First residents and the Arrival of the Europeans

The first residents of Prince Edward Island arrived about 10,000 years ago when the area was still connected to the mainland. These Paleo-Indian hunters and foragers travelled throughout the region seasonally searching for food. About 5,000 years ago, the land bridge was removed due to the rising sea level, and the Island was created.

More than a thousand years before Christopher Columbus made his landfall in North America, the Mi'kmaq had already made PEI their home. They called this beautiful Island "Epekwitk" (or "Abegweit"), meaning "resting on the waves."

Before the time of the European arrival, the Mi'kmaq of the Atlantic Region, the Gaspé Peninsula, and parts of Maine were organized into seven political districts. Prince Edward Island was one of these districts. The seven districts made up the Mi'kmaq Nation, a union under the leadership of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council.

Published date: 
September 22, 2023