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Antigonish County is located in the northeast of Nova Scotia, nearly triangular in form. It is bounded by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of St. George and is between the Counties of Pictou and Guysborough. The County of Antigonish was the latest settled in the province. Its position as the most eastern part of Nova Scotia proper may account for this. The Micmacs were the original inhabitants of Antigonish. Beginning in 1759, the French Acadians began to settle in Havre Boucher, Tracadie and Pomquet. In 1784 a number of British officers and soldiers received a grant of land, known since as the "Soldiers' Grant". The land was located on both sides of Antigonish Harbour. Scottish ancestors first settled in Arisaig in the late 1700s and later at St. Andrews. After the American Revolution, groups of Black Loyalists settled in many area of Antigonish County, Tracadie being one of the first settlements. Many descendants of these settlers continue to reside in Antigonish County today.
The word Antigonish is of Mi'kmaq origin. According
Dr. Silas Rand, it is derived from Nalegitkoonechk (Nalegitkoonech or
meaning "where branches are torn off." It is said that there the
bears broke down branches to get the beech nuts. The second
is that Antigonish is derived from the Mi'kmaq word "Nartigonneich"
translates to "a river of fish with many waters" or "the place where
waters meet." (Five forked rivers --West River, South River,
Brook, Wright's River, and east Wright's River).
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