Browse "History"

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Social History

Social history is a way of looking at how a society organizes itself and how this changes over time. The elements that make up Canada’s social history include climate and geography, as well as the transition to industrialization and urbanization.

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Sod Houses

Sod houses, or “soddies,” were a common style of dwelling built in the Prairies during the second half of the 19th century. Soddies were small structures cheaply built out of blocks of sod and rudimentary house fittings. Sod refers to grass and the soil beneath it that is held together by the grass’s roots. Although the term “sod house” is primarily associated with Canadian and American structures built during westward expansion, the structures found their architectural roots in Indigenous and Norse practices. Sod houses have come to symbolize the hardship of homestead life, despite shacks and log cabins being the primary form of housing.

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South Sea Company

South Sea Company, chartered in 1711 by the British Parliament, with a monopoly over the W coast of the Americas to a distance of 300 leagues out to sea. In 1720 it assumed a large part of the British national debt and almost collapsed that year in a stock market crash known as the South Sea Bubble.

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Sovereignty

Sovereignty is an abstract legal concept. It also has political, social and economic implications. In strictly legal terms, sovereignty describes the power of a state to govern itself and its subjects. In this sense, sovereignty is the highest source of the law. With Confederation and the passage of the British North America Act, 1867, Canada’s Parliament was still legally under the authority of the British Parliament. By 1949, Canada had become fully sovereign in relation to Great Britain. This was due to landmark legislation such as the Statute of Westminster (1931). The Constitution Act, 1982 swept away Britain’s leftover authority. Questions of sovereignty have also been raised by Indigenous peoples in Canada and by separatists in Quebec. The latter, for a time, championed the concept of sovereignty-association.

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Spanish Exploration

Following the global circumnavigation of Magellan's expedition, 1519-22, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V wished to locate a N American strait into Asian waters. The Spaniards possessed information on the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts from Portuguese voyages and from BASQUE fishermen and whalers.

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Spanish-American War

Spanish-American War, the 1898 conflict between the US and Spain, during which the US removed Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines from Spain, annexing the last 3.

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St Albans Raid

St Albans Raid, one of several incidents heightening tensions between Great Britain and the US during the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. On 19 Oct 1864 a party of Confederate agents based in Canada raided the town of St Albans, Vt.

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Sutil and Mexicana

In 1792, after exploratory voyages by Spaniards Manuel Quimper (1790) and Francisco de Eliza (1791), the extent of Juan de Fuca Strait remained a mystery. Some still believed the strait held the entry to the fabled Northwest Passage.

Editorial

The "Other" Last Spike

The driving of the last spike may have been the great symbolic act of Canada’s first century, but it was actually a gloomy spectacle. The cash-starved Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) couldn’t afford a splashy celebration, and so only a handful of dignitaries and company men convened on the dull, grey morning of 7 November 1885 to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railway.

Editorial

The 1704 Raid on Deerfield

On the morning of February 29, 1704, a French and First Nations army fell upon the sleeping frontier village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The raiders had spent a fireless winter night camped across the Deerfield River, —cold, hungry and tired.

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The American Response to the Canadian Rebellions of 1837–38

By December 1837 and January 1838, rebels from Upper and Lower Canada had suffered heavy defeats at the hands of British and Loyalist forces. (See: Rebellion in Lower Canada; Rebellion in Upper Canada.) They fled to the United States to seek financial and military assistance. The American public was aware that there had been armed conflicts in the Canadas. Many were even initially supportive. However, the presence of Canadian rebels on American soil forced many to question American involvement. The growing tensions with Great Britain over the Caroline Affair complicated matters. The creation of the Republic of Texas and the fight over the abolition of slavery were also factors. In January 1838, US President Martin Van Buren took steps to ensure America’s neutrality in the Canadian rebellions.