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Canada History

Canada - national flagCanada - national flag

Before 1965 a red tablecloth was used with the country's coat of arms and with Union Jack in the upper inner corner. This flag after the British pattern was not favored by the French-oriented part of the population, and many years of discussion ended when the flag with the maple leaf was adopted in 1965. The colors come from the lower field of the coat of arms, which has been red and white since 1921. Ahornbladet has been a Canadian emblem since the 1700's.

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Canada - History

For Canada's prehistory, see North America - prehistory as well as Indians and Inuit.

Archaeological excavations at L'Anse aux Meadows on Newfoundland have shown that northerners from Greenland around the year 1000 were probably the first Europeans to enter present-day Canada. From 1497, when Giovanni Caboto sailed Newfoundland, and Jacques Cartier in the following century explored St. Bay of Lawrence, the interest in Canada was determined by the Europeans' search for the shortest sea route to the Southeast Asian kingdoms, the Northwest Passage. Reports of the rich fish stocks on the banks of Newfoundland quickly drew hundreds of European ships to the area each summer. The name Canada was given by Cartier in 1535 to the area around Quebec, and the French were the first to settle permanently in the early 1600's.

Canada History

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French colony 1603-1763

Samuel de Champlain became the first governor of the Nouvelle France. He sat from 1603-24, and in 1604 the Port Royal (now Annapolis in Nova Scotia) was founded, which became the center of French Acadia. In 1608, Champlain founded Québec as a fur trading station, and this city became the starting point for the French colonization of Canada.

The first French settlers were dependent on the goodwill of the Indians and therefore allied with a number of Native American tribes, Algonquin, who fought against Iroquois over the trade in skins and furs. The French Indian allies became intermediaries in the trade which was the Europeans' main interest in Nouvelle France. In the first half of the 1600's. also began a zealous Catholic missionary work among the often reluctant Indians, and the Jesuits' reports have provided important information about the Indians and the meeting between the two cultures. In 1642, Montréal was founded as a mission station, and the city developed into a center for the fur trade.

From 1627 the colonial leadership was placed in the hands of a newly established trading company, and in 1663 the Nouvelle France was made a province directly under the French crown. Around 1660, the colony had approximately 2000 residents, but under the leadership of the royal intendant Jean Talon (approximately 1625-94) the population grew and was approximately 10,000 in 1680. The fur hunt prompted further exploration of the country, and during the 1600's and 1700's. came huge tracts of land under French influence; they stretched from St. Lawrence Bay across the Great Lakes to Manitoba and down to Louisiana west of the British New England colonies.

As a result of European demand for beaver skins in particular for the hat industry, the British established the trading company Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. The company gained royal monopoly on trade in the vast area drained by Hudson Bay, which the British had claimed since Henry Hudson's discovery in 1610. Soon there were trading posts at the Hudson Bay estuaries, and the Hudson's Bay Company established a network of stations that would extend north to Arctic Canada and west to the Pacific Ocean. Thus began a British-French rivalry over the resources of northwestern Canada. In addition to trading, Hudson's Bay Company was also tasked with continuing to search for the Northwest Passage.

Nouvelle France, which slowly developed in the 1600's-1700's, was a stable society, and survival struggles against Indians and Britons had strengthened the colony. However, it was primarily political conditions in Europe that came to determine the future of the area. At the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, Acadia fell to Britain, which called the colony Nova Scotia. In the years 1755-63, over 7000 of the French-speaking residents were deported as they would not swear allegiance to the British; many, however, later returned. One group, the so-called cajuns, still live today as a minority in the US state of Louisiana. In 1758 the great fort Louisbourg fell at the entrance to St. Bay of Lawrence, and the following year the British took over under James Wolfeby Quebec. At the conclusion of the peace in Paris after the Seven Years' War 1756-63, France had to cede its territories in North America; the areas east of the Mississippi River went to Britain, while the area west of the river went to Spain.

British Colony 1763-1867

With the so-called Québec Act, they became approximately 60,000 French-Canadians in 1774 secured the right to their own institutions, including their own judiciary, their own language and their own religion. The liberal treatment of the French-Canadians must be seen in the context of the unrest in Britain's 13 North American colonies, which in 1776 led to the American Revolution, whereby in 1783 the United States gained its independence. This event became of paramount importance to Canada's population composition, which had hitherto been Native American and French with scattered British settlements, particularly in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. To be able to receive approximately 40,000 refugees from the new American states, so-called loyalists, who had remained faithful to the British throne, were established in 1784 the colony of New Brunswick, and in 1791 a division of Canada was carried out: Lower Canada (corresponding to the present province of Quebec) with a French Catholic majority and Upper Canada (corresponding to the present province of Ontario) with a British Protestant majority. Thus, from 1791, British North America consisted of the colonies of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Upper and Lower Canada, as well as the area to the north and west, which was controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company. The United States wanted to expand north early, but could not overcome a united front of Britons, Canadians, and Indians. The American-English War of 1812 became the last open war between the two countries. The American troops were repulsed, but the ever-stronger United States came time and time again to influence developments in Canada.

The victory had serious consequences for the Indians in the area. They were no longer needed as allies and, despite agreements on rights and land, had to see their conditions deteriorate. Then Canada's economy in the 1800's. increasingly based on agriculture, forestry and mining, their "benefit" to the new society was minimal. The result was a marginalization, which only in our days shows signs of change.

After the end of the Napoleonic Wars and in line with the mechanization of agriculture, immigration from Britain increased. Around 1800, the population was approximately 430,000, in 1832 approximately 1.4 million, and by 1861 it had grown to over 3 million.

Despite the cultivation and construction of canals and railways, Canada was in the 1800's. in comparison with the United States backward and conservative. The limited autonomy which was introduced in the individual colonies gave only the well-to-do influence. Demands for greater co-determination therefore prevailed, and in 1837 revolts broke out in Upper and Lower Canada. The unrest was put down, and in 1841 the Upper and Lower Canada were reunited under a Governor-General and a Legislative Assembly.

The unstable political conditions combined with economic stagnation in the 1860's, unofficial US attacks on the British colonies and the fear of an unemployed American army after the end of the American Civil War gave rise to plans to unite the British colonies in North America into a federal state..

British Dominion 1867-1931

With the entry into force of the British North America Act 1.7.1867, the Canadian federal state was formed under the name Dominion of Canada. The federation became Ottawa as the capital and seat of the federal government and consisted from the beginning of the four provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. As early as 1846, through British diplomacy, agreement had been reached on the border with the United States. However, the border with Alaska (USA since 1867) was not finally determined until the early 1900's. after a bitter diplomatic dispute.

The Dominion of Canada was given the right to pursue independent domestic policy, and with the exception of the Liberal government 1873-78 under Alexander Mackenzie (1822-92), the Conservatives held power until 1896. The governments under John A. Macdonald (1867-73 and 1878-91) sought to consolidate Canada's position through a protectionist customs policy vis - à - vis the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as through the inclusion and colonization of new territories. With the acquisition of Hudson's Bay Company's territory in 1869, Canada multiplied its size. The huge area was named the Northwest Territories, and in 1870 the province of Manitoba was formed with the center of the Hudson's Bay Company's settlement on the Red River; in 1873 the legendary Canadian Police Corps North-West Mounted Police was established, which maintained law and order in the vast area. In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed across Canada to promote colonization. In 1871 British Columbia joined and in 1873 Prince Edward Island.

The violent advance to the northwest also had major costs. In the years 1860-70, the bison were exterminated from the American and Canadian prairies. As a result, both Indians, who had lived off the large flocks for centuries, and méstizer (the mixed population of Canada), who were also dependent on hunting and had supplied Hudson's Bay Company with food, came under great pressure. It led in 1870 and 1884 to Franco-Indian uprisings under the leadership of the French-speaking Catholic Louis Riel. Both uprisings were crushed, and in 1885 Riel was sentenced to death for treason and hanged. The antagonisms between French and English speakers in western Canada and Quebec were thereby exacerbated.

After the election of 1896, government power passed to the Liberals under Wilfrid Laurier. The government introduced tariff concessions to Britain and continued the work of populating the great country. Offers of almost free land and free transportation attracted many. In 1905, two new provinces were established, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and Canada's population increased from approximately 5.7 million in 1901 to approximately 7.2 million in 1911.

The Conservative government of 1911-20 under Robert Borden strongly supported Canada's Commonwealth with Britain. The common monarchy and arrangement of state institutions after the British pattern ensured that the ties remained strong, while Canada asserted its independence. During the Boer War 1899-1902, approximately 7,000 Canadians on the British side, and in World War I Canada participated with 600,000 men and suffered heavy losses; in 1917 compulsory military service was introduced. After the war, Canada became an independent member of the League of Nations.

In 1921, suffrage was introduced for women, and the same year William Lyon Mackenzie King became head of a liberal government during a period of strong economic prosperity. However, the boom was abruptly interrupted by the stock market crash of 1929, and the crisis of the 1930's hit Canada particularly hard.

In 1931, the British Parliament adopted the so-called Westminster Statute, which established the position of Canada and the other dominions as independent nations.

Independent nation from 1931

After an election victory in 1930, the Conservative Party (from 1942 Progressive Conservative Party, PCP) under Richard Bedford Bennett (1870-1947) took over government power. Bennett's government sought to address the economic crisis with a protectionist policy. At the 1932 Ottawa Conference, lower tariffs were agreed within the British Empire. In 1935, Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party (LP) came to power again, and in 1936, Canada entered into a trade agreement with the United States, which in the long run eased the economic situation.

At the outbreak of World War II, Canada immediately sided with the Allies. In 1944, pressure for conscription gave rise to protests in French-speaking Québec; however, the war also reinforced the notion of a particular Canadian identity. After the war, Canada participated in the building of the UN and in 1949 was a co-founder of NATO. That same year, Newfoundland became a Canadian province. 1950-53 Canada participated in the Korean War.

Heads of government
1867-73 John A. Macdonald
1873-78 Alexander Mackenzie
1878-91 John A. Macdonald
1891-92 John J. Abbott
1892-94 John Thompson
1894-96 Mackenzie Bowell
1896 Charles Tupper
1896-1911 Wilfrid Laurier
1911-20 Robert Borden
1920-21 Arthur Meighen
1921-26 WL Mackenzie King
1926 Arthur Meighen
1926-30 WL Mackenzie King
1930-35 Richard Bedford Bennett
1935-48 WL Mackenzie King
1948-57 Louis S. Saint Laurent
1957-63 John Diefenbaker
1963-68 Lester B. Pearson
1968-79 Pierre E. Trudeau
1979-80 Joe Clark
1980-84 Pierre E. Trudeau
1984 John Turner
1984-93 Brian Mulroney
1993 Kim Campbell
1993-2003 Jean Chrétien
2003-06 Paul Martin
2006- Stephen Harper

In 1948, Mackenzie King was replaced by party colleague Louis Stephen Saint Laurent, and the LP held government power until 1957, when the PCP under John Diefenbaker won the election. In the period 1963-79, the LP again formed government, first under Lester B. Pearson and from 1968 under Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

In the province of Quebec, an increasingly strong national movement arose among French-Canadians in the 1960's. Led by the LP, the province experienced a "quiet revolution" that removed the power of the church, reformed the education system and strengthened the self-esteem of Quebecers. In 1968, the party Parti québecois (PQ) was formed, whose goal was the province's secession from the federal state.

With the exception of a brief period (1979-80), Trudeau was Prime Minister 1968-84. During this period, the position of the French language was strengthened within the state administration, just as the individual provinces were called upon to introduce the language rights in their constitutions. However, these initiatives were not enough for the French-Canadians in Quebec, where in 1976 the PQ gained government power and in 1977 made French the only official language. In 1980, the provincial government proposed to open negotiations with the federal government on Québec's independence; however, the proposal was rejected in a referendum. As the only province of Canada, Québec has not been able to approve Canada's current 1982 Constitution because it does not give Québec a desired special status.

In 1984, the long liberal term of office was broken when the Conservative Brian Mulroney took over the post of Prime Minister after a major election victory. In 1988, Canada and the United States signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into force in 1989, as in 1994 with the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement.(NAFTA) was expanded with Mexico. The free trade issue gave rise to great political disagreement, but the biggest political problem in Canada was the constitutional issue. A 1992 referendum rejected an amendment to the Constitution recognizing Québec's special status in terms of culture and legal tradition, and growing demands for independence from separatists in Québec. Separatism subsided significantly after a 1995 referendum on the province's partial secession resulted in a narrow no. In 1999, negotiations between the federal government and the Inuit people on compensation for lost land and increased autonomy came to an end with the creation of the territory of Nunavut with extensive autonomy.

 

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