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Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War (1756–63) was the first global war, fought in Europe, India, America, and at sea. In North America, imperial rivals Britain and France struggled for supremacy. In the United States, the conflict is known as the French and Indian War. Early in the war, the French (aided by Canadian militia and Indigenous allies) defeated several British attacks and captured a number of British forts. In 1758, the tide turned when the British captured Louisbourg, followed by Quebec City in 1759 and Montreal in 1760. With the Treaty of Paris of 1763, France formally ceded Canada to the British. The Seven Years’ War therefore laid the bicultural foundations of modern Canada.
This is the full-length entry about the Seven Years’ War. For a plain-language summary, please see Seven Years’ War (Plain-Language Summary).
Sheila Na Geira
According to legend, Sheila Na Geira (also spelled NaGeira and Nagira) was an Irish aristocrat or princess who, 300 or 400 years ago, while travelling between France and Ireland, was captured by a Dutch warship and then rescued by British privateers. She fell in love and was married to one of the privateers, Lieutenant Gilbert Pike. They settled at western Conception Bay. By the early 20th century, the legend was being told as part of Newfoundland’s oral tradition, and has since been popularized by poems, novels, scholarly articles and several plays.
Clement Courtenay Ligoure, physician (born 13 October 1886 in Trinidad; died 23 May 1922 in Halifax, NS). Dr. Ligoure was Halifax’s first Black doctor and an unsung hero of the Halifax Explosion, as he treated hundreds of patients free of charge in his home medical office. Dr. Ligoure was also instrumental in the formation of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s first and only all-Black battalion (see Black Canadians; Caribbean Canadians).
Military Service Act
The Military Service Act became law on 29 August 1917. It was a politically explosive and controversial law that bitterly divided the country along French-English lines. It made all male citizens aged 20 to 45 subject to conscription for military service, through the end of the First World War. As such, the Act had significant political consequences. It led to the creation of Prime Minister Borden’s Union Government and drove most of his French-Canadian supporters into opposition.
York Factory, also known as York Fort, Fort Bourbon by the French, and Kischewaskaheegan by some Indigenous people, was a trading post on the Hayes River near its outlet to Hudson Bay, in what is now Manitoba. During its life, it served as a post and later as a major administrative centre in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trade network. It also bore witness to the largest naval battle to take place in Arctic Canada, the Battle of Hudson Bay in 1697.
Battle of Hudson Bay
The Battle of Hudson Bay took place on 5 September 1697 during King William’s War, the North American theatre of the Nine Years’ War between England and France. Throughout the conflict, French forces tried to capture enemy forts in and around Hudson Bay. One of these was York Factory, a lucrative and important trading post the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) built in 1684. The French captured York Factory in 1694, only to have the English take it back a year later. Then, in 1697, a naval battle ensued in Hudson Bay between English and French forces. Captain Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville succeeded in taking York Factory for the French. The fort was later transferred back to the British after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)
The Conquest of New France
The Conquest (La Conquête) is a term used to describe the acquisition of Canada by Great Britain during the Seven Years’ War. It also refers to the resulting conditions experienced by Canada’s 60,000 to 70,000 French-speaking inhabitants and numerous Indigenous groups. French forces at Quebec City surrendered to British forces on 18 September 1759, a few days after the crucial Battle of the Plains of Abraham. French resistance ended in 1760 with the capitulation of Montreal. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris surrendered New France to Britain. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 introduced assimilative policies that ultimately failed. They were replaced by the provisions of the Quebec Act of 1774. Although it helped spark the American Revolutionary War (1775–83), the Act also granted Canadians enviable conditions that resulted in generations of relative stability.
Fur Trade Route Networks
Throughout the period of the historical fur trade (early 17th to the mid-19th century), water routes were the natural “highways” of First Nations trappers and European fur traders. Water trading networks connected Indigenous societies from the Atlantic Ocean, along the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes, and then on towards the Hudson Bay watershed. North America’s waterborne geography facilitated intracontinental travel, enabled European expansion and settlement into Indigenous North America, and shaped the contours of Euro-Indigenous relations in the context of the fur trade. These extensive and interconnected systems of rivers, lakes and overland trails criss-crossed Indigenous territories and had been used for generations. At the height of the fur trade, the principal canoe route extended westward from the Island of Montreal through the Great Lakes, and from the northwestern shore of Lake Superior over the height of land into the Hudson Bay watershed. From the Lake Winnipeg basin, Indigenous trappers and European traders fanned out towards the Western Prairies via the Assiniboine, Qu’Appelle and Souris rivers, towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains via the North and South branches of the Saskatchewan River, and finally towards the Athabasca Country via the Sturgeon-weir River and the Methye Portage.
The Rush-Bagot Agreement (or Rush-Bagot Treaty) was signed in 1817 by Acting Secretary of State Richard Rush and Sir Charles Bagot, British minister in Washington. The treaty reduced the number of military ships on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain and helped secure the Canadian-American border.
The Underground Railroad was a secret network of abolitionists (people who wanted to abolish slavery). They helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. The Underground Railroad was the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America. It brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (now Canada).
This is the full-length entry about the Underground Railroad. For a plain language summary, please see The Underground Railroad (Plain-Language Summary).
North-West Mounted Police
The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) was the forerunner of Canada's iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Created after Confederation to police the frontier territories of the Canadian West, the NWMP ended the whiskey trade on the southern prairies and the violence that came with it. They helped the federal government suppress the North-West Resistance and brought order to the Klondike Gold Rush. The NWMP pioneered the enforcement of federal law in the West, and the Arctic, from 1873 until 1920.
Editorial: The Indomitable Bluenose
As a symbol of Atlantic Canada and the golden age of sail, the Bluenose has no peer. She was launched in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, 26 March 1921. Built entirely of Nova Scotia wood (except for the Oregon pine needed for the masts), Bluenose bobbed high in the water but settled down to her beautiful line as the ballast was poured in. When the finishing touches were being applied, the shipwright was asked, "What is this one going to be like?" "She will be all right, but she is a bit different to most vessels," was the understated reply.
Repatriation of Artifacts
Most Indigenous ethnology collections found in Canadian museums today were gathered (and sometimes confiscated) by missionaries, government agents, amateur and professional collectors and anthropologists such as Edward Sapir and Marius Barbeau during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, many Indigenous nations are requesting that these items be returned to their true home.
COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)
COVID-19 has a negative affect on respiration. Respiration means breathing. COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It appeared in 2019. In approximately three years about 759 million people around the world had COVID-19. In Canada, about 4.6 million people had COVID-19. Around 51,447 died in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the most dangerous pandemics in world history.
This article is a plain-language summary of COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada.
The 1215 agreement between King John of England and his barons provided the foundation for English common law, which spread throughout the English-speaking world. Magna Carta is the first example of a king of England consenting to written limits on his power drafted by his subjects. The Magna Carta (or Great Charter) informs the legal system in English Canada, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Numbered Treaties (Plain-Language Summary)
The Numbered Treaties are a series of 11 treaties. A treaty is an agreement between two or more nations. The Numbered Treaties were signed by the Canadian government and Indigenous people. All 11 treaties were signed between 1871 and 1921. The Numbered Treaties cover parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario. They also cover portions of Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
The treaties provided the Canadian government with land. The government wanted land for industrial development and white settlement. In exchange, the government promised Indigenous people special rights and benefits. These treaty terms are controversial and contested. The Numbered Treaties have ongoing legal, social, and economic impacts on Indigenous communities. (See also Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)
(This is a plain-language summary of the Numbered Treaties. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Numbered Treaties.)
1492 Land Back Lane
1492 Land Back Lane refers to the site of a protest in Caledonia, Ontario, in July 2020, where Haudenosaunee protestors – known as land defenders – occupied a housing development they argue stood on unceded Six Nations territory. 1492 Land Back Lane is part of a long-standing issue between the Haudenosaunee, settlers and the government over land rights in Caledonia, dating back to the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784.
Battle of Ridgeway
The Battle of Ridgeway is also known as the Battle of Lime Ridge or Limestone Ridge. It was fought on the morning of 2 June 1866, near the village of Ridgeway and the town of Fort Erie in Canada West (present-day Ontario). Around 850 Canadian soldiers clashed with 750 to 800 Fenians — Irish American insurgents who had crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo, New York. It was the first industrial-era battle to be fought exclusively by Canadian troops and led entirely by Canadian officers. It was the last battle fought in Ontario against a foreign invasion force. The battlefield was designated a National Historic Site in 1921.
The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was a British luxury passenger liner that sank on its maiden transatlantic voyage. At approximately 11:40 p.m. on 14 April, 1912, about 740 km south of Newfoundland, Titanic’s starboard (right) side scraped along an iceberg. The collision ruptured several watertight compartments. Water poured in, but the first lifeboat was not launched until an hour later. Approximately two-thirds of the liner’s passengers and crew died. Titanic’s sinking was one of the worst marine disasters in history and remains firmly embedded in popular culture today.