The coast of Cape Breton Island is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Northumberland Strait. Its land mass encloses the Bras d'Or, an inland sea with perhaps the least polluted salt water in the world. The island was claimed for England by John Cabot in 1497. The early settlers, predominately from the Highlands of Scotland, were reminded of their homeland by the rugged hills near Baddeck. The island's topography is characterized by massive rolling hills, picturesque valleys and craggy coasts. Gaelic was the language spoken then and it is still quite common today in the central part of the island. In the 18th century, the French dominated this area and Acadian French is the first language in many villages today. They gave the name of Cape Breton to this desolate headland that juts far out into the Atlantic Ocean.