Nova Scotia is a province in eastern Canada; it is the most populous of Canada's four Atlantic provinces. Its area of 55,284 square kilometres includes Cape Breton Island and 3,800 other coastal islands. The peninsula that makes up Nova Scotia's mainland is connected to the rest of North America by the Isthmus of Chignecto, on which the province's land border with New Brunswick is located. The province borders the Bay of Fundy to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east, and is separated from Prince Edward Island and the island of Newfoundland by the Northumberland and Cabot straits, respectively.
The land that comprises what is now Nova Scotia has been inhabited by the indigenous Miꞌkmaq people for thousands of years. France's first settlement in North America, Port-Royal, was established in 1605 and intermittently served in various locations as the capital of the French colony of Acadia for over a hundred years. The Fortress of Louisbourg was a key focus point in the struggle between the British and French for control of the area, changing hands numerous times until France relinquished its claims with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. During the American Revolutionary War, thousands of Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia. In 1848, Nova Scotia became the first British colony to achieve responsible government, and it federated in July 1867 with New Brunswick and the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) to form what is now the country of Canada.
The province issued its own official coinage from 1861 to 1864. Before that, many merchant tokens were issued there or were brought from England and Ireland and circulated in the province.