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Ethnic Heritage HeaderEthnic Heritage HeaderPrince Edward Island’s ethnic heritage combines a melting pot of European ancestries with a complementary mosaic of Aboriginal peoples and cultures from Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia. The Island’s first inhabitants lived close to the land deriving their nutrition and their spiritual life from the Island’s waters and forests. They were joined, in the seventeenth century, by Acadian and European immigrants—relatively uneducated, poor rural tenants and farm labourers. Many had suffered religious persecution and economic difficulties in their homelands and were lured to the island colony with hopes of making a better life for themselves on the fertile soil and unspoiled landscape that was to become Prince Edward Island. In more recent years, immigrants from other parts of the globe have added their cultural traditions to contribute to an ever-changing and diverse “Island Way of Life.”

The Mi’kmaq
After many difficult decades, the Island’s first culture has persevered and continues to maintain a vital and active presence in Island society.

The Acadians
Over the past 350+ years, the Acadian people have endured many hardships but their perseverance has earned them a vital place in Island culture.

The English
The arrival of the English to Prince Edward Island is inextricably linked to important periods in the Atlantic region’s colonial history from the wars between Britain and France to the American Revolution.

The Scots
The predominance of Celtic traditions in Island culture today has its roots in the waves of Scottish immigration during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Irish
Prince Edward Island’s Irish community comes from a sturdy stock—hardworking adventurous pioneers who came to find freedom and fortune on the Island and fought their way to the top.

Just as our Island landscape mirrors a divine patchwork quilt, our society is made up of some 75 cultures and nationalities that have made Prince Edward Island home.