"Have we read our own authors such as Dionne Brand, Afua Cooper and George Elliott Clarke? Do we know that the story of African-Canadians spans four hundred years, and includes slavery, abolition, pioneering, urban growth, segregation, the civil rights movement and a long engagement in civic life?" — Lawrence Hill
France was a colonial power in North America from the early 16th century, the age of European discoveries and fishing expeditions, to the early 19th century, when Napoléon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States. French presence in North America was marked by economic exchanges with Indigenous peoples, but also by conflicts, as the French attempted to control this vast territory. The French colonial enterprise was also spurred by religious motivation as well as the desire to establish an effective colony in the St. Lawrence Valley. From the founding of Québec in 1608 to the ceding of Canada to Britain in 1763, France placed its stamp upon the history of the continent, much of whose lands — including Acadia — lay under its control. Through the use of encyclopedic articles, biographies, exhibits, study guides and searchable timelines, this collection features content related to this history.
It has become common knowledge that the first Thanksgiving in North America was held by Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew in Newfoundland in 1578. There are those — mainly Americans upset by the thought of having their holiday co-opted — who argue that it wasn't a “real” Thanksgiving. I would counter that Frobisher had reason to give thanks, and that giving thanks was an important aspect of Elizabethan society, so it would have been a natural thing for him and his men to do.
Founded in 1779, the North West Company was a major force in the fur trade from the 1780s to 1821. Managed primarily by Highland Scots who migrated to Montréal after 1760, or came as Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, it also drew heavily on French-Canadian labour and experience. The name first described Montréal traders who in 1776 pooled resources to reduce competition among themselves and to resist inland advances of the Hudson’s Bay Company.1
The united Province of Canada — a response to the problems and violence that plagued Lower and Upper Canada in the 1830s — was a 26-year experiment in anglophone-francophone political co-operation. During this time responsible government came to British North America, trade and commerce expanded bringing wealth to the region, and Confederation was ultimately born.
Lower Canada is the southern portion of present-day Québec, existing as a separate British province from 1791 to 1840. In 1791 Britain took the decision to divide the Province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, Upper Canada and Lower Canada were reunited as a single colony, the Province of Canada.
Representation by Population is a political system in which seats are allocated in the House of Commons on the basis of population. It upholds a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy that all votes should be counted equally. "Rep by Pop" was the nickname for a deeply divisive issue among politicians in the Province of Canada during colonial times, and became an important consideration in the lead up to Confederation.
Although the Reform (that is to say liberal) Party swept the constituencies like a broom, the principle that the majority party controls parliament was not yet established. Colonial government was still firmly in the grip of the governor, who was appointed by London.
Upper and Lower Canada were thrown into turmoil from 1837–38, when insurgents mounted rebellions in each colony against the Crown and the political status quo. The revolt in Lower Canada was the more serious and violent of the two. However, both events inspired the pivotal Durham Report, which in turn led to the union of the two colonies (see Act of Union) and the arrival of responsible government — critical events on the road to Canadian nationhood.1
French Canadian militants in Lower Canada took up arms against the British Crown in a pair of insurrections in 1837 and 1838. The twin rebellions, which killed more than 300 people, followed years of tensions between the colony's anglophone minority and the growing, nationalistic aspirations of its francophone majority.2
The Orange Order was a political and religious fraternal society in Canada. From the early 19th century, members proudly defended Protestantism and the British connection while providing mutual aid. The Order had a strong influence in politics, particularly through patronage at the municipal level, and developed a reputation for sectarianism and rioting.
The term Family Compact is an epithet, or insulting nickname, used to describe the network of people who dominated the legislative, bureaucratic, business, religious and judicial centres of power in Upper Canada (Ontario) from the early- to mid-1800s. Members of the Family Compact held largely conservative and loyalist views and were notably against democratic reform and responsible government. By the mid-19th century, immigration, the union of Upper and Lower Canada, and the pressure of various democratic reformers had diminished the Family Compact’s power. The equivalent to the Family Compact in Lower Canada was the Château Clique.
Château Clique, nickname given to the small group of officials, usually members of the anglophone merchant community, including John MOLSON and James MCGILL, who dominated the executive and legislative councils, the judiciary and senior bureaucratic positions of LOWER CANADA until the 1830s.