|County||Shire Town||Created||Created From|
|Halifax||Halifax||1759||one of five original counties|
|Lunenburg||Bridgewater||1759||one of five original counties|
|Annapolis||Annapolis Royal||1759||one of five original counties|
|Kings 2||Kentville||1759||one of five original counties|
|Cumberland 4||Amherst||1759||one of five original counties|
|Antigonish [Sydney] 6||Antigonish||1863||Halifax|
|Inverness7||Port Hood||1835||Cape Breton|
|Cape Breton8||Sydney||1765||all of Cape Breton Island|
|Guysborough [Sydney] 9||Guysborough||1836||Sydney|
1 Originally included Townships of Liverpool, Barrington, Yarmouth and their environs.
2 After 1785, included Parrsborough Township and environs along the north shore of Minas Basin. In 1840 the township was divided; the western portion (Parrsboro, Advocate, etc.) went to Cumberland County and the eastern (Five Islands, Economy, etc.) to Colchester.
3 Administered as the District of Colchester (within Halifax County), 1780-1835; prior to 1780, was referred to as Cobequid District.
4 In 1759, included all lands in the province of Nova Scotia north of Kings County, i.e. extended beyond the Isthmus of Chignecto, into modern-day New Brunswick; Sunbury County was created in 1765 to better administer land north of the Isthmus; and in 1784 all of New Brunswick was set off as a separate province.
5 Set off from the District of Colchester, 1792, and administered as the District of Pictou (within Halifax County) until 1835.
6 Sydney County was created in 1784 to administer the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia (now Antigonish and Guysborough Counties). During the years 1824-36, Sydney County was divided into defined upper and lower districts; the Lower District of Sydney became Guysborough County in 1836; the Upper District reverted to the original name (Sydney County), which was changed to Antigonish County in 1863.
7 Created as the County of Juste-au-Corps in 1835; name was changed to Inverness, 1837.
8 Cape Breton Island was annexed to mainland Nova Scotia in 1763. The entire island was set apart as a separate county in 1765; existed as a separate province, 1784-1820; and was then re-annexed to Nova Scotia proper.
9 Originally included within Sydney County; administered 1824-36 as the Lower District of Sydney County.
For additional information, researchers should consult:
Charles Bruce Fergusson, The Boundaries of Nova Scotia and Its Counties (Halifax: Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Bulletin No. 22; 1966). Nova Scotia Archives Library, F 90 N85 Ar2b no.22
Places-Names and Places of Nova Scotia with an Introduction by Charles Bruce Fergusson, (Halifax: Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Series; 1967)