Campobello Island

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Campobello Island
Lighthouse on Campobello Island.jpg
Head Harbour Light Station, Passamaquoddy Bay
Campobello Island is located in New Brunswick
Campobello Island
Campobello Island
Campobello Island in New Brunswick
LocationNew Brunswick, Canada
Coordinates44°53′N 66°56′W / 44.883°N 66.933°W / 44.883; -66.933Coordinates: 44°53′N 66°56′W / 44.883°N 66.933°W / 44.883; -66.933
Area39.67 km2 (15.32 sq mi)[1]
ProvinceNew Brunswick
CountyCharlotte County
Population872[1] (2016)
Pop. density22/km2 (57/sq mi)

Campobello Island (/ˌkæmpəˈbɛl/,[2][3] also US: /-pˈ-/)[4] is an island located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, adjacent to the entrance to Cobscook Bay, and within the Bay of Fundy. The island is one of the Fundy Islands and is part of Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada.[5] Campobello Island is also the name of a rural community including the entire Parish of Campobello. The island's permanent population in 2016 was 872.[1]


Captain William Owen.

The island was originally settled by the Passamaquoddy Nation, who called it Ebaghuit.

French exploration[edit]

The first Europeans were reportedly from the French expedition of Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain, who founded the short-lived nearby Saint Croix Island settlement in 1604. France named the island Port aux Coquilles ("Seashell Harbour").

Following the War of the Spanish Succession, under terms of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), the island came under British control and was placed in the colony of Nova Scotia, having ceased to be included in the French colony of Acadia.

British settlement[edit]

Campobello fisherman in 1973

In 1770, a grant of the island was made to Captain William Owen of the Royal Navy, who renamed it Campobello. The island's name was derived from Britain's Governor of Nova Scotia, Lord William Campbell, by hispanicizing the name Campbell—of Scottish Gaelic origin, meaning "crooked mouth"—alluding to campo bello, Italian for "beautiful field" and Spanish for "beautiful country".

The creation of the colony of New Brunswick in 1784 saw the island transferred to the new jurisdiction, and by the end of the 18th century the small island had a thriving community and economy, partly aided by Loyalist refugees fleeing the American Revolutionary War.

Smuggling was a major part of the island's prosperity after the Revolution, a custom to which local officials largely turned a blind eye. During the War of 1812 the Royal Navy seized coastal lands of Maine as far south as the Penobscot River but returned them following the war, except for offshore islands.

In 1817, the United States relinquished its claim to the Fundy Isles (Campobello, Deer Island, and Grand Manan), and the British returned islands in Cobscook Bay including Moose Island but notably did not return Machias Seal Island.

By the mid-19th century, Campobello Island had a population in excess of 1,000, which grew to 1,230 in 1910.

Fenian raid[edit]

In 1866, a band of more than 700 members of the Fenian Brotherhood arrived at the Maine shore opposite the island with the intention of seizing Campobello from the British.[6] British warships from Halifax, Nova Scotia, were quickly on the scene and a military force dispersed the Fenians.[7] This action served to reinforce the idea of protection for New Brunswick by joining the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, Canada East, and Canada West to form the Dominion of Canada.

Franklin D. Roosevelt[edit]

Franklin D. Roosevelt on Campobello, 1933

Campobello has always relied heavily on fishing as the mainstay of its economy. However, the Passamaquoddy Bay region's potential for tourism was discovered during the 1880s, at about the same time The Algonquin Resort was built in nearby St. Andrews and the resort community of Bar Harbor was being developed. Campobello Island became home to a similar, although much smaller and more exclusive, development following the acquisition of some island properties by several private American investors. A luxurious resort hotel was built and the island became a popular summer colony for wealthy Canadians and Americans, many of whom built grand estates there.[8]

Among those with estates were Sara Ann Delano and her husband James Roosevelt Sr. from New York City. Sara Delano had a number of Delano cousins living in Maine, and Campobello offered a beautiful summer retreat where their family members could easily visit. From 1883 onward, the Roosevelt family made Campobello Island their summer home.

Their son, Franklin D. Roosevelt, would spend his summers on Campobello from the age of one until, as an adult, he acquired a larger property — a 34-room "cottage" – which he used as a summer retreat until 1939. It was at Campobello, in August 1921, that the future president fell ill and was diagnosed with polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. Roosevelt did strive to regain use of his legs but never again stood or walked unassisted.[9][10]:236 His visits were mostly as a child, only staying overnight once while president.[11] Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., the fifth of six children born to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, was born on the island in August 1914.


The island has no road connection to the rest of Canada; it is connected by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge to nearby Lubec, Maine. Reaching mainland Canada by car without crossing an international border is possible only during the summer season and requires two separate ferry trips, first to nearby Deer Island, then to L'Etete.[12] The ferry to Deer Island stopped in 2017, leaving the island without a direct connection to the rest of Canada.[13]

Measuring 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long and about five kilometres (3.1 mi) wide, it has an area of 39.6 square kilometres (15.3 sq mi). On the north is a high bluff headland, East Quoddy Point.[14] On the west are Charley Point and the Mulholland Point navigation light.[14]


The island has several good harbours,[15] and the majority of residents are employed in the fishing, aquaculture or tourism industries. The two major tourist attractions on the island are Herring Cove Provincial Park and Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The latter was created in 1964 and was officially opened by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1966.


The island's only highway, Route 774, is connected by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge to Lubec, Maine – the easternmost town in the continental United States. The only transportation link with the rest of Canada is a seasonal ferry service to Deer Island Point, New Brunswick, on Deer Island.[16]

Mail delivered to the community goes through the United States. The U.S. began searching packages to/from the island in 2019, prompting outcry from residents.[17][18]


The island has one school, Campobello Island Consolidated School, for all school grades, in the Anglophone South School District.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Campobello Island". Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Campobello Island". Lexico UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Campobello". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Campobello". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  5. ^ Community Profile: Campobello Parish, Charlotte County, New Brunswick; Statistics Canada.
  6. ^ Jennifer Crump (26 July 2010). Canada Under Attack. Dundurn. p. 133. ISBN 9781459704879.
  7. ^ Buescher, John. "What Happened to the Fenians After 1866?", accessed 8 October 2011
  8. ^ Erika J. Waters (2010). Kittery to Bar Harbor: Touring Coastal Maine. Arcadia Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 9780738572819.
  9. ^ "F. D. Roosevelt Ill of Poliomyelitis". The New York Times. September 16, 1921. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  10. ^ Ward, Geoffrey C.; Burns, Ken (2014). The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 9780307700230.
  11. ^ "Chapter 1: Eastern Maine". United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border. The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Winter 2015.
  12. ^ Paul Karr (18 March 2005). Frommer'sMaine Coast. John Wiley & Sons. p. 248. ISBN 9780764595974.
  13. ^ O'Connor, Joe (23 January 2018). "The island Canada forgot: On Campobello, citizens are left exiles in their own land". Financial Post. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  14. ^ a b U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (1879). Atlantic Local Coast Pilot: Sub-division 1: Passamaquoddy Bay to Schoodic. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 15.
  15. ^ Richardson Clover (1891). Sailing Directions for Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy, and South Shore of Gulf of St. Lawrence. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 29.
  16. ^ David Goss (2002). St. George and Its Neighbours. Arcadia Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 9780738511498.
  17. ^ "Canadian islanders angry over US mail searches". BBC. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  18. ^ "On quiet Campobello Island, Canadians angered by US inspection of their mail". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2020-01-20.

External links[edit]