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     Micmac Indians, probably the first inhabitants of Canada's smallest province, called their 2,184 square mile island home as Abegwelt, which means "Cradled on the Wave" in English. The island was later to become Ile St. Jean and eventually Prince Edward Island in honor of Edward, Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria. Although attempts have been made to establish earlier discovery of Prince Edward Island by explorers such as John Cabot, Verazanno and Stephen Gomez, it is usually accepted that Jacques Cartier in the 1530's was the first visitor from the Old World.
     Charlottetown, once Port de la Joie, became Capital of an Island newly separated from Nova Scotia when on 4th of August 1769 instructions from the Court of St. James were issued to Walter Patterson, the son of an Irishman from County Donegal, constituting him as Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief over the Island of St. John and instructing him to: "-fit yourself with all convenient speed, and to repair to our said island of St. John, and being arrived at Charlottetown within our said island, which we do hereby appoint to be the capital of our said Government, and the chief place of your residence."
     Governor Patterson's arrival on the Island was not until August 1770 at which time there was an estimated population of some one hundred and fifty families. Charlottetown today, with about 18,500 of the Province's 110,000 inhabitants, attracts many travelers and holidaying Canadians whose itinerary invariably includes a visit to the beautifully preserved room in which Canada was born; the 1864 Charlottetown Conference was the first step leading to Confederation in 1867.

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