History of Canada


The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago, to present day. The native Indian people arrived thousands of years ago, across the Bering land bridge. With the arrival of European settlers, the world of the native population began to change, and many tribes did not survive the European contact, and died out completely.

Pre-history ended with the arrival of the explorers in the 1490s. The French and British expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America to Britain in 1763, after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces.

What ensued was a process of increasing autonomy from the British Empire, which became official with the Statute of Westminster in 1931, and was completed in the Canada Act of 1982, severing legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada then constituted of ten provinces, three territories, and was governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

When the American Revolution ended, British attention in North America moved north consolidating various Canadian territories and uniting them. It was an age of great explorers such as Mackenzie, Thompson Fraser, and James Cook. This growth and consolidation was challenged by the United States during the war of 1812. But the newly formed country of Canada continued to resist the various American invasions.

One of the most traumatic events for Canada, and the world was the First World War. The golden era before the war was a time of scientific discovery, social reform, and artistic innovation. When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Canada, along with Europe, lost an entire generation and some of its finest youth. But out of this upheaval and disruption came one of Canada's finest moments and perhaps the first that defined it as a nation – The Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The end of the war brought a period or readjustment, an outbreak of influenza, a new view of values, and the nationalistic euphoria of victory.

October 1929 came as a shock to the Wall Street and to the economy of North America. Both United States and Canada sunk into the Great Depression. Along with this economic apocalypse came a climatic drought which destroyed farmlands. This drought lead to dried up land, and eventually much of the top soil blew away.

Although Canada had gained control of its own foreign policy in 1931 from Great Britain, it was unreservedly committed to backing the Empire. As tensions in Europe rose in 1938 and 1939, Canada also prepared for war. Canada was to become the great training base for Empire countries and its navy grew to be the third largest in the world by the end of the World War II.

WWII changed Canada in many ways…It ended the depression, pulled Canada onto the word stage, and set the stage for the longest and strongest economic boom in the nation’s history. Confidence and optimism were the watch words by 1945.

Last Updated on: January 4th, 2018