sea or a tidal inlet. Along the
northern coast, an almost continuous line of dunes and sandbars block the harbor entrances.

A

Landforms

Prince Edward Island lies in a portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence Plain, which is a subdivision of the Appalachian Region, a landform that dominates eastern North
America. Structurally, the Gulf of St. Lawrence Plain is a low basin, and most of the island consists of gently rolling plains. Few areas on the island exceed 60 m (200 ft)
in elevation. The highest point on the island, in the Bonshaw Hills, rises to 142 m (466 ft) above sea level. The northern side of the island has fine white beaches and is
protected from the sea by dunes. The island's southern side is bordered by low sandstone bluffs, averaging about 6 m (20 ft) high.
Long ago, Prince Edward Island was buried under a thick glacier, which left a deep mantle of sandy-red glacial debris. The soils that developed on this mantle, known as
podzals, are moist, acidic, and comparatively low in plant nutrients. However, over large sections where they have been cared for and where organic material has been
added, the soils support many types of agriculture.

B

Climate

Its maritime location gives Prince Edward Island a milder climate than might ordinarily be expected at its northerly latitude. The climate is very humid. In Charlottetown
average temperatures range from a high of 23°C (74°F) to a low of 14°C (57°F) in July, the warmest month. In January, the coldest month, temperatures range from a
high of -3°C (26°F) to a low of -12°C (10°F). The average annual precipitation is 1,200 mm (47 in), and residents can expect an average of 3.4 m (11 ft) of snow each
year. About 150 days each year are free of frost.
In winter ice covers Northumberland Strait and parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and icebreakers must be used to keep sea lanes open. Drift ice can be found in
offshore waters as late as the end of May, making maritime travel difficult for the province's fishers.

C

Plant Life

Nearly 50 percent of Prince Edward Island is forested. There are few large wooded tracts, and most of the forested land is preserved in small woodlots that are privately
owned. Little is left of the island's original forests, which consisted mainly of deciduous trees. Today, coniferous trees predominate, including spruce and pine, although
maple, beech, oak, ash, elm, and other deciduous species are also found. Wildflowers include mayflowers, devil's paintbrush, and primroses. Irish moss, a type of
seaweed, grows in some coastal waters.

D

Animal Life

The island's large animals, including black bear, wildcat, and caribou, disappeared after European settlement. Some smaller animals remain, such as foxes, snowshoe
hares, mink, muskrats, and weasels. Birds are numerous and include geese, ducks, pheasant, partridge, and snipe. The island's rivers support many kinds of fish,
including brook trout, perch, and Atlantic salmon. In the offshore waters are clams, oysters, scallops, lobsters, cod, mackerel, and herring.

E

Environmental Issues

Prince Edward Island has several significant environmental problems. The most important one is soil erosion caused by agricultural practices, including the overuse of
crop and grazing lands, a heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the removal of hedgerows to maximize useable agricultural area. As a result of these
practices, wind and water erosion have damaged some of the island's best agricultural lands and led to problems with silting in many streams. Beginning in 1999 the
provincial government implemented a sustainable agriculture program emphasizing improved crop rotation, livestock fencing and watering to limit grazing damage,
hedgerow establishment, and other measures. Another environmental problem is water pollution caused by agricultural runoff, municipal sewage, and leaks from
underground petroleum storage tanks.

III

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

Agriculture remains central to the economy of Prince Edward Island. Also important are service industries, especially tourism, manufacturing, and fishing. Manufacturing
is limited for the most part to food processing. In 2006 the province's gross domestic product (GDP) was C$4.3 billion (in 2006 the U.S. dollar was on average
equivalent to 1.10 Canadian dollars).

A

Agriculture

The soil conditions and temperate climate of the island are well suited to agriculture. Farming on the island has changed dramatically in recent decades, as many small,
family-owned farms have sold their holdings to larger agribusinesses. In the early 1950s there were more than 10,000 farms on the island with average holdings of 44

hectares (109 acres) each. In 2006 there were 1,700 farms, of which the average size was 148 hectares (366 acres). In 2005 the total farm cash receipts were C$510
million. The most important agricultural products in terms of value include potatoes, milk and cream, cattle and calves, hogs, tobacco, vegetables, eggs, hens and
chickens, and furs.
For the most part the island's agriculture is diversified, rather than specialized, because of the lack of a large urban industrial population within easy reach. The eastern
section of the island produces the most fruit and specialty crops, but across the rest of the island, livestock and field crops predominate. Dairy farms are located
throughout the island. Prince Edward Island produces much of Canada's tot...


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