This Week in History
"The Small Under the Protection of the Great"
For the week of Monday July 19, 1999
On July 23, 1767, the British government divided the land of the Prince Edward Island among a select few men as payment for outstanding debts by the government of Great Britain. The result was many years of frustration for tenant farmers who worked on the land.
These new landowners were responsible for recruiting colonists to settle in their townships. However, there was never a real campaign to encourage colonists to move there. As a result, only a handful of tenant farmers lived on the island. Those who did, suffered from the neglect of the absentee landlords. Because of this and high rents, the tenants held strikes, riots and other displays of protest. Unfortunately, these actions rarely helped to improve their situation because most of the landlords had never even visited their own townships.
The historical importance of the Land Tenure Question in Prince Edward Island has been recognized by the federal government; it is commemorated at Charlottetown by a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque.
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