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The city is the seat of government for Northumberland County and a major service centre for the northern half of New Brunswick. The Miramichi River valley is home to the largest concentration of Irish in Atlantic Canada, second only to Cape Breton Island. Miramichi was founded by Scottish settlers in 1785, when they made their way up river on foot along with several hundred Loyalists who had left Boston after that city's occupation by American forces at the end of March 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The town was named "Inverness" after Inverness in Scotland; many Scotsmen were among those who first colonized Nova Scotia before settling here (see also List Of First Nations People). It became a police village in 1866 and took on its present name as part of reorganization into municipalities called Local Service Districts (LSDs) under New Brunswick provincial legislation passed during 1964-65.