By the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763 the North American mainland was shared between Britain and Spain. France retained only two small islands, St Pierre and Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland, at which her fishermen could dry their fish. By 1793 Britain had lost her colonies south of Canada: to the original thirteen, which became independent in 1783 and, hesitantly, united in 1787, two new states had been added (Vermont, 1791, and Kentucky, 1792); and the Floridas, East and West, had been returned to Spain in 1783.
In 1763 the British colonies of the North American mainland extended for sixteen hundred miles along the seaboard, from stormy Cape Breton Island to the humid Okefinokee swamps. At either extremity there was a military outpost. Nova Scotia, which had been captured by Britain in 1710, had been for fifty years a weak imperial base against the French in Cape Breton. Halifax was founded in 1749 as a counterpoise to Louisbourg, and 3000 colonists were sent out. In 1755 the French were expelled from the Acadian settlements on the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis river. Helped by immigrants from New England, the British numbers grew to 11,000 in 1766 and 20,000 in 1775. A representative assembly was granted to Nova Scotia in 1758. In 1769 Prince Edward Island (formerly Isle St Jean) was given a separate government, and its assembly first met in 1773. There were only a few settlers at St John (originally Parrtown) in 1784 when an influx of 3000 American Loyalists led to the erection of New Brunswick into a separate colony.