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Transcript of Canadian History
The Europeans Arrive
-founder of the new world
-most likely landed in
Newfounland in A.D. 1000.
-Ericsson's crew were eventually
driven away by the Aboriginal
Europeans in the 1400's were interested in travel
because of wars, overcrowding, curiosity, and the
hope to find gold or riches.
Before this time, no one really knew
if there was anything west across the Atlantic.
Most explorers were heading west to
reach China. In 1497, an explorer named John Cabot
set sail in search of a quick route to Asia to find
Cabot's ship, the Matthew, set sail from England in early
May 1497 and landed in what he thought was China
in June 1497. In fact, it was North America, probably
the coast of Newfoundland.
Cabot returned to England and told stories
of the abundance of fish (cod). Spanish explorers
were discovering many riches (gold, silver, jewels)
in South America in the early 1500's.
It seemed logical to expect the same in North America.
Jacques Cartier Arrives
In 1534, the king of France sent
Jacques Cartier across the Atlantic
is search of a route to Asia and gold.
Cartier reached Newfoundland and explored the
Gulf of St. Lawrence. Cartier claimed this land
for France. He met a group of Iroquois and became
friends with the chief, Donnaconna.
Cartier made three voyages to the St. Lawrence. After his first
voyage, he took Donnaconna's two sons back with him. When he returned,
the two sons showed Cartier the St. Lawrence and took him, against Donnaconna's
wishes, to their village Stadacona (Quebec City) and as far as Hochelaga (Montreal).
Cartier's third voyage to the "New World" was not very successful.
He had lost the trust of the Iroquois, he kidnapped Donnaconna and a few other
Iroquois after his second voyage and did not return them, and he loaded his
boat with what he thought were diamonds and brought them back to France.
They turned out to be quartz. Cartier failed to find a passage to Asia and failed to find
riches. He never again explored for France.
By the 1600's, Europeans discovered that North America did have
riches - a vast amount of furs. Fishermen who came to the coast found
they could trade everyday items (kettles, knives, and other metal goods)
In 1605, a group of French Fur traders built
Port-Royal, a small cluster of wooden buildings in
what is now Nova Scotia.
Among this group was a young cartographer
named Samuel De Champlain. He had explored the
St. Lawrence and used his map-making skills
to provide accurate details of coasts and waterways.
In 1608, Champlain was sent to the St.
Lawrence River to start a fur-trading post there.
As a leader, Champlain was to govern the settlement
as well as run the fur trade.
The Fur-Trade Monopoly
The King of France wanted a colony in
North America to bring him wealth and glory.
This was the beginning of New France.
Champlain called his new trading post Quebec.
He traded with the Algonquin and Montagnais people.
He also fought wars with them against the Iroquois
using his arquebus(a type of rifle) in order to keep their friendship.
Not only were there wars with the Iroquois,
many French were always threatened by the British.
Both countries were long-standing enemies.
The French were desperately trying to establish New France and make the colony profitable. They sent Jesuit Priests to teach Christianity to the First Nations peoples.
In order to populate New France, the king of France Louis XIV, gave large blocks of land to men called "seigneurs" who kept most of it for themselves and leased the rest to farmers called "habitants".
Also, because most of the population of
New France was male, the king sent hundreds of
women to marry the men. These women were called
" filles du roi" (daughter of the king).
At this time, the Iroquois traded with the Dutch
to get guns and were attacking Huron settlements
to steal pelts. They set fire to Huron villages. They
then turned their force on the French, determined to
drive them from the continent.
King Louis XIV sent soldiers to help
settlers fight the Iroquois. A peace treaty was
signed in 1667.
At this time, Canada was rich in fur-bearing animals and
the First Nations peoples were keen to trade pelts for
supplies. Beaver fur made especially good hats and
were in high demand in Europe.
The fur trade was highly regulated. Until 1663,
the Company of the Hundred Associates, controlled
New France in the name of the King. Only agents
licensed by company could legally trade with the First
The Coureurs des Bois (runners of the woods)
were traders who left the colony to trade directly
with the trappers and hunters. They struggled
to survive the harsh elements. They brought many
pelts back to France. They were operating illegally
and had to be careful.
Government Under the King
As a royal colony, New France was ruled by
a Governor. He was the top official in New
France. He was the symbol of the king and was
responsible for seeing that the king's orders were
carried out. The most famous governor of New France
was Louis de Buade. He held the position from
1672 until his death in 1698.
New France was a hierarchical society
The intendant did the day-to-day work of
the government. He was responsible for finance
and justice and seeing that the rules
and laws of the council were obeyed. The Governor
was usually of noble birth, and the intendant was usually
Jean Talon was the intendant of France's northern territories, including New France, Acadia, and Newfoundland.
Some of Talon's achievements:
- carried out a survey to find out what resources New France could supply besides fur.
- he organized the building of sawmills, shipbuilding docks, the fishery, and a brewery.
Talon's efforts increased New France's wealth. Unfortunately, hard times were ahead as King Louis XIV was involved in a series of expensive wars with England and the Netherlands. He did not want to invest money in New France, so industries declined, agriculture slowed down, and trade with the Caribbean failed. Talon's efforts did not produce the efforts they could have.
King Louis XIV
When Champlain explored the region, he sent glowing reports to France about the economic future of New France. He believed that the colony had an excellent chance of making France rich. At this time, all European nations regarded their colonies as children. At that time, the child's role was to help the parent. New France was supposed to supply its parent with inexpensive raw materials, while buying manufactured goods in return. This system was known as mercantilism.
New France was only to trade with its parent and other colonies in the French Empire. This trade pattern was called Triangular Trade.
New France did not make France rich as Champlain thought it might.
- Louis XIV did not invest much money.
- the population remained small compared to the British colonies in New England.
- the climate was harsher in New France than New England.
In the 1740's, the British were in a strong position in North America.
From 1607 onward, the British founded and maintained the Thirteen Colonies, later called New England.
From its founding in 1670, the Hudson Bay Company maintained a fur trade for Britain to the north and west of New France.
From the 1660's onward, the British defeated the Dutch and maintained a fur empire south of the St. Lawrence.
In 1713, the French signed a treaty confirming the British possession of Acadia.
All this meant that the British could cut off supplies to New France whenever they wished. This made New France very insecure.
In order to compete with - and later resist - the British, New France needed support from the First Nations peoples. They worked very closely in the fur trade. The French traders learned to use snowshoes, canoes and built systems for transporting furs.
This cooperation between Montreal traders and First Nations led to the founding of the North West Company which built a chain of trading posts along river systems. The rivalries between the North West Company and British Hudson's Bay Company was fierce.
The Great Peace of Montreal, 1701
As New France became more developed, the relations between the French and First Nations improved. A treaty called The Great Peace of Montreal was signed by both groups (which included the Iroquois, who had been enemies of new France) and meant they both would not help the British.
England and France were almost constantly at war and by the early 1700's were locked in a struggle for North America. The Big battles were mostly fought by British and French troops, but the settlers played an important part. The Canadiens, french settlers, learned to fight the Iroquois way. But the English won many of the big battles.
The War of Spanish Succession (1702 - 1713) and the loss of Acadia.
During this war, European countries fought to prevent France from taking over Spain and its colonies.
Britain gained control of Acadia and the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. These island grew sugar (a very valuable item in Europe), so France wanted to keep them. In order to do so, France decided to give up Acadia to the British.
How did the British achieve this strong position?
The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713
This treaty declared Acadia a British colony.
The island now known as Cape Breton was retained by the French. They called it Ile Royale.
The French were now completely surrounded by the British. They spent most of their energy resiting the British presence. On Cape Breton Island, they built the Louisbourg fortress to prevent the British from sailing up the St. Lawrence and attacking New France. It wasn't very effective as the area was often fogged in and the French could not get their ships out in bad weather. New France was feeling less and less secure.
The Expulsion of the Acadians
Britain paid little attention to Acadia. Their only worry was to know that the Acadians would not revolt against them. The British tried to get the Acadians to sign an oath of allegiance to Britain. The British king was an English Protestant and wanted the Roman Catholic Acadians to covert. The Acadians refused.
Between 1755 and 1760, about 10,000 Acadians were expelled from the region. Some went to the french colony of Louisiana. (Cajun - Acadian)
The Seven Year's War (1756-1763) and the end of New France.
Although there were many battles during this war, the battle that decided the fate of North America lasted barely 15 minutes.
The British were led by general James Wolfe. He was sent to capture Quebec.
The French commander was the Marquis Louis Joseph de Montcalm. He was to protect the walled city of Quebec.
The British had already captured and destroyed Louisbourg. Wolfe had been trying to take the strongly defended walled city of Quebec for weeks.
On the night of Sept. 12, 1759, the British crept up the Plains of Abraham in a sneak attack. The "Thin Red Line" was a complete surprise to the French. The Canadiens were not trained to fight such formal battles. Both Wolfe and Montcalm died in the battle.
The next year the French surrendered after the British captured Montreal. By the Treaty of Paris 1763, which formally ended the Seven Year's War, France lost all its North American possessions. The treaty allowed the French to keep their Roman Catholic religion.
New France was at an end.
Although the colony of New France did not last, it had an impact in two significant ways.
1. The First Nations way of life was considerably changed. They were introduced to religion, in some ways assimilated, participated in foreign wars, and lost land that was once theirs.
2. Introduction to French culture in North America. Today the majority of Quebec's population is French-speaking and Roman Catholic.
British North America
How were the British Going to manage the French and First Nations Peoples? The British had defeated the French, but theybhadbto make peace with the First Nations and decide hownto manage the French (65,000settlers and 5000 soldiers).
The First Nations, led by Chief Pontiac,
attacked the British at Fort Detroit. The
First Nations wanted to send a message
that they were not going to be British slaves.
The British realized they had to make
peace with the First Nations Peoples. This would
make Quebec secure. King George the III issued the
Royal Proclamation of 1763.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 related
to all of Britain's colonies in North America.
Some of the key points were:
- Britian now controlled all France's territories
(including New France and Acadia)
-Quebec's boundaries were confined to the region
of the St. Lawrence River.
- English civil law replaced the French civil law.
This abolished the seigneurial system, a key
piece to the Canadiens' society.
-The rest of New France was to be First Nations
land and any Canadiens living on this land had to
-Only the crown could buy land in First Nations
territory. Fur trade in the First Nations territory
required a license from the crown.
It would seem that the First Nations were
successfull sending a message to the British
and their future was secure.
The Thirteen Colonies
The British also had 13 American
colonies along the east coast. Although
they had different climates, different
physical features, and different religions,
they all felt they were becoming a strong
The British spent more than 82 million pounds
to defeat the French in the Seven Years' War.
That equates to $5 billion today. Since this victory
made the Thirteen Colonies more secure the
British felt the colonies should help pay for the war's cost.
The British imposed special taxes on the colonies.
This did not go over well. Each colony had its own legislature
and elected representatives. They believed they were
independent and Britain did not have the authority to impose such
The Boston Tea Party
The colonists began to resist the taxes. in 1770, five
people were killed when British troops fired on a crowd
protesting taxes. in 1773, tebels disguised as First Nations
boarded a ship in the Boston harbour and threw chests of tea
into the sea. This event is known as the Boston Tea Party.
Many of the thirteen colonies were ready to fight the British.
The Quebec Act, 1774
The British needed to stop the Thirteen Colonies from
spreading west and become stronger. Also, the Canadiens did
not like the Royal Proclamtion of 1763 because it took too much
away from them. The British felt there was a threat the Canadiens
would rebel, so they replaced the Royal Proclamation with the
Quebec Act, 1774.
Key points from the Quebec
-enlarge the territory of Quebec
- allowed Roman Catholics to
participate in government
- replaced English civil law witn
French civil law. The seigneurial
system was legal again.
Cleary the Quebecois loved this and
the British Thirteen Colonies did not.
The First Nations were not keen on the
idea of the French entering their territory,
but regarded the Quebecois less threatening
than the British Thirteen Colonists. If the colonists
and Britian were to engage in war, the First Nations
would take Britain's side.
The American colonies were tired of taking
orders from the British. In the summer of 1776,
representatives from the Thirteen Colonies held a
meeting in Philadelphia. On July 4, 1776, they declared
that the United States of America was an independent
nation. The War of Independence broke out. It
would last until 1783.
The Americans tried to bet the Quebecois to join them, but
the Quebec Act solved all their problems. They did not join the
Americans and defended the cities of Quebec and Montreal from American
attacks led by American generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold.
Newfounland and Nova Scotia stayed loyal to Britian.
Not everyone in the Thirteen Colonies supported
the war against Britian. American society was divided.
Independence supporters were called the Patriots.
People who supported the British were called Loyalists.
By 1783, the Americans had defeated the British.
Now the two sides had to find a way to live in peace.
Negotiations began and the United States had a hard
negotiator, ambassador Benjamin Franklin. He
finally made the British recognize the United States
as an independent nation. Both sides signed the second
Treaty of Paris in 1783. (remember, the first Treaty
of Paris in 1763 gave New France to Britain)
Britain now recognized American independence.
The Loyalists, who were sometimes punished by
Patriots, coild no longer be prosecuted.
Many Loyalists left for Britian, but well over
40,000 fled to northern British North America colonies.
The Loyalist migrations concentrated on three locations.
One went to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. A second
went to Quebec. A third group went the western part of
Quebec which is what we now call Ontario.
Western Quebec (Ontario) was settled by many of the
families of people who had fought for the British in the
war. Colonel John Butler was one of them. He founded
the town of Newark ( now called Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Because the Loyalists were from British colonies,
they had different traditions from the seigneurs and
habitants in the St. Lawrence valley. The Loyalists
regarded themselves as heroes. They had given up
their homeland because of their attachment to the crown.
They demanded a change and the British listened.
The Constitutional Act of 1791
The British were careful not to give the Loyalists too much
as it could upset the First Nations and Canadiens and reduce
both groups support for them.
-Quebec would be divided into two parts, Lower Canada (french)
and Upper Canada (english).
- their would be a lieutenant-governor for each Canada.
-Landholders in Lower Canada could hold land under the
seigneurial system (leased from the crown) or freehold system
(private ownership). In Upper Canada, all land would be
under the freehold system.
- existing First Nations land were not available for settlers
to move into.
-There was to legislative assembly (represntative government)
to pass laws. Voters chose their representatives in elections.
The Constitutional Act was a success. It kept both sides happy
and Lower and Upper Canada entered a period of rapid
The War of 1812
In 1799, Britain and France went to war. The French
ruler, Napolean Bonaparte was tryng to challenge Britain's
power in the world. The struggles between the two nations
are called the Napoleonic Wars.
France had suffered a great defeat in the Seven Years' War
(1756-1763) when it lost New France to Britain. France had its
revenge when it assisted theAmerican colonies defeat the
British and gain their independence in 1783. But now Napolean
wanted to make France the number one power in the world
France and Britain tried to weaken each other by
disrupting trade. This had a negative effect on the
young United States. Britain's Royal Navy had set
up a blockade to prevent ships from taking supplies
to France. The British also stopped and searched
American merchant ships at sea. If they found British
deserters on board, they could force them to work
on British warships. They captured American
seamen which went against American sovereignty. The Americans
protested loudly, but the British ignored them.
The Treaty of Paris, 1783, had given the Ohio
Valley to the United States. But it also required
the Americans to respect treaties already signed with
First Nations. When American settlers began to move
into the region in large numbers, the First Nations were
upset the treaties were being ignored. They appealed
to the British for assistance. The British feared that if
they did nothing, the Americans would become bolder.
They might even start to advance into Upper Canada.
Many Americans were spreading propaganda saying
that American troops should invade Upper and Lower
Canada to protect the United States. They were also saying
that American troops would be welcomed there because
British North Americans were unhappy under the monarchy
and would welcome being freed by the Americans. Thomas
Jefferson, a retired president of the United States, sais that capturing
British North America was "a mere matter of marching."
In June 1812, the United States declared war on Britain.
The Americans soon found out they were very unwelcome.
As they struggled through the forests they were ambushed
by First Nations soldiers. Many First Nations, including Tecumseh
and his followers, fought for the British, as did militiamen from
both Upper and Lower Canada. The militiamen were mostly
regiments of settlers who could be called to defend in an
emergency. But the core of the army were British soldiers. The American
army had superior numbers, and Britain had massive territory to
defend. This is why the militiamen were necessary.
The war was fough in many battles.
In Upper Canada, the troops were led by General
Isaac Brock. Brock won three victories early in the war
at Fort Michilimackinac, Detroit, and Queenston Heights. The battle
at Queenston Heights isnone of the most famous battles
of the war. This battle was fought not far from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Americans were trying to invade Upper Canada and Brock
captured the high groundnand rushed to the attack pushing the
American force back. As Brock led the attack, a sniper struck him, killing
him instantly, but his attack slowed the Americans just enough to
allow other British forces to advance. A battle won and a leader lost.
There were many more victories in battles at
York, Stoney Creek, Beaver Dams (Laura Secord), Crysler's Farms,
and Lundy's Lane. Among the casualties was Tecumseh.
Another great leader lost.
Washington and Baltimore
In retaliation for burning towns in Upper Canada,
the British forces attacked and burned Washington
in August 1814. Government buildings, including the
White House, were destroyed.
Then they attempted to do the same in Baltimore.
There, several British ships shelled Fort McHenry, which
protected the Baltimore harbour. The British "bombs
bursting in air" and the Congreve "rockets' red glare" led
poet Francis Scott Key to pen what would become the American
national anthem. Within months, the War of 1812 ended.
The Treaty of Ghent
British and American representatives met in Ghent,
Belgium, to try to reach a peace agreement. They signed
in December 1814, which ended to war. There were no
major victories on either side in the treaty. The border
between British North America and the United States
remained the same. The war was a bit of a stalemate, but
was significant for the development of British North
The War of 1812 created a sense of unity
- prominent people such as politicians and
religious people urged the people to do
everything they could to resist the enemy
-Lower and Upper Canadians heeded the call,
and volunteers for the militia stepped forward
-the Canadiens especially saw the Americans
as a threat. The Americans were regarded as
anti-French. The Canadiens felt they were well
treated by the British.
Loyalty to Britain and the monarchy survived
the war. British North Americans did not want to live
as part of the American republic, and were prepared to fight for this.
The War of 1812 had some effects on the development
of Canada. It promoted unity as the French andnEnglish came
together to resist a common enemy - the United States. It also
showed they were capable people in a time of crisis and their
The Rebellions of 1837-1838
The system of government in the Canadas was undemocratic. Voters did elect representatives, but those representatives had very little power in the system. There was a political barrier.
In both Canadas, political elites had all the power. In Lower Canada, they were called the Chateau Clique. In Upper Canada, they were known as the Family Compact. They did not want to give power to the elected representatives.
Farmers found this period difficult. Declining wheat prices required them to change the crops they grew. In Upper Canada, population increases led to demand for farmland that was no longer available.
In Lower Canada, the seigneural system was failing. It was once a good way to develop the colony, but in the early 1800's the British merchants in Lower Canada lived well and the seigneurs began to envy them. The seigneurs raises taxes and rents they charged their habitants. They habitants were unhappy but there was nothing the government could do for them as the seigneural system was recognized as law.
The two Canadas did not cooperate when it came to transportation. Upper Canada was building canals because at this time, most goods were being transported by ship. Lower Canada was slow at building canals.They needed to spend more money to increase trade.
The Great Migration
Many people migrated from Europe in the 1830's and 1840's because of poverty and food shortages. This created a very diverse British North America. People came from Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland(The Great Irish Famine).
The Underground Railroad
Slavery had been illegal in British North America since 1833. About 30,000 American slaves escaped to Canada West and Nova Scotia. This secret network helped runaway slaves.
The People of British North America
The First Nations
The First Nations, who were instrumental in supporting the British in war, were now living on the fringe of society. There had been peace with the Americans for 50 years and the significance of the fur trade was declining.
Canada East was mainly French-speaking Roman Catholic. Canada West was mainly English-speaking Protestant. There were communities of people of African descent and First Nations. There were distinct class divisions. People spoke, acted and dressed differently, depending on the society they belonged to. There was also a lot of movement between settlements because people were constantly trying to improve their situation in life.
"Canada has too much geography"
The settled areas in the colonies were separated by vast distances, bodies of water and difficult terrain. There were also great differences in climate. Joining these colonies would be a difficult task.
Canada East and Canada West had the same number of seats in the legislative assembly.
As the two sides fought with each other about the best way to solve challenges, it often led to political deadlock.
The two main issues were transportation and representation.
1. Transportation: Canada West wanted to expand transportation to increase trade and wealth and were willing to spend to do so. Canada East was worried that this would change their existing way of life and threaten their identity.
2. Representation: Canada West wanted representation by population, while Canada East wanted to keep their equal status.
The Distant Colonies
There were other colonies as well, but they were too far away from the Canadas and the three Maratime colonies.
Newfoundland was isolated by dangerous ocean. In the west, British Columbia (New Caldonia) and Vancouver Island were far away. Many Americans came north to join the gold rush which created a strong American influence.
The economy of British North America was becoming industrialized. Factories were starting to appear and capitalists were building businesses.
Trading between the colonies was limited because of transportation issues. Also, the colonies used duties and tariffs (taxes) to keep out goods from other colonies in order to protect their own goods. British North America was acting like many small countries and some politicians were starting to think that these colonies were missing out on a great opportunity.
Britain was the largest economy in the world at this time. Britain had a demand for raw materials and gave colonial preference to British North America (no taxes) when trading. However, Britain began to move away from colonial preference and repealed the Corn Laws. The Corn Laws kept the price of imported wheat high. Britain was moving towards free trade. They thought that free trade would give them a larger share of the worlds goods.
This was devastating for the development of British North America. They gradually lost their price advantage over American producers and the Americans took a larger share of the British market.
Many leaders and politicians started to wonder if they could replace declining exports markets with a strong internal trade. The would need to establish a East-West link. Could they trade fish from Nova Scotia for wheat from Canada West?
All the railways and canals were built to get goods to ports to be shipped to the United States and Britain.
Many agreed that the Intercolonial would be good for everyone and a lot of people's prosperity depended on it. With a loan from the Baring Brothers, one of the largest British Banks, the construction began. Barings stated that it would not loan the money as long as the colonies remained separate.
Britain had stationed troops all over the colonies to keep them secure. But this cost money. Soon Britain was involved in other wars and was pulling its troops from the colonies. This made the colonies susceptible to invasion.
Thomas D'Arcy McGee was a politician of Irish origin who bitterly opposed the Fenians. He was shot and killed by a Fenian in the streets of Ottawa.
After the American Civil War, Americans supported the belief that the United States had the duty to take all the land of North America. This was called Manifest Destiny. Once again the colonies felt weak and susceptible to invasion. Another reason to join the colonies.
Representation by Population
There was a flaw in the legislature at this time. Canada West and Canada East each had 65 seats. However, Canada West grew quicker than Canada East and they thought they should have 81 seats, based on population.
Brown was the leading supporter of representation by population. He owned the "Globe", Toronto's largest newspaper. He was known for his fiery speeches about representation by population.
Cartier was a lawyer from Montreal. He was strongly opposed to representation by population because he thought the Canadiens would be at a disadvantage because Canada West could push through laws that would be damaging to French society. Cartier and Brown became bitter political enemies.
John A. Macdonald
Macdonald was a lawyer form Kingston who was known for fairness and political skill. He knew that both Brown and Cartier would never resolve their issues alone, and had an idea on how to give both what they wanted.
Through all of this political discussion, women and First Nations were not included.
In the early 1860's, British North America was weak and isolated. Most colonies wanted to retain ties with Britain. They saw the United States as a threat. In 1864, events relating to British North America's future began to move quickly.
The Charlottetown Conference.
In September 1864, The Maritime colonies held a conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. British Columbia and Newfoundland were not invited. They were to discuss a union of the Maritime colonies. Even though the Canadas were not Maritime colonies, they manage to get an invite to the conference. In the end, The Canadians persuaded the Maritimers to give up their original plan, and John A. Macdonald and his colleagues got them to consider a union with the Canadas.
They decided to meet again to discuss this further.
Many Irish came to North America (mostly the United States) during the Great Migration. Many of the Irish thought they were mistreated by the British during their famine. What better way to get revenge than to hurt British interests in British North America. Although few invasions occurred, the thought of how easy an invasion could happen and how weak British North America was made the colonies worry.
The Quebec Conference
In October 1864, the representatives of the colonies held a second conference in Quebec City. This time Newfoundland attended as well, but British Columbia was too far away. In Charlottetown they agreed to the idea of joining colonies, but did not discuss how it would be done. In Quebec City, they met for three weeks and worked out the rules for sharing power in a new country.
Some of the features of Canada's government:
- a federal constitution. This meant there would be a government for the whole country, as well as for each province.
- Each level of government would be responsible for specific areas. "Indian" affairs were federal, education was provincial
-In parliament, there would be a balance of representation by population and equal representation.
-There would be a balance between elected and appointed representatives.
John A. Macdonald was the main influence in these resolutions. He won the support with 91 votes in favour, and 33 opposed.
There were some who strongly opposed the Quebec resolutions. Antoine-Aime Dorion was a leader in Canada East's "rouge" party. He believed the proposals would lead to destruction of the French culture.
In the Maritimes, Joseph Howe was a journalist from Halifax. He felt that Nova Scotia was too far away from the Canadas and that they would be overwhelmed by the larger provinces. Attitudes depended on the local concerns.
The London Conference
In December 1866, representatives form Canada West, Canada East, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia travelled to London, England. Newfoundland had dropped out of the discussions. The delegates took part in a conference with British officials. Agreement was reached and Canada became Britain's first "self-governing Dominion.
Canada retained the monarchy, and its membership to the British Empire, but the monarchy was now just a symbol and nothing more.
On July 1, 1867, a new country was born. The Dominion of Canada contained four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Queen Victoria had already chosen Ottawa as the capital.
The British North America Act, 1867
The act that made Canada independent was originally called the British North America Act (BNA Act). In 1982, it was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.
The Development of the West
After Confederation, Prime Minister was keen to expand Canada West. He wanted to make sure the Prairies became Canadian and wanted to claim the land before the Americans did. Many Settlers in Ontario wanted to move West to the Prairies to start farms. However, there were already people living there...
Who Lived in the Prairie Region?
First Nations - for thousands of years the First Nations lived on the Prairies. They had not made contact with the Europeans like the First Nations of the East. They lived off the land and moved wherever they could find resources. They relied heavily on the Bison for food and clothing.
The Metis - since the 1700s, the Metis had been living on the Prairies as well. The Metis were descendants of European fur traders (coureurs de bois) and First Nations. By 1750, there were enough Metis for them to be unofficially recognized as separate people.
- they were bilingual (French and First Nations)
-they engaged in many religious practices (Roman Catholic and First Nations Spirituality)
-They used European and First Nation methods of survival (Farmed and hunted Bison)
Canada wanted to gain control of Rupert's Land (owned by the HBC) because it had economic potential. When the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia in 1867, it further fuelled Canada's fear that the U.S. would seek control of more territory. In 1869, the HBC agreed to sell Rupert's Land to the government of Canada. Prime Minister Macdonald wanted this land desperately and paid $1, 500, 000 for it. He appointed William McDougall a lieutenant-governor and sent him to Red River (Manitoba) to establish a new government.
No one consulted the people already living in the Prairies. When McDougall ordered land surveyors to go to Red River, the Metis residents objected. The Metis thought the surveyors would divide the land into individual lots, sell the lots to settlers, start farms on their land, build fences to keep livestock in and wild animals out, fences would disrupt the bison hunt, and the traditional way of Metis life would be destroyed (English protestants, no seigneurial system in plotting land)
The Metis were upset and a leader arose - Louis Riel
Louis Riel was 25 years old when he became leader of the Metis in Red River. The Metis organized the National Committee of the Metis of Red River and elected Riel as secretary. The committee told Ottawa that they should not come to Red River without their permission. When McDougall came, they escorted him to the U.S. border.
Riel was loyal to the crown and wanted to negotiate with the government. When he tried to get English speaking settlers to join him, they refused. Riel then set up his own provisional government (temporary government). His plan was to cooperate with the Canadian government to establish a permanent government that the Metis would support and created a Metis List of rights.
Some of The Metis List of Rights:
- The territory of the North-West enter Confederation as a province.
- schools be separate, based on religion
- treaties for the different First Nations groups of the North-West
- Lieutenant-Governor of the province of the North-West speak both English and French
- Judge of Supreme court speak both English and French
The Metis appeared to be in a strong position.
The Role of Thomas Scott
Scott was a protestant from Ireland who was one of the first Canadians sent to Red River. He wanted Canada to expand and to be successful. He also wanted to resist the pressure from the U.S. He also brought views from Ireland such as Roman Catholics should not be permitted many rights and should not be a part of the government. In Red River, he shared these views with the Metis. He believed Canada should ignore the Metis and set up a government without consulting them. Riel, as leader of the provisional government, regarded Scott as a threat and a powerful symbol of opposition of the Metis. He did not want more people thinking like Scott. Riel ordered the arrest of Scott and later, Scott was found guilty of treason. In March 1870, Scott was executed.
The execution of Scott cause a lot of hostility toward Riel. In the eyes of the Canadian government, he was a criminal and issued a warrant for his arrest. Riel fled to the U.S. and many of his followers moved more westward and settled in Saskatchewan. The ones that stayed in red River realized what Riel had feared. The Metis way of life was destroyed. Settlements changed, the bison hunt died out, but they did manage to keep most of their cultural traditions.
By the end of 1869, Canada had four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. In the next four years, three more would join.
Manitoba (1870) - was confined to small area around Red River.
North-West Territories (1870) - Britain transferred control to Canada. It would take 16 years before it had seats in the federal government.
British Columbia (1871) - both the U.S. and Canada wanted British Columbia to join them. There was a booming gold rush along the west coast. Eventually BC joined Canada. Prime Minister Macdonald made a reckless promise to convince BC to join. He said that within 10 years, by 1881, a railway would be built from Ontario to the west coast.
Prince Edward Island (1873) - After not joining at Confederation, PEI soon realized this was a mistake. The trading among the other Maritime provinces and increased and PEI did not share in this growth.
Canada wanted to establish a railway link to the west for a couple of reasons.
1. An easier way to get settlers there with their families.
2. It would be a symbol of unity and show the Americans that it was Canadian territory.
While encouraging settlement in the west, the government had to consider the First Nations who were already living there. At the same time, the Metis were still upset and were sending petitions to the government without any response.
Treaties with First Nations
The government used legal documents outlining agreement between nations called treaties to deal with land ownership issues. The First Nations agreed to give up the ownership of the land they lived on for centuries and the government promised to:
- recognize First Nation's right to live on individual reserves
-recognize First Nation's right to fish and hunt on their reserves according to customs
-provide annual payment to reserves to compensate for the land they gave up
- supply farming implements
-build schools on the reserves
In 1876, the government passed the Indian Act. The Act created the principle of Indian status - the term that identified people as First Nations. The act included:
- only "full-blooded" (not Metis)
-they were to become wards of the state which meant they were under the care of the government
-First Nations women who married non First Nations men lost their status (Metis)
-the government could take timber from the reserves. No money would go back to the reserve
-First Nations who committed crimes could be tried in Canadian court
-First Nations could achieve Canadian citizenship, including the right to vote, but would lose their Indian status.
The First Nations could never know how drastically this would change their way of life. Was it fair? First Nations laws and customs were passed orally and they had little experience with paper documents. The Indian Act was also written in English and French, not First Nations languages. Many consider the Indian Act the worst thing the government did to the First Nations people.
What were the reasons for both groups signing?
Once the land issues were settled, the need to fill the west with settlers was of utmost importance. At this time the population of the west was small.
The Immigration Act of 1869 - it was to attract people to the west, keep people with contagious diseases out, limit the number of people carried on immigrant ships. Thousands of immigrants arrived from overseas.
The Dominion Lands Act
In order to promote settlement, the government allowed a family to acquire a homestead (land turned over to settlers for farming) for a $10 registration fee if they built a house and turned some land into a farm within three years.
The Metis did not fare well under the Dominion Lands Act. They were not treated the same as other settlers. Many failed to set up a farm and their homestead was taken back. They ended up being run off by new owners.
Free land was very appealing to people at the time. However, many people had to walk great distances to get to the west. It was clear the west needed a railway.
Building a Railway
After a series of political setbacks where leaders of Canada changed, Macdonald was once again Prime Minister and time was running out on his 10-year promise the British Columbia. In 1881, Macdonald awarded a contract to a Montreal company, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to build the railway.
For five summers, workers worked hard to lay track from Callander, Ontario to Port Moody, British Columbia. It was simple work along the prairies, but much harder in Norther Ontario and the Rocky mountains in the West.
Who was responsible for building the railway?
William Van Horne was appointed general manager of the CPR in 1882. He had his own railcar and was deeply involved in the daily running of the line. He was also responsible for hiring the "navvies" (abbreviation of navigator) or the labourers. Van Horne later became president of the CPR. He had a powerful impact on Canada and the railway, which was Canada's symbol of nationhood.
There was a shortage of workers in BC, so the CPR imported workers from China. About two-thirds of the workers on this section were of Chinese origin. The Chinese workers did the most dangerous work using explosives and blasting rocks. Crowded living conditions, poor diet, cold weather, and a lack of medical care also caused many to die. When construction of the railway was completed, the government wanted the Chinese to return to China. They made it very difficult for the Chinese to stay and even put a "head tax" on every Chinese person coming into Canada to deter the Chinese workers from bringing their families to Canada.
Donald Smith was president of the Bank of Montreal and provided much of the money to build the line. He was given the honour of driving in the last spike at Craigellachi, BC on November 7, 1885. This spike joined the East and the West. The first passenger train left Montreal on June 28, 1886 and arrived at Port Moody six days later. In May 1887, the line was completed form Port Moody to Vancouver. Finally, railway was completed. Everything was good in Canada...or was it?
The Northwest Rebellion
Many Metis who settled in Saskatchewan after the 1869 Resistance in Red River were worried the same thing would happen again (remember they lost their land and way of life). Many settlers were making their way to the Prairies. The Metis were struggling under the Dominion Lands Act. Over the years, their situation became much worse. The bison were disappearing and food was scarce. Many Metis faced starvation.
A Rebellion in the Making
The Metis were sending petitions to Ottawa, asking for secure title to their lands, agricultural aid, schools, and a local police force. Ottawa ignored these demands, which inevitably made the Metis very upset.
Louis Riel was living in the U.S.. He was persuaded to return to the Metis for a second time. On March 19, 1885, Riel seized the parish church at Batoche and formed a second provisional government. This was the same move the Metis made at Red River. The First Nations supported the Metis and their cause.
There were some key differences between the first situation in 1869 and the second one in 1885. This time, Prime Minister Macdonald had some advantages:
-He decided at once to fight Riel and his supporters
-The North-West Mounted Police (we will learn about later) were formed in 1873 and were able to assemble troops to support the government.
-the CPR was almost complete and troops were able to assemble quicker.
Riel was aware war was coming. He appointed Gabriel Dumont as his military commander. Dumont used guerrilla tactics (fighting by means of ambush and surprise attacks) instead on fight head-on. This worked well against the superior numbers and weapons of the troops.
Battle of Duck Lake
- Dumont and the Metis fighters forced the police and army to retreat. An early victory for the Metis, although the full force of the government had not been assembled.
Massacre at Frog Lake
- a breakaway band of Cree warriors targeted and Indian agent, Thomas Quinn, who treated the Cree poorly. Quinn was killed and eight other white men were killed in the chaos that followed. Six Cree men were tried and hanged for the Frog Lake Massacre. This made Macdonald and the NWMP pay attention to the unrest in the land as this was not a Metis issue.
Battle at Fish Creek
-Dumont and 150 First Nations and Metis surprise attacked government soldiers. Both sides suffered casualties and both withdrew from the area.
Battle of Batoche
-Riel was unhappy with Dumont's progress. He ordered Dumont to stop using geurilla tactics and defend Batoche. This proved to be an error. The army and police concentrated their efforts on one spot. A force of 900 troops attacked 300 Metis, Cree, and Dakota defenders of Batche from May 9 to 12, 1885. Riel was captured and arrested. Dumont fled to the United States.
The Northwest Rebellion was the final resistance of the Metis against the settlers. Riel was tried for treason and executed. English-French tensions exploded across the country. English (British) wanted Riel to be dealt with harshly. Quebec (French) wanted Riel to be regarded as a hero because he defended Roman Catholicism and French language rights. When Macdonald ordered the execution of Riel, it infuriated the French.
In 1992, the government of Canada proposed a bill that reversed Riel's conviction of treason and recognized him as the founder of Manitoba, and acknowledged his contribution to the advancement of Confederation and of Metis rights.
The North West Mounted Police
To keep the peace in the country, the government created the NWMP. The U.S. calvary wore blue uniforms. To distinguish the NWMP officers they chose to wear red uniforms.
- they controlled the whisky trade
- they prevented "Indian Wars"
In 1920, they adopted the name The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). They are responsible for enforcing federal laws throughout Canada.
The railway was completed, the police force was established, rebellions were done, the west was ready for settlers.
Many settlers poured into the west. They had to deal with harsh temperatures. They began to grow wheat. Towns began to expand.
The Gold Rush Era
Since 1849, many prospectors were panning for gold in California. In 1858, many made their way to the Fraser River valley in BC. This set off a wave of people who made their way north, hoping to make a fortune.
Many raced to stake a claim. Compared to the Prairies this movement was mayhem. There were no police to maintain order. People stole each other's gold. Miners got swindled out of money in crooked card games.
The Cariboo Wagon Road was built to carry heavy loads. Today the Trans-Canada highway follows much of the original Cariboo Wagon Road.
The Yukon Territory was created because of the gold rush. In 1896, prospectors discovered gold on a river that flowed into the Klondike River. Soon many people were racing to find it. Dawson City was established. Soon the gold rush was over. At this time the Yukon was apart of the Northwest Territories. Once it was discovered the Yukon had many resources, it was split into two separate territories.