Inverness, NS, Community, population 1387 (2011c), 1464 (2006c). The community of Inverness is located 150 km west of Sydney on CAPE BRETON ISLAND. Inverness was settled in 1803 by Scottish immigrants who landed at Pictou, NS, and later drifted east to Cape Breton I in search of unoccupied farmland. During the 1800s it grew as an agricultural settlement. After the discovery of coal in 1863, Inverness came to depend more and more on mining. American industrialist William Penn Hussey formed the Broad Cove Coal Co in 1894 and put his expertise into developing the Inverness mines. The mines were sold to Inverness Ry and Coal Co in 1899, and the town prospered. It was named Inverness in 1904 (pop 3000) for the Scottish home of many of its settlers.
The mines reached peak production just after 1910, with an average annual output of almost 300 000 t, but decreasing demand, rising costs and hazardous underground problems drove the company into receivership by 1915. The NS government attempted to revive the dying industry, which finally ceased operations in the 1950s; mining was completely abandoned by 1965. Today, Inverness serves as a minor regional centre for rural western Cape Breton I.