New Brunswick is bounded on the north by Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula and Chaleur Bay and on the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and Northumberland Strait. To the south, the narrow Isthmus of Chignecto connects it to peninsular Nova Scotia, most of which is separated from the mainland by the Bay of Fundy. On its west, the province borders the American state of Maine. The boundary with the U.S. was settled during the "Aroostook War" of 1838-39, largely through the efforts of businessman and political activist John Baker. New Brunswick is one of two provinces (the other being Alberta) to border a single U.S. state.
The total land and water area of the province is approximately 70,000 square kilometres. About 80% of the province is forested, with the other 20% consisting of agricultural land and urban areas. The major urban centres lie in the south of the province. The bulk of the arable land is found in the Upper St. John River Valley, with lesser amounts of farmland found in the southeast of the province.
While New Brunswick is one of Canada's Maritime Provinces, it differs from its neighbours both ethnoculturally and physiographically. Both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are either wholly or nearly surrounded by water and the ocean therefore tends to define their climate, economy and culture. New Brunswick on the other hand, although having a significant seacoast, is sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean proper and has a large interior which is removed from oceanic effects. New Brunswick therefore tends to be defined by its rivers rather than its seacoast.
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