HISTORY OF CANADA
English ships were the first to reach the shores of what is now Canada.
In 1407 John Cabot, sailing from Bristol, landed on the coast of Labrador, and planted the English flag there.
But it was the French navigator Jacques Cartier who first really opened up Canada for European settlers. In 1534 Cartier in a single ship sailed up the Gulf of St. Lawrence till he could see land on each side. Having returned the year following, he reached the Indian town of Hochelaga to the height above which he gave the name of Mont Royal, now Montreal, and passed the winter at the mouth of the St. Charles, where the city of Quebec now stands. Some years later vigorous attempts at colonization were made. The Sieur de Roberval was appointed Viceroy of New France, as the newly-discovered territory had been called, and under his leadership and that of Cartier two hundred colonists were landed, who, after struggling for two winters with the hardships of their situation, had eventually to return.
For the next fifty years no further attempts were made in these regions, except that on the part of the English, Martin Frobisher in 1576, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, explored and took formal possession of Newfoundland and the adjacent coasts. In 1603 Samuel Champlain, a French naval office; sailed up the St. Lawrence to where the city of Montreal now stands, and two years afterwards a settlement was made at Port Royal in Acadia (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) in connection with a French fur trading company, but it was abandoned three years afterwards. At length, in 1608, a French colony under the leadership of Champlain and Des Monts settled at Quebec.
Two years later another English navigator, Henry Hudson, explored the river and the bay which bear his name. In 1627, the fur trade having made considerable development under the guidance of Champlain, Cardinal Richelieu organized the company of the Hundred Associates for the further colonization of New France; but two years after the colony received a check in the capture of Quebec and other settlements by an English expedition under Sir David Kirk. The conquests, however, were soon restored to the French by the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye.
The growth of the colony, however, was slow. At Champlain's death in 1635 it numbered but 250 Europeans, and in 1663 was still under 2000. The most formidable foes of the colonist. were the Iroquois Indians, who swarmed round the settlements rooting up the mission stations of the French, Jesuits, and pursuing the fugitives to the very walls of Quebec fort. In 1663, Colbert being at the head of affairs in France, fresh supplies of emigrants and a strong body of troops were sent out to Canada. The Iroquois found it advisable to make peace, and the soldiers, turning colonists, received grants of land under a kind of feudal tenure, their seigniors being often their former officers. Under the governorship of Count de Frontenac the explorations of Jesuit missionaries, and of the adventurers Joliet and La Salle, opened up the regions of the Mississippi and the ' Great West;' but the French generally preferred an adventurous life as coureurs de bois and trappers to the solid pursuit. of agriculture. In 1682 a new war with the Iroquois broke out, in which the colonists, at first successful, latterly suffered severely, receiving a crushing blow in the massacre of Lachine, when 1200 Iroquois descended on the island of Montreal, liswd the village of Lachine, and massacred its inhabitants.
The French colonists had scarcely recovered from this blow, which practically reduced their dominion to the military posts along the St. Lawrence, when war broke out between France and England, involving them in a strife with the British settlers in New England. The French struck the first blow by the burning of the British settlement at Corlaer (now Schenectady) and the massacre of its inhabitants. The British colonists retaliated; but the Peace of Ryswick put an end to the war without altering the position of the parties. In 1702 a new conflict arose, terminating in 1713 with the Peace of Utrecht, by which the British obtained Acadia, Newfoundland, and the regions around Hudson Bay, France retaining Canada, Cape Breton, &c. The thirty years of peace which followed was virtually a testing period for the colonizing capacities of the two nations. The French did not altogether neglect industrial development; they laid the foundation of ship-building at Quebec, encouraged the fur trade and other industries; but in general their colonists lacked the qualifications for agricultural and other settled pursuits. The British colonists, on the other hand, stuck to agriculture, and reclaimed every year great tracts of forest land. As a natural consequence their population rapidly increased, and when the final struggle began, the British colonies in America numbered three millions of prosperous inhabitants against some sixty thousand French colonists hampered by feudal tenures, commercial monopolies, and a corrupt set of officials. In 1754 the French governor Du Quesne, an energetic and aggressive man, established new military posts in the Ohio Valley, and seized a newly-built British stockade on the spot where Pittsburg now stands. The French were already in occupation and had named the post Fort Du Quesne, when a force, despatched by the governor of Virginia and under the command of Colonel George Washington, arrived to take possession. They were met by a small party of French sent apparently to warn them off the ground. Washington, mistaking their intention, gave the word to fire, with the result that the French leader, Jumonville, was shot Both sides at once prepared for war. The English government sent out two regiments, under General Braddock, a brave but incapable leader, who allowed himself to be surprised and routed near the Monongahela, while marching on Fort Du Quesne at the head of over two thousand men. But an expedition against Crown Point under the leadership of General William Johnson drove the French within their in trenched camp at Ticonderoga. Now happened the incident of the expulsion of the Acadian peasants ( immortalized in Longfellow's Evangeline), of whom about seven thousand still remained in Nova Scotia, mostly on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Although steadily refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the British government, they were on the whole a peaceful and inoffensive community. But a few of the more turbulent spirits took a leading part in the Indian raids on the neighboring British settlements, and were accused, besides, of intriguing with their countrymen at Louisburg, the strong fortress of Cape Breton. On these grounds the council at Halifax resolved upon the expulsion of the whole French population, and the measure was thoroughly carried into effect.
The war in America was but a portion of the great conflict in which Britain was now engaged against France - the Seven Years' War, 1756 - 63. The early part of the struggle was decidedly in favour of the French, whose generals Montcalm, De Levi, and St. Veran were superior in energy and ability to their opponents Loudon and Abercrombie.
But, with the appointment of Pitt as colleague of Newcastle and virtual prime-minister in 1758, the face of affairs changed. Strong reinforcements were cent out under Wolfe, Howe, and Amherst. The fortress of Louisburg, garrisoned by over 3500 soldiers and sailors, fell before Amherst, Boscawen, and Wolfe. General Johnson took Fort Niagara; Washington planted the British flag on the ramparts of Fort Du Quesne; Amherst drove the enemy from Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and the long struggle was at length virtually ended by Wolfe's brilliant capture of Quebec on l3 th Sept. 1759 The French made a stand for a year longer at Montreal; but on 8th September, 1760, the appearance of 16,000 British before its walls forced a capitulation, by which Canada passed for ever from the dominion of France.
Canada was now formally annexed to the British Empire, and in 1774 an act passed in the British Parliament (the Quebec Act) extended the bounds of the province from Labrador to the Mississippi and from the Ohio to the watershed of Hudson Bay. In 1775 the war of the American Revolution broke out, and Canada became the scene of a brief struggle between the royalists and the revolted colonists of New England. The war ended with the recognition of the independence of the American colonies by the Treaty of Versailles, September 3d, 1783, which detached from Canada the region between the Mississippi and the Ohio. On the other hand, thousands of American loyalists sought new homes in Canada; and a large number settled on the St. John River, and had that district erected into the separate province of New Brunswick. More than 10,000 settled in Ontario, where they received liberal grants of land.
In 1791 Canada was divided into two provinces -
Upper Canada or Ontario, and Lower Canada or Quebec - the latter still retaining its seigniorial tenure and French law in civil cases.
In Upper Canada British law and freehold tenure were introduced.
In both Upper and Lower Canada representative institutions, although not responsible government, were established. From 1812 to 1815 war having broken out between Great Britain and America, Canada was again the theatre of a bloody strife, amongst the chief incidents of which were Brock's victory over the Americans on the heights of Queenstown, and the battles of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, Moravian's Town, &c. In 1837 -38 the discontent of the people of Lower Canada with their system of irresponsible government took the form of a rebellion, which was repressed after a brief but sharp struggle. At the same time the failure to secure responsible government brought about an insurrection in Upper Canada under the leadership of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, aided subsequently by a number of American filibusters, but it was quickly suppressed by the energy of the Canadian militia. The Earl of Durham was sent out as governor-general to settle affairs on a just and liberal basis, and made a report on the condition of Canada, which is one of the historical monuments of the country. The year 1839 was distinguished by the celebrated 'Boundary Dispute' between New Brunswick and the United State. After threatening preparations on both sides the quarrel was settled in 1842 by the Ashburton Treaty, which fixed the forty-filth parallel as the boundary line westward from the disputed territory to the St. Lawrence, and the forty-ninth parallel, from the Lake of the Woods to the Pacific, the central line of the great lakes and their connecting rivers completing the boundary. The result of the rebellion of 1837 - 38, and Lord Durham's report, was the reunion in 1841 of Upper and Lower Canada as one province with equal representation in the common legislature, and the practical concession on the part of the mother country of responsible government. Kingston was selected as the new seat of government, and three years afterwards Montreal. In 1848 the Parliament House at Montreal having been burned in a riot, the seat of government was removed to Toronto and Quebec alternately every four years. In 1854 the Reciprocity Treaty with America was concluded, according to which there was to be free change of the products of sea and land, with navigation of the St. Lawrence, the St. John, and the canals, and the use of the inshore fisheries in the British waters to the Americans and of Lake Michigan to the Canadians. In the same year (1854) the bill for the secularization of the clergy reserve lands, originally amounting to one-seventh of the crown territory, and a bill for the abolition of seigniorial tenure in Lower Canada were passed. By the former act the principle of religions equality was practically established in Canada. In 1858 Ottawa was finally selected as the capital of Canada, the choice having been referred to the queen, During these years the of Upper Canada or Ontario rapidly increasing, and now exceeded that of Lower Canada or Quebec by nearly 300,000. Under the old constitution, however, the two provinces had equal representation in the legislature. Hence a demand arose on the part of the Upper Canadians for representation by population. This demand was practically conceded in a scheme of federation of the British North-American colonies approved of by the Canadian parliament at Quebec in 1865 and forwarded to the imperial government for approbation. In 1866 the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States having expired, the government of that country practically refused to renew it except on the most disadvantageous terms for Canada. About the same time a Fenian movement against Canada, originating in the United States, began to be heard of. Gangs of desperadoes, mostly the refuse of the civil war collected near the frontier, and ultimately crossed, occupying some villages and plundering the neighborhood. But the prompt mustering of Canadian volunteers made the filibusters re-cross the frontier in some haste, to be ultimately disarmed and dispersed by United States troops.
In 1867, March 28th, the British North America act for confederation of the colonies passed the imperial parliament. It united Upper Canada or Ontario, Lower Canada or Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, into one territory, to be named the Dominion of Canada. Newfoundland declared against joining the confederation, but with that exception all the British territory north of the United States was gradually included within the Dominion - the Hudson Bay Company territory by purchase in 1868, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873. In 1870 an insurrection of the Red River settlers, who were under apprehensions as to how their titles to their lands 'night be affected by the cession of the Hudson Bay Company's rights, took place under the leadership of Louis Riel, and had to be suppressed by a military expedition under Colonel (later Viscount) Wolseley. To reassure the settlers a part of the newly-purchased territory was erected into an independent province under the name of Manitoba, the unorganized territory beyond receiving the name of the North-western Territory. In 1871 the Washington Treaty arranged that the fisheries of both Canada and the United States should be open to each country for the next twelve years, Canada receiving a compensation, afterwards fixed at five and a half million dollars, for the superior value of its fisheries. In 1884 considerable disaffection was caused amongst the half-breeds and Indians in the Saskatchewan and Assiniboine districts on account of the difficulty of obtaining valid titles to their lands. The discontent at length took shape in an insurrection which Louis Riel was invited to head. The rebels seized the government stores at Duck Lake and induced some of the Indian tribes to co-operate with them, with the result that a massacre of settlers took place at Frog's Lake. Within a few months an expedition under General Middleton, who had under his command several thousand volunteers, suppressed the rebellion. Only the leaders were arrested. Riel was tried and executed at Regina on July 28, 1885. On 7th November of the same year the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, being opened for through traffic the following year. Since 1883, when the Washington Treaty expired, disputes between the American and Canadian fishermen have again been frequent, and several American fishing vessels have been seized on the Canadian coasts, and others prevented from buying bait. A joint British and American commission was instituted in 1887, for the adjustment of differences, but no final settlement has yet been arrived at. The seal fishing in Behring's Sea also caused friction with the United States, but this matter has been amicably settled. The question of separate Roman Catholic schools in Manitoba and the Klondike gold discoveries caused much excitement.