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Our Canadian Provinces

Vue panoramique des chutes du Niagara.

 LE CANADA

The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, with distinct trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies. Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first European arrivals and have been discovered through archaeological investigations. Various treaties and laws have been enacted between European settlers and the Aboriginal populations.

Beginning in the late 15th century French and British expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America to Britain in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the British Empire, which became official with the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and completed in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Over centuries, elements of Aboriginal, French, British and more recent immigrant customs have combined to form a Canadian culture. Canadian culture has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States. Since the conclusion of the Second World War, Canadians have supported multilateralism abroad and socioeconomic development domestically. Canada currently consists of ten provinces and three territories and is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

 

Provinces du Canada

Flag of Alberta.svg Alberta
Flag of British Columbia.svg British Columbia
Drapeau : Île-du-Prince-Édouard Prince Edward Islands
Flag of Manitoba.svg Manitoba
Drapeau : Nouveau-Brunswick New-Brunswick
Drapeau : Nouvelle-Écosse Nova Scotia
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario
Drapeau : Québec Quebec
Flag of Saskatchewan.svg Saskatchewan
Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.svg Newfoudland and Labrador

Territoires du Canada

Flag of Nunavut.svg Nunavut
Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Nothwest Territories
Flag of Yukon.svg Yukon

 Vue panoramique du Lac Louise en Alberta.
Lake Louise


Origin of the Name

In 1535, two Indian Youths told Jacques Cartier about the route to "kanata". They were referring to the village of Stadacona; "kanata" was simply the Huron-Iroquois word for "village" or "settlement." But for want of another name, Cartier used "Canada" to refer not only to Stadacona (the site of present day Quebec City), but also to the entire area subject to its chief, Donnacona. The name was soon applied to a much larger area: maps in 1547 designated everything north of the St. Lawrence River as "Canada."

Cartier also called the St. Lawrence River the "rivière de Canada", a name used until the early 1600s. By 1616, although the entire region was known as New France, the area along the great river of Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence was still called Canada.

Soon explorers and fur traders opened up territory to the west and to the south and the area depicted as "Canada" grew. In the early 1700s, the name referred to all lands in what is now the American Midwest and as far south as the present day Louisiana.

The first use of "Canada" as an official name came in 1791 when the Province of Quebec was divided into the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two Canadas were again united under one name, the Province of Canada. At the time of Confederation, the new country assumed the name of Canada 

History

According to the North American archeological and Aboriginal genetic evidence, North and South America were the last continents in the world to have human habitation. During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50,000 – 17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the Bering land bridge (Beringia) that joined Siberia to northwest North America (Alaska). At that point, they were blocked by the Laurentide ice sheet that covered most of Canada, confining them to Alaska for thousands of years.

Around 16,000 years ago, the glaciers began melting, allowing people to move south and east into Canada. The exact dates and routes of the peopling of the Americas are the subject of an ongoing debate. The Queen Charlotte Islands, Old Crow Flats, and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest archaeological sites of Paleo-Indians in Canada. Ice Age hunter-gatherers left lithic flake fluted stone tools and the remains of large butchered mammals.

The North American climate stabilized around 8000 BCE (10,000 years ago). Climatic conditions were similar to modern patterns; however, the receding glacial ice sheets still covered large portions of the land, creating lakes of meltwater. Most population groups during the Archaic periods were still highly mobile hunter-gatherers. However, individual groups started to focus on resources available to them locally; thus with the passage of time, there is a pattern of increasing regional generalization (i.e.: Paleo-Arctic, Plano and Maritime Archaic traditions).

The Woodland cultural period dates from about 2000 BCE to 1000 CE and includes the Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime regions. The introduction of pottery distinguishes the Woodland culture from the previous Archaic-stage inhabitants. The Laurentian-related people of Ontario manufactured the oldest pottery excavated to date in Canada.

The Hopewell tradition is an Aboriginal culture that flourished along American rivers from 300 BCE to 500 CE. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell Exchange System connected cultures and societies to the peoples on the Canadian shores of Lake Ontario. Canadian expression of the Hopewellian peoples encompasses the Point Peninsula, Saugeen, and Laurel complexes.

The eastern woodland areas of what became Canada were home to the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples. The Algonquian language is believed to have originated in the western plateau of Idaho or the plains of Montana and moved eastward,  eventually extending all the way from Hudson Bay to what is today Nova Scotia in the east and as far south as the Tidewater region of Virginia.

Pre-Columbian distribution of Algonquian languages in North America.

Speakers of eastern Algonquian languages included the Mi'kmaq and Abenaki of the Maritime region of Canada, and likely the extinct Beothuk of Newfoundland. The Ojibwa and other Anishinaab speakers of the central Algonquian languages retain an oral tradition of having moved to their lands around the western and central Great Lakes from the sea, likely the east coast. According to oral tradition, the Ojibwa formed the Council of Three Fires in 796 CE with the Odawa and the Potawatomi.

The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) were centred from at least 1000 CE in northern New York, but their influence extended into what is now southern Ontario and the Montreal area of modern Quebec. The Iroquois Confederacy, according to oral tradition, was formed in 1142 CE. On the Great Plains the Cree or Nēhilawē (who spoke a closely related Central Algonquian language, the plains Cree language) depended on the vast herds of bison to supply food and many of their other needs. To the northwest were the peoples of the Na-Dene languages, which include the Athapaskan-speaking peoples and the Tlingit, who lived on the islands of southern Alaska and northern British Columbia. The Na-Dene language group is believed to be linked to the Yeniseian languages of Siberia.The Dene of the western Arctic may represent a distinct wave of migration from Asia to North America.

Pre-Columbian distribution of Na-Dene languages in North America

The Interior of British Columbia was home to the Salishan language groups such as the Shuswap (Secwepemc) and Okanagan and southern Athabaskan language groups, primarily the Dakelh (Carrier) and the Tsilhqot'in. The inlets and valleys of the British Columbia Coast sheltered large, distinctive populations, such as the Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth, sustained by the region's abundant salmon and shellfish. These peoples developed complex cultures dependent on the western red cedar that included wooden houses, seagoing whaling and war canoes and elaborately carved potlatch items and totem poles.

In the Arctic archipelago, the distinctive Paleo-Eskimos known as Dorset peoples, whose culture has been traced back to around 500 BCE, were replaced by the ancestors of today's Inuit by 1500 CE.This transition is supported by archaeological records and Inuit mythology that tells of having driven off the Tuniit or 'first inhabitants'.Inuit traditional laws are anthropologically different from Western law. Customary law was non-existent in Inuit society before the introduction of the Canadian legal system.

European contact

L'Anse aux Meadows on the island of Newfoundland, site of a Norsemen colony.

There are reports of contact made before the 1492 voyages of Christopher Columbus and the age of discovery between First Nations, Inuit and those from other continents. The earliest known documented European exploration of Canada is described in the Icelandic Sagas, which recount the attempted Norse colonization of the Americas. According to the Sagas, the first European to see Canada was Bjarni Herjólfsson, who was blown off course en route from Iceland to Greenland in the summer of 985 or 986 CE. Around the year 1001 CE, the Sagas then refer to Leif Ericson's landing in three places to the west, the first two being Helluland (possibly Baffin Island) and Markland (possibly Labrador). Leif's third landing was at a place he called Vinland (possibly Newfoundland).Norsemen (often referred to as Vikings) attempted to colonize the new land; they were driven out by the local climate and harassment by the Indigenous populace. Archaeological evidence of a short-lived Norse settlement was found in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (carbon dating estimate 990 - 1050 CE).

Based on the Treaty of Tordesillas, the Portuguese Crown claimed it had territorial rights in the area visited by John Cabot in 1497 and 1498 CE. To that end, in 1499 and 1500, the Portuguese mariner João Fernandes Lavrador visited the north Atlantic coast, which accounts for the appearance of "Labrador" on topographical maps of the period. Subsequently, in 1501 and 1502 the Corte-Real brothers explored Newfoundland(Terra Nova) and Labrador claiming these lands as part of the Portuguese Empire. In 1506, King Manuel I of Portugal created taxes for the cod fisheries in Newfoundland waters. João Álvares Fagundes and Pêro de Barcelos established fishing outposts in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia around 1521 CE; however, these were later abandoned, with the Portuguese colonizers focusing their efforts on South America. The extent and nature of Portuguese activity on the Canadian mainland during the 16th century remains unclear and controversial.

New France and colonization 1534–1763

Replica of Port Royal habitation, located at the Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada, Nova Scotia.

French interest in the New World began with Francis I of France, who in 1524 sponsored Giovanni da Verrazzano to navigate the region between Florida and Newfoundland in hopes of finding a route to the Pacific Ocean. In 1534, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of Francis I. Despite initial French attempts at settling the region having ended in failure, French fishing fleets began to sail to the Atlantic coast and into the St. Lawrence River, trading and making alliances with First Nations. In 1600, a trading post was established at Tadoussac by François Gravé Du Pont, a merchant, and Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit, a captain of the French Royal Navy. However, only five of the sixteen settlers (all male) survived the first winter and returned to France.

In 1604, a North American fur trade monopoly was granted to Pierre Dugua Sieur de Monts. The fur trade became one of the main economic ventures in North America. Dugua led his first colonization expedition to an island located near the mouth of the St. Croix River. Among his lieutenants was a geographer named Samuel de Champlain, who promptly carried out a major exploration of the northeastern coastline of what is now the United States. In the spring of 1605, under Samuel de Champlain, the new St. Croix settlement was moved to Port Royal (today's Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia), then abandoned in 1607.

The Quebec Settlement : A.—The Warehouse. B.—Pigeon-loft. C.—Detached Buildings where we keep our arms and for Lodging our Workmen. D.—Another Detached Building for the Workmen. E.—Sun-dial. F.—Another Detached Building where is the Smithy and where the Workmen are Lodged. G.—Galleries all around the Lodgings. H.—The Sieur de Champlain's Lodgings. I.—The door of the Settlement with a Draw-bridge. L Promenade around the Settlement ten feet in width to the edge of the Moat. M.—Moat the whole way around the Settlement. O.—The Sieur de Champlain's Garden. P.—The Kitchen. Q.—Space in front of the Settlement on the Shore of the River. R.—The great River St. Lawrence.
Champlain's Quebec City habitation c. 1608

In 1608, Champlain founded what is now Quebec City, which would become the first permanent settlement and the capital of New France. He took personal administration over the city and its affairs, and sent out expeditions to explore the interior.  Champlain himself discovered Lake Champlain in 1609. By 1615, he had travelled by canoe up the Ottawa River through Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay to the centre of Huron country near Lake Simcoe. During these voyages, Champlain aided the Wendat (aka 'Hurons') in their battles against the Iroquois Confederacy. As a result, the Iroquois would become enemies of the French and be involved in multiple conflicts (known as the French and Iroquois Wars) until the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701.

The English, led by Humphrey Gilbert, had claimed St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1583 as the first North American English colony by royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I. In the reign of King James I, the English established additional colonies in Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland, and soon after established the first successful permanent settlements of Virginia to the south. On September 29, 1621, a charter for the foundation of a New World Scottish colony was granted by King James to Sir William Alexander. In 1622, the first settlers left Scotland. They initially failed and permanent Nova Scotian settlements were not firmly established until 1629 during the end of the Anglo-French War. These colonies did not last long: in 1631, under Charles I of England, the Treaty of Suza as signed, ending the war and returning Nova Scotia to the French. New France was not fully restored to French rule until the 1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This led to new French immigrants and the founding of Trois-Rivières in 1634, the second permanent settlement in New France.

Following the establishment of Quebec and then Trois-Rivières, coureurs des bois and voyageurs spread quickly through the many rivers and lakes to trade with local Aboriginals.

During this period, in contrast to the higher density and slower moving agricultural settlement development by the English inward from the east coast of the colonies, New France's interior frontier would eventually cover an immense area with a thin network centred on fur trade, conversion efforts by missionaries, establishing and claiming an empire, and military efforts to protect and further those efforts. The largest of these canoe networks covered much of present-day Canada and central present-day United States.

After Champlain’s death in 1635, the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuit establishment became the most dominant force in New France and hoped to establish a utopian European and Aboriginal Christian community. In 1642, the Sulpicians sponsored a group of settlers led by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who founded Ville-Marie, precursor to present-day Montreal.

Although immigration rates to New France were very low, most of the people were farmers, and the rate of population growth among the settlers themselves was very high. The women had about 30 per cent more children than comparable women who remained in France. Yves Landry says, "Canadians had an exceptional diet for their time. This was due to the natural abundance of meat, fish, and pure water; the good food conservation conditions during the winter; and an adequate wheat supply in most years. The 1666 census of New France was conducted by France's intendant, Jean Talon, in the winter of 1665–1666. The census showed a population count of 3,215 Acadians and habitants (French-Canadian farmers) in the administrative districts of Acadia and Canada. The census also revealed a great difference in the number of men at 2,034 versus 1,181 women.

Wars during the colonial era

Map of North America in 1702 showing forts, towns and areas occupied by European settlements. Britain (pink), France (blue), and Spain (orange)

By the early 1700s the New France settlers were well established along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River and parts of Nova Scotia, with a population around 16,000. However new arrivals stopped coming from France in the proceeding decades, resulting in the English and Scottish settlers in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the southern Thirteen Colonies to vastly outnumber the French population approximately ten to one by the 1750s. From 1670, through the Hudson's Bay Company, the English also laid claim to Hudson Bay and its drainage basin known as Rupert's Land establishing new trading posts and forts, while continued to operate fishing settlements in Newfoundland. French expansion along the Canadian canoe routes challenged the Hudson's Bay Company claims, and in 1686, Pierre Troyes led an overland expedition from Montreal to the shore of the bay, where they managed to capture a handful of outposts. La Salle's explorations gave France a claim to the Mississippi River Valley, where fur trappers and a few settlers set up scattered forts and settlements.

There were four French and Indian Wars and two additional wars in Acadia and Nova Scotia between the Thirteen American Colonies and New France from 1689 to 1763. During King William's War (1689 to 1697), military conflicts in Acadia included: Battle of Port Royal (1690); a naval battle in the Bay of Fundy (Action of July 14, 1696); and the Raid on Chignecto (1696) . The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 ended the war between the two colonial powers of England and France for a brief time.  During Queen Anne's War (1702 to 1713), the British Conquest of Acadia occurred in 1710, resulting in Nova Scotia, other than Cape Breton, being officially ceded to the British by the Treaty of Utrecht including Rupert's Land, which France had conquered in the late 17th century (Battle of Hudson's Bay). As an immediate result of this setback, France founded the powerful Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island.

St. John River Campaign: Raid on Grimrose (present day Gagetown, New Brunswick). This is the only contemporaneous image of the Expulsion of the Acadians

Louisbourg was intended to serve as a year-round military and naval base for France's remaining North American empire and to protect the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. Father Rale's War resulted in both the fall of New France influence in present-day Maine and the recognition the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia. During King George's War (1744 to 1748), an army of New Englanders led by William Pepperrell mounted an expedition of 90 vessels and 4,000 men against Louisbourg in 1745. Within three months the fortress surrendered. The return of Louisbourg to French control by the peace treaty prompted the British to found Halifax in 1749 under Edward Cornwallis. Despite the official cessation of war between the British and French empires with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle; the conflict in Acadia and Nova Scotia continued on as the Father Le Loutre's War.

The British ordered the Acadians expelled from their lands in 1755 during the French and Indian War, an event called the Expulsion of the Acadians or le Grand Dérangement. The "expulsion" resulted in approximately 12,000 Acadians being shipped to destinations throughout Britain's North American and to France, Quebec and the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue. The first wave of the expulsion of the Acadians began with the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) and the second wave began after the final Siege of Louisbourg (1758). Many of the Acadians settled in southern Louisiana, creating the Cajun culture there. Some Acadians managed to hide and others eventually returned to Nova Scotia, but they were far outnumbered by a new migration of New England Planters who were settled on the former lands of the Acadians and transformed Nova Scotia from a colony of occupation for the British to a settled colony with stronger ties to New England. Britain eventually gained control of Quebec City and Montreal after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and Battle of Fort Niagara in 1759, and the Battle of the Thousand Islands and Battle of Sainte-Foy in 1760

Canada under British rule (1763–1867)

Map showing British territorial gains following the "Seven Years' War". Treaty of Paris gains in pink, and Spanish territorial gains after the Treaty of Fontainebleau in yellow.

With the end of the Seven Years' War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763), France ceded almost all of its territory in mainland North America, except for fishing rights off Newfoundland and two small islands where it could dry that fish. In turn France received the return of its sugar colony, Guadeloupe, which it considered more valuable than Canada.

The new British rulers retained and protected most of the property, religious, political, and social culture of the French-speaking habitants, guaranteeing the right of the Canadiens to practice the Catholic faith and to the use of French civil law (now Quebec law) through the Quebec Act of 1774. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 had been issued in October, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory. The proclamation organized Great Britain's new North American empire and stabilized relations between the British Crown and Aboriginal peoples through regulation of trade, settlement, and land purchases on the western frontier.

American Revolution and the Loyalists

During the American Revolution, there was some sympathy for the American cause among the Acadians and the New Englanders in Nova Scotia. Neither party joined the rebels, although several hundred individuals joined the revolutionary cause. An invasion of Canada by the Continental Army in 1775, with a goal to take Quebec from British control, was halted at the Battle of Quebec by Guy Carleton, with the assistance of local militias. The defeat of the British army during the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781 signaled the end of Britain's struggle to suppress the American Revolution.

Map of the routes taken by Arnold and Montgomery attack expeditions to Quebec

When the British evacuated New York City in 1783, they took many Loyalist refugees to Nova Scotia, while other Loyalists went to southwestern Quebec. So many Loyalists arrived on the shores of the St. John River that a separate colony—New Brunswick—was created in 1784; followed in 1791 by the division of Quebec into the largely French-speaking Lower Canada (French Canada) along the St. Lawrence River and Gaspé Peninsula and an anglophone Loyalist Upper Canada, with its capital settled by 1796 in York, in present-day Toronto. After 1790 most of the new settlers were American farmers searching for new lands; although generally favorable to republicanism, they were relatively non-political and stayed neutral in the War of 1812.

The signing of the Treaty of Paris 1783 formally ended the war. Britain made several concessions to the Americans at the expense of the North American colonies. Notably, the borders between Canada and the United States were officially demarcated; all land south of the Great Lakes, which was formerly a part of the Province of Quebec and included modern day Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, was ceded to the Americans. Fishing rights were also granted to the United States in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the coast of Newfoundland and the Grand Banks. The British ignored part of the treaty and maintained their military outposts in the Great Lakes areas it had ceded to the U.S., and they continued to supply their native allies with munitions. The British evacuated the outposts with the Jay Treaty of 1795, but the continued supply of munitions irritated the Americans in the run-up to the War of 1812.

Lower emphasizes the positive benefits of the Revolution for Americans, making them an energetic people, while for English Canada the results were negative:

"[English Canada] inherited, not the benefits, but the bitterness of the Revolution. It got no shining scriptures out of it. It got little release of energy and no new horizons of the spirit were opened up. It had been a calamity, pure


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