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Capital: Halifax, NS
Major cities: Sydney, NS; Charlottetown, PEI; St. John, NB; Moncton, NB; Fredericton, NB
Languages: English, French
Independence from Great Britain: July 1st, 1867
Member provinces: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Realising that they shared common interests outside of those of the other former colonies of British North America, representatives of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick banded together during the 1867 Charlottetown Conference and cordially parted ways with the other colonies. Their union was ratified that year as the Confederation of Maritimes Provinces, although it wasn't until 1873 that tiny Prince Edward Island was enticed into the union by promises of a cross-island railroad and the prospect of closer and more lucrative economic ties to the mainland.
The Maritimes Confederation consists of the three former British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Each province is ruled by a provincial legislature, headed by a premier and lieutenant-general. The national capital is located in Halifax, where a two-house federal legislature is led by the prime minister (leader of the majority political party). The official head of state is the ruling monarch of Great Britain, represented by a governor-general residing in Halifax and appointed by the monarch.
The Maritimes Confederation maintains close economic, political, military, and cultural ties to Great Britain, and maintains an economic high hand over the various nations of the interior due to its strategic position across the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Maritimers harbour a traditional British North American fear of American expansionism but centuries'-worth of colonial fortifications and the continued presence of the Royal Navy offers some sound reassurance.
The majority of the population of the Eastern Maritimes Confederation is descended from settlers of British origin; in the west, especially western New Brunswick, the majority of the population is descended from the Acadians, a settler community of French extraction. Both French- and English-speakers receive equal rights within the Confederation, and although English is the language of origin of all legal documents, they are often published in French in predominantly French-speaking areas.
The Maritimes Confederation's key source of income is the port of Halifax, the mouth of the trade network extending into British North America via the St. Lawrence River. Other key industries are fishing, logging, potato farming, and coal mining. Domestic industry and a national railroad (later expanded to connect with vital freight routes in neighbouring countries) was fostered in the decades following independence, and together with the Halifax trade has left the Maritimes Confederation in a sound economic position.
The Royal Navy maintains a base at Halifax, on loan from the Maritimes Confederation until 1957. A series of forts remain along the Confederation's southern border and eastern coasts, left over from colonial times. The Maritimes Confederation maintains a small naval force consisting of small ships produced domestically as well as several medium-sized vessels purchased from the Royal Navy. These are used mostly for policing territorial waters, as well as maintaining a national presence at the mouth of the St. Lawrence trade route. The mandatory militias of colonial times have given way to a smaller, semi-professional volunteer army, equipped, organised, and trained in the pattern of the British Army- often with help of British advisors or retired British Army officers who have taken up residence in the Maritimes. The majority of equipment in the Maritimes armed forces is either purchased from Britain or patterned after British equipment.