European fishermen and fur traders visited Canada from the 16th century onward. They bought furs from the local people, who were related to the other native peoples of North America. France established colonies in Canada in 1608 (Quebec) and 1642 (Montreal), while the British claimed a vast territory around Hudson Bay after 1670.
The French and British fought each other for Canada. Both wanted its furs, lumber, and rich fishing grounds. The French were defeated in 1759, and Canada became a British colony four years later. Many American colonists who had remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution fled to Canada in the 1780s.
In 1791, the areas of Canada settled by Europeans were divided between Upper (English-speaking) and Lower (French-speaking) Canada. These were reunited in 1841. Canada became a self-governing dominion of the British Empire in 1867. Settlement spread westward as Europeans arrived.
This French navigator made three voyages to North America between 1534 and 1541. He was the first European to see the St. Lawrence River and claimed the land for France.