The site was visited (1604) by Champlain, and a fort and trading post was built (1631–35) by Charles de la Tour. In the struggle between France and England for possession of Acadia, the fort was captured and recaptured several times, finally becoming British in 1758. Growth of the city dates from 1783, when a large party of Loyalists from the United States established themselves there on land grants. The settlement was called Parr Town and in 1785 was incorporated with Carleton and named St. John, becoming the first incorporated city in Canada. Benedict Arnold lived and conducted a business there from 1786 to 1791.
Much of the old, largely wood city was destroyed by fire in 1877, and quickly rebuilt in brick and stone. Among notable features in St. John are Market Slip (1783), the old Loyalist Burying Ground (1783, a park), Martello Tower (1812), the Loyalist House (1817), the old court house (1830), the Roman Catholic cathedral and bishop's residence (1853), the New Brunswick Museum, and the Reversing Falls rapids on the St. John River. A branch of the Univ. of New Brunswick is in the city.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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