Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Steamships New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company

Pre-Confederation Colonization
Prior to Confederation, the four British North American colonies - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and what are now Ontario and Québec - were each responsible for promoting settlement. Between 1815 and 1860 New Brunswick's population rose from about 50,000 to more than 250,000, primarily as a consequence of the timber trade. The booming economy attracted thousands of settlers from the British Isles, Ireland, and elsewhere at this time. The port of Saint John, the province's main urban centre, saw its population increase dramatically during the same period, from about 5,000 to 38,000, making it the third largest urban centre in British North America.