What’s the history of Canada? Did you know it all began when the Paleo Indians arrived?
Everything since then has been a part of Canada’s History. We will talk about the lesser-known facts about the history of Canada.
Canada: Great White North
Canada is situated in North America and covers an area from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second-largest country in the world in terms of area.
Being a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, the prime minister is the head of the government of Canada. They are elected by the governor-general [monarch].
The federal system works in two languages. Most importantly, the government of Canada understands the right of its citizens, civil liberties, good quality of life, education, and economic freedom.
The Canadian economy has flourished due to its close ties with the United States of America. It has the 10th largest economy in the world. Canada’s ties with the United States have also more or less affected its culture.
Canada is exceptionally developed and is rated the 16th highest on Human Development Index in terms of development. This number clearly shows how well the Canadian citizens are treated under the responsible government of this nation.
Canada is a country that is quite active in international politics.
It is a part of several intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, the G-7, the North Atlantic treaty Organization, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Arctic Council, and the World Trade Organization.
Canada being a part of such substantial intergovernmental organizations has also helped the country develop and formulate its foreign policy.
The origin of the name Canada has had several theories. However, the most accepted theory is that it has originated from a St, Lawrence Iroquoian word, Kanta meaning ‘a village’ or ‘a settlement.’
The history of Canada includes a chain of events that are given in the following few sections.
History Of Canada: 12 Lesser Known Facts
Here are 12 facts about Canada’s history that you did not know:
1. History Of Canada: The Indigenous Peoples Of Canada
Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of an area. The Canadian government and constitution recognize a few groups of Indigenous people. They are an essential part of Canadian history.
As the European explorers started coming to this place and settling, the indigenous population gradually declined over the next 200 years.
This was not just because the European explorers forced the indigenous Canadian population to leave but also because of the deadly diseases they brought with them. Most aboriginal people [Indigenous population] did not have a solid immunity to fight those diseases.
The first map of Canada’s East Coast was drawn by John Cabot, an explorer who visited Canada in 1497. Even though English settlement in Canada [by great Britain] began in 1610, this explorer had already claimed a few places for England in 1497.
Jacques Carter was another explorer who visited Canada thrice between 1534-1542 to claim the Atlantic Coast. He is said to have named a river after which the whole country was named. It is due to him that around 1550, Canada’s name began appearing on the map.
However, in the next 200 years, the Europeans and native Canadians formed a strong association and worked hard to make the military and economy more robust.
However, this entry of European explorers and their settlements plays an integral part in the early history of Canada. The following few sections will provide more information about the North American colonies in the province.
2. History Of Canada: French Canada Or The New France
Samuel De Champlain and Pierre De Monts established a new settlement in North Florida. They both were French explorers who made this settlement in 1604. Champlain later also built a fortress at present-day Quebec city.
These French explorers had to adapt to the harsh climate of Canada. It was tough for them to get used to this change in the environment. After fighting several wars, the Iroquois and the French finally made peace in 1701.
French leaders like John Talon, Bishop Laval, and Count Frontenac built a vast French empire in North America. This was often known as New France. These leaders made sure that the aboriginal or native people collaborated with them in the fur trade economy.
After struggling and establishing the French colony in North America, these great leaders were not far from another great war. The following section highlights this.
3. History Of Canada: Formation Of British North America
It was the year 1960 when the British Empire had started establishing its colony over Canada. King Charles II was then an important figure for Great Britain.
He gave exclusive rights to Hudson and Bay to trade over the watershed that drained into Hudson Bay. Some skilled Montreal-based traders had begun working on this for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
These courageous men, also known as Voyageurs and Coureurs des Bois, were famous for forming first nations.
Comparing English Canada With New France: British North America Act For Quebec
The New British colony of Canada started prospering in the 1600s. It became much more prosperous than New France in terms of economy as well as population. In the 1700s, New France and the United Kingdom had a battle for conquering the North American land.
The British soldiers defeated the French Soldiers in the battle of Plains of Abraham. This happened in 1759 in Quebec City. After the victory of the British army, Great Britain named this area ‘The Province Of Quebec.’
The British Parliament passed the Quebec Act of 1774 to take care of the interests of French Canadians. This law retained the French Civil law while keeping the British Criminal Law.
The American Revolution
The American Revolution began in 1776. This was when North America, once again, got divided. Around 40,000 people came out to be Loyalists [the people who were loyal to the crown].
Loyalists soon fled the oppression of the British and settled in Nova Scotia and the Canadian province of Quebec. Around 3000 of the population of Loyalists were blacks and slaves who had to leave the British province of North America in the hope of a better and just life.
Some of these Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia created their land in Sierra Leone in 1792.
4. The Constitutional History Of Canada
It was in the year 1758 when the first democratic institutions developed in Canada. These developments were quite gradual as well as peaceful in United Canada. Canada was then divided into upper and lower Canada.
The province of Quebec was divided. Upper Canada, or the upper area of the province of Quebec, was full of loyalists, and the lower portion consisted of French Canadians. Upper Canada is present-day Ontario, whereas Lower Canada today consists of Quebec.
New ways of administration were incorporated in Canada. Some of the acts were seen as highly progressive. Canadians now had a parliament and an elected Legislative Assembly. One of the most significant debates of the legislative assemblies was if Canadians should speak in English or French.
It was, however, a sad fact that the right to vote was only given to white males who owned property. The women’s suffrage movement was the name given to the struggle of women to get their right to vote. It was quite evident that women were not valued enough in society.
The first woman in Canada to practice medicine was Dr. Emily Stowe. She was a rebellious woman, full of aspirations. She was the founder of the women’s suffrage movement in Canada.
Manitoba was the first Canadian province that gave women the right to vote in 1916. Due to the rebellions and struggles that had taken place under the leadership of Dr. Stowe and other women, the federal government gave women the right to vote.
BY 1918, most women above 21 had the right to vote in the federal elections. Before this, only women who had worked in wartime were allowed to cast their vote.
In 1921, another revolutionary development took place in Canada; Agnes Macphail [was a farmer and teacher] became the first woman MP. The province of Quebec finally got the right to vote in 1940.
Slavery: Prevalence and Abolition In Upper and Lower Canada
Slavery was a global problem. The chains of slavery were spread from Asia and Africa to the Middle East. The government soon saw this as a significant threat that directly targeted the dignity of the slaves.
It was very prevalent in Central Canada and Western Canada. Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe was a loyalist officer in Upper Canada. It was under his leadership that small steps towards the abolition of this dehumanizing practice were taking place.
In 1807, the government banned the buying and selling of slaves, and finally, in 1833, slavery was abolished altogether. This led to slaves from several countries leaving and later settling in Canada. They often found Canada with the help of the location of the North Star.
Gradually, places like lower Canada too fought this evil. The British parliament passed several laws ensuring the freedom of slaves.
5. History Of Canada: World War I
The first World War more or less affected all countries in the world. Canada was one of those too.
Many Canadians were proud that they were a part of the Great British Empire. Around 7000 Canadian English soldiers fought the Boer War or the South African War from 1899 to 1902.
Most Canadians had volunteered to fight this war, and around 260 Canadian soldiers gave up their lives for the British province of Canada.
The second world war began in 1914. The British had declared war after Germany attacked Belgium and France. It was surprising that around 600,000 Canadians Volunteered to fight in this war out of the total Canadian population.
After capturing Vimy Ridge in the year 1917, around 10,000 were wounded. However, British officers were highly impressed by these Canadian soldiers who put their lives in danger to save the reputation of the British Empire and Canadian province.
The Canadian Corps were famous and courageous soldiers who were victorious in the battle of Amiens in 1918. This happened under the command of Sir Arthur Currie, who was one of Canada’s most outstanding soldiers.
August 8, 1918, is known as “black day“ for the German army who got defeated by the Canadian military of Corps. On November 11 in the same year, the war had ended after the German and Austrian forces had surrendered.
The second world war clearly showed the competence and courage of the Canadian soldiers who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the British Province Of Canada.
The British Colony After World War I
Following the first world war, the Great British Empire was known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. This was because Britain had now turned into a free association of states.
6. History Of Canada: Great Depression And Second World War
The second world war began in 1939. The beginning of the second world war is marked by Poland’s invasion by Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was the national socialist dictator of Germany.
More than one million Canadian soldiers were a part of the war that brought much bloodshed with it. Around 44,000 Canadian soldiers were killed in this war.
7. Recent History Of Canada And The Responsible Government
Some of the most recent developments in Canada are as follows:
1. Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriages
Same-sex marriages have been legalized throughout the country. This landmark decision has been applied since July 20, 2005, by amendment of the civil marriage act.
2. Study Of The Indigenous Population
In 2008, a special committee of people was established in Canada. These men and women study the indigenous population of Canada. They also learn about how their life has been impacted throughout the history of Canada.
In the same year, Prime Minister Harper apologized to the Residential school systems on behalf of the Canadian government.
3. Important Events in 2012
In February 2012, the increase in university tuition sparked off protests. The young people of Canada participated in this protest. The same year, in May, the circulation of pennies stopped.
On October 17, 2018, the legal use of Cannabis got formalized. The bill is passed. Canada is the second country to legalize the use of recreational Cannabis.
5. 2020: The Year of Changes
Several protests sparked off in Canada in 2020 after the Mounted Police disturbed a peaceful protest blocking a pipeline in British Columbia.
The first case of Covid-19 was identified in Canada in January 2020. A man who returned from China brought the disease to Canada, and in a few weeks, Covid-19 spread widely across Canada.
The 20th Century can also be seen as the recent history of Canada. Some of the highlights of the 20th Century are:
1. 1903 to 1920
The United Kingdom and the United States of America settled a long-drawn dispute with British Columbia regarding the Alaska Boundary. This happened in 1903, after which Canadians were highly disappointed with the lack of sea-water port connected to Yukon.
On September 1, 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan were carved out of the country. These became the 8th and 9th provinces of Canada.
Treaty 9 and Treaty 10 were signed in 1905 and 1906, respectively.
A significant development took place in Canada on May 4, 1910; the royal navy of Canada was established.
The second world war began, and Canada was brought into the picture after Great Britain declared a full-scale war on Germany.
1918 was a great year for Canada. The world war ended, but women got the right to vote, and the Canadian air force was established.
In 1920, Canada became a vital member of the new intergovernmental organization called the League of Nations. Canada played some role in opposing military actions. However, the League of Nations broke down in 1939.
2. 1926 to 1939: Important Changes
King-Byng Affair was a constitutional crisis that occurred in 1926 and went on for around three months. This happened due to a conflict between leaders at a high position in the Canadian government.
On November 25, 1927, Vincent Massey was appointed as the fully accredited envoy to foreign capital. This was the first time a man in Canada got this position.
1929-1939 were tough years for the Canadian nations. There was a sudden rise in poverty and unemployment due to the great depression. On September 10, 1939, Canada entered the second world war.
3. 1945 to 1982
In the year 1945, Canada finally joined the United Nations, an intergovernmental peace organization. Canada wanted to play a vital role in acting as a middle country and solving disputes with diplomacy.
The Canadian Citizenship act of 1946 came into force in 1947. This was done to give legal identity to those who were born British separately.
On June 27 in 1959, a vital project between the United States of America and Canada began. This was known as the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
Canada adopted the maple leaf for the national flag in February 1965.
On November 15, 1973, the hydraulic project by James Bay was stopped by the government, keeping in mind the aboriginal people of Canada.
On May 20, 1980, a referendum for the independence of Quebec was held. The majority of the province decided to remain in Canada.
April 17, 1982, was a momentous day for the nation. This is because Canada, on this day, achieved complete independence from Great Britain. Now, the constitution of Canada had a separate section with individual human rights for the people of Canada.
4. 1989 Onwards
A free trade agreement between Canada and the United States of America came into force in 1989. Due to this agreement, the trade barriers between the two countries begin decreasing considerably.
Around three months in 1990, Canadians witnessed a protest by an activist against the development of a golf course on the burial ground of the aboriginal people of Canada. This incident is famously known as the Oak Crisis. Aid from the Canadian armed forces was demanded after an officer died in a series of violent protests.
Finally, in September 1990, the protestors surrendered. The development of the golf course is later canceled by the government, keeping in mind the interests of the aboriginal population.
8. History Of Canada: Evolution Of Canadian Sports
Canadian sports have a long history. Sports in Canada have evolved from time to time. Nonetheless, Canadian sports started to be more organized as well as recognized in the 19th Century. This was because of the involvement of various sports institutions.
The recent developments in Canadian sports vary a lot from that of the indigenous population and the very first nations of North America. The native people of Canada often played games like Wrestling, archery, and spear throwing for survival and basic needs.
Some other sports like Baggataway has religious significance. Even though there is a considerable debate on whether dance should be considered sports or not, Canadians often view it as one. They often danced during religious functions.
Awl games, the Cat’s cradle, snow snake, ring and pole, and several other games were played for merely having fun and at times for gambling. Many indigenous people liked gambling, but some others had to do it for survival.
Canadians loved challenging sports and games. They raced and played tug of war to find out who was more substantial. These early Canadian sports often tested who was more tolerant.
The first Social club for sports and games was formed in North America by Port Royal. This happened after the French and the British had already settled in Canada. Horse racing and wrestling were often seen in such club gatherings.
During the time of war, soldiers were often seen playing sports like cricket for recreation. Scots also introduced a new game called ‘golf’ in this area. Golf failed to impress the citizens all over the country. Clearly, this showed how the interest of people mattered even at that time.
Moreover, the equipment and large tracts of golf clubs were too much to be maintained. The colonizers could not afford any resources.
After the establishment of the social club in North America, a sporting club was founded in 1807. This was known as the Montreal Curling Club. After the failure of golf as a sport in Canada, curling became extremely popular.
By the year 1867, Sports in Canada was approaching a new era altogether. With the advancement of technology and the railways, sports could now be presented in front of people. There was also a realization; the country’s population could only be healthy with the help of exercise and sports.
Today, Canadians participate in many sports and are famous for their skill, hard work, and dedication.
9. History Of Canada: Canadian Cities And Their Names
Canada is a beautiful country, and all of its cities are unique in their way. You will be surprised to know how some of these prepossessing cities got their names:
The name of this city was probably derived from Scottish Gaelic, and it means located at a height.
In 1904, this English name was given due to popular support.
This name means “beach of the meadows.” The origin of this word is Scottish Gaelic.
There is no natural way to trace the origin of the name of this city. However, it is said that it has been named Camrose after a city in North Wales.
5. Chestermere and Cold Lake:
These cities have been named after lakes. Many Canadian towns like these are famous for the beautiful lakes that they possess.
It is another city named after an already existing place in London.
7. Medicine Hat:
The origin of this name is a mixture of English and backfoot. It has originated from a hat or cap that sued to be worn by Medicine men.
Leduc is a French name. This city was named after Father Hippolyte Leduc, a priest who served in that area. However, there is still a debate on how this name was finalized.
9. Lethbridge and Lloydminster:
These names originated from William Lethbridge and George Lloyd, respectively.
This city in British Columbia is probably named after the superintendent of the pacific railways. John Cunningham kept the name of the town. However, the sure origin of the name is still a debate.
This British Columbian city was named after Robert Burnaby, a British merchant, and politician. This name was the result of the popular vote of the people.
This word means “meeting of the waters.” The language in which “Kamloops” is used is Shuswap.
Kelowna is an Okanagan word for female grizzly bears.
14. Port Alberni:
This is a Spanish name. The city of Port Alberni was named after a famous Spanish officer who commanded fort San Miguel.
15. Port Coquitlam:
This coast Salish name means “Red Fish in the river.”
16. Prince Rupert:
This city was named after a famous officer who worked for Hudson’s Bay, Prince Rupert.
Jules Maurice Quesnel was a clerk who worked for North West Company. He used to accompany Simon Fraser, who later named this city. They both, together, had discovered the Quesnel river.
Ross Thompson named this city after his name after buying the land in the 1980s.
It is a word that originates from English and Dutch. It was named after an officer in the British navy.
20. White Rock:
A literal white rock was found on a beach near this city. Hence, it is named after this White rock that sailors used for navigation purposes.
It is a French name derived from lake Dauphin.
The word “Winkler” is of German origin. The city was named after a politician and business owner.
23. Mira Michi:
Derived from the Innu language, Mira Michi was named after a river in the same area.
Toronto is an Iroquoian word that means ” a place where you can see trees standing still in the water.”
Regina is a Latin word for Queen. The city was named by Princess Louise, who was then the wife of a Governor-General.
10. History Of Canada: How Education Evolved
The history of Canadian education can be traced back to the 1700s where the church-controlled educational institution. This type of education lasted till the mid-1800s.
After the mid-1800s, centralized authority was established. This is often referred to as stage two of Canadian education. The third stage began in the 1900s.
A more organized curriculum was developed in stage three, and provincial departments were established to better function schools and the education system. The Canadian government also provided more financial support and the recruitment of well-trained teachers and educators.
The fourth stage was probably the final stage. This began with the second world war. More ministers in the field of Canadian education were elected during this time.
History Of Canada: Crisis In Education
One of the significant school crises occurred in 1912. Sir James P. Whitney had a very conservative approach towards education and languages. His government issued regulation 17 that limited French-English schools. This affected the French Schooling minority severely.
11. History Of Canada: Rail Transport In Canada
On June 6 in the year 1919, the CNR or the Canadian National railways was incorporated. It contained several other railways that had earlier been subjected to bankruptcy.
CNR was primarily known for its freight services. However, it also provided some passenger services. After 1978, mixed trains were introduced where freight and passenger services were provided collectively.
November 17, 1995, was the day when The Canadian government privatized Canadian national railways. The CNR kept expanding in the next decade and made significant gains.
12. History Of Canada: Importance And Evolution Of Canadian Newspapers
Newspapers have been a crucial part of the lives of people worldwide. We stay connected to the world via newspapers and know about everything that is happening around us.
Canada’s very first newspapers had been published somewhere in Nova Scotia in the 1750s. Later this circulation spread across upper Canada and then all over the nation.
Some of the most important newspapers in the history of Canada that are spread across Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Canada are as follows:
- Halifax Gazette
- Quebec Gazette
- Montreal Gazette
- Upper Canada Gazette
The history of Canada includes a wide range of things. May it be about wars or the Canadian railways, present-day Canada, throughout its history, has shown that it is a competent nation that respects its citizens and never compromises on its development.