DK History: History Of Canada

The first people in Canada came from Asia 70,000 to 12,000 years ago, via a land bridge now covered by the Bering Sea. The “First Nations” spread across Canada, obtaining food by hunting, gathering, and farming. Around 6000 BC, the Inuit settled in the north. By the time Europeans reached Canada, the native peoples had well-developed trading patterns, societies, and cultures.

70,000–10,000 BC Nomadic hunters arrive in Canada

c. 6000 BC Inuit arrive in Canada

c. AD 1000 Leif Eriksson and other Vikings visit Labrador and L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland

1003 Vikings establish a colony in Labrador (Vinland), but it is abandoned two years later

1497 John Cabot’s first voyage to North America; Cape Breton Island claimed for Henry VII of England

1534 Jacques Cartier visits the Strait of Belle Isle (Newfoundland) and charts the Gulf of St. Lawrence

1608 Samuel de Champlain, “Father of New France,” founds Quebec City, the first permanent European settlement in Canada

1610 Henry Hudson explores Hudson Bay

1642 Montreal is founded

1670 The Hudson Bay Company is founded by royal charter and granted trade rights over all territory draining into Hudson Bay

1713 The Treaty of Utrecht confirms British possession of Newfoundland, Hudson Bay, and Acadia (except Cape Breton Island)

1754 Start of French and Indian War in America. Marks the final phase in the struggle between France and Britain in North America

1755 Britain expels the Acadians from Nova Scotia, scattering them throughout her North American colonies

1759 General Wolfe defeats the French on the Plains of Abraham and takes the city of Quebec for the British

1763 France cedes its North American possessions to Britain in the Treaty of Paris

1774 The Quebec Act provides for British criminal law but restores French civil law and guarantees religious freedom for Roman Catholics

1775–76 American revolutionary forces capture Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point; Quebec City withstands a five-month American siege until the appearance of a British fleet

1791 The Constitutional Act divides Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada

1792 George Vancouver begins his explorations of the Pacific Coast

1818 Canada’s border with the United States is defined as the 49th Parallel from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains

1841 Act of Union unites Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada

1847 90,000 immigrants, mostly from Ireland, arrive in Canada. 5,000 die of cholera while in quarantine; 15,000 die after moving to Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, and Kingston

1849 The boundary of the 49th Parallel is extended to the Pacific Ocean

1867 Britain’s North American colonies are united to become the Dominion of Canada and Sir John A. Macdonald becomes Canada’s first prime minister

1870 The Red River Rebellion, in which the Métis (led by Louis Riel) resist Canadian authority in the northwest of the country, is put down

1885 Riel leads the Northwest Rebellion. The Métis are defeated at Batoche, and Riel is hanged for treason. The last spike of the transcontinental railway is put in place

1895 Gold is discovered in the Klondike River, prompting the biggest gold rush in history. Nearly 2.4 million settlers arrive in the country in several waves of immigration

1899 The first Canadian troops ever sent overseas are dispatched to the Boer War

1903 Canada loses the Alaska boundary dispute with the US

1914 Britain declares war on Germany, automatically drawing Canada into the conflict in Europe. The War Measures Act orders all German and Austro-Hungarian Canadians to carry identity cards

1916 The government of Manitoba grants women the right to vote and hold office

1917 Munitions ship explodes in Halifax harbor, killing 2,000 and injuring 9,000. Income tax is introduced as a temporary wartime measure

1918 Canadians break through the German trenches at Amiens beginning “Canada’s Hundred Days.” Armistice ends World War I

1922 Canadians Charles Best, Frederick Banting, and John MacLeod win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin

1929 Great Depression

1931 The Statute of Westminster grants Canada full legislative authority

1935 Ten percent of Canadians rely on welfare or “relief.” The “On to Ottawa Trek” by young men from government work camps ends in a riot at Regina

1939 Canada declares war on Germany

1942 Canadians of Japanese descent are moved inland from the coast of British Columbia as “security risks”; their property is confiscated

1944 Canadian troops push farther inland than any other Allied units on D-Day

1945 World War II ends. One million Canadians fought in World War II; 42,042 were killed. Canada joins the UN. Canada’s first nuclear reactor goes online in Chalk River, Ontario

1950 Canadian troops participate in the Korean War as part of a UN force

1952 Canada’s first television station begins broadcasting in Montreal and Toronto

1960 The separation crisis begins in Quebec. Supporters of the Parti Québécois call for independence from a federal Canada

1965 Canada’s new flag is inaugurated after a bitter political debate

1967 Montreal plays host to Expo ’67

1976 The Olympic games are held in Montreal

1980 Quebec votes “no” to separatism in a referendum

1982 Canada gains a new Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The charter entrenches English/French bilingualism within federal institutions and provides for minority language education across the country

1988 Calgary hosts the XV Winter Olympics

1989 The Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the US goes into effect

1991 Canadian forces join the battle to drive Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Yukon First Nations members sign an agreement on land claims and self-government

1995 People of Quebec vote by a narrow majority to remain part of Canada

1999 The Inuit territory of Nunavut, which covers one-fifth of Canada’s landmass, is established

2000 At the largest state funeral in the country’s history, Canada bids farewell to ex-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

2003 The Parti Québécois is ousted by Quebec’s Liberal party in the provincial elections



1867 New Brunswick
1867 Nova Scotia
1867 Ontario
1867 Quebec
1870 Manitoba
1871 British Columbia
1873 Prince Edward Island
1898 Yukon Territory
1905 Alberta
1905 Northwest Territories
1905 Saskatchewan
1949 Newfoundland
1999 Nunavut Territory
Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley