Halifax, formally the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The metropolitan area had a population of 390,096 in 2011 with 297,943 in the urban area. Formed by the 1996 amalgamation of Halifax County, the municipality is divided into 18 community planning areas, which are, in turn, divided into over 200 named communities and neighbourhoods, such as the former cities of Dartmouth and Halifax proper.
Halifax is considered a global city and is a major economic centre in eastern Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality. Halifax was ranked by MoneySense magazine as the fourth best place to live in Canada for 2012, placed first on a list of "large cities by quality of life" and placed second in a list of "large cities of the future", both conducted by fDi Magazine for North and South American cities.
The first permanent European settlement in the region was on the Halifax Peninsula. The establishment of the Town of Halifax, named after the British Earl of Halifax, in 1749 led to the colonial capital being transferred from Annapolis Royal.
The establishment of Halifax marked the beginning of Father Le Loutre's War. The war began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports and a sloop of war on June 21, 1749. By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War. Cornwallis brought along 1,176 settlers and their families. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian, and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (Citadel Hill) (1749), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1749), Dartmouth (1750), and Lawrencetown (1754), all areas within the modern-day Regional Municipality. St. Margaret's Bay was first settled by French-speaking Foreign Protestants at French Village, Nova Scotia who migrated from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia during the American Revolution.
December 1917 saw one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history, when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with the Belgian Relief vessel SS Imo in "The Narrows" between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion, the Halifax Explosion, devastated the Richmond District of Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others. The blast was the largest artificial explosion before the development of nuclear weapons.
In 1996 the provincial government amalgamated all municipal governments within Halifax County to create the Halifax Regional Municipality, a regional municipality comprising approximately 200 individual identified communities. The municipal boundary thus now includes all of Halifax County except for several First Nation reserves.
Since amalgamation, the region has officially been known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), although "Halifax" has remained in common usage for brevity. On April 15, 2014, the HRM regional council approved the implementation of a new branding campaign for the region developed by the local firm Revolve Marketing. In particular, the campaign would see the region referred to in promotional materials as simply "Halifax" — although "Halifax Regional Municipality" would remain the region's official name. The proposed rebranding was met with mixed reaction from residents, some of whom felt that the change would alienate other communities in the municipality through a perception that the marketing scheme would focus on Metropolitan Halifax only, while others expressed relief that the longer formal name would no longer be primary. Mayor Mike Savage defended the decision, saying that "I'm a Westphal guy, I'm a Dartmouth man, but Halifax is my city, we’re all part of Halifax. Why does that matter? Because when I go and travel on behalf of this municipality, there isn’t a person out there who really cares what HRM means."