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Canada’s History

Aside from being home to a myriad of beautiful natural attractions, Canada also boasts of having one of the most colorful histories among the countries in the world.

The history of Canada dates back to more than 26,000 years ago, when Aboriginal Paleo-Indians discovered the land. They inhabited the land for thousands of years, shaping the systems of trade and social hierarchies as well as forming the basic foundations of civic and monumental architectures in the country. Some of the Aboriginal peoples who lives in Canada would include the First Nations, the Inuit and the Metis.

The civilizations of the Aboriginal peoples, however, were long gone before the first European settlers arrived after the brief settling of the Vikings in Newfoundland around 1000 AD. After that colony failed, the next known attempt at Canadian exploration was in 1497, when Giovanni Caboto, also known as John Cabot, an Italian seafarer explored the Atlantic coast of Canada for England. A couple of decades later, in 1534, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier explored Canada for his country. In 1603, another French explorer named Samuel de Champlain arrived, In 1605, he established the first permanent settlements of Europeans at Port Royal and a few years later, at Quebec City.

The French colonists of New France then settled in different areas of the country including in the Saint Lawrence River valley, Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi watershed.

Around 1610, the English established the fishing outposts in Newfoundland and later on established the Thirteen Colonies. Between the years 1689 and 1763, a series of several Intercolonial Wars, about four, erupted. In 1713, mainland Nova Scotia came under the British rule through the Treaty of Ulrecht and in 1763, the Treaty of Paris ceded Canada to Britain.

The Royal Proclamation in 1763 separated the Province of Quebec from New France and made the Cape Breton Island a part of Nova Scotia. in 1769, Prince Edward Island, formerly known as St. John’s Island, became a separate colony. To avoid conflict in Quebec, the Quebec Act of 1774 was passed by the British. This expanded the territory of Quebec to Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes. It also re-established the French language, the French civil law and the Catholic faith there. This fueled the anger of many residents which caused the American Revolution.

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris recognized American independence and then ceded territories which are to the south of the Great Lakes. About 50,000 United Empire Loyalists left the US to go to Canada. New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia because of a reorganization of the Loyalist settlements which are in the Maritimes. In order to accommodate the English-speaking Loyalists who are in Quebec, the province was divided through the Constitutional Act of 1791 into the French-speaking Lower Canada (which later became Quebec) and the English-speaking Upper Canada (which later became Ontario). Each of these regions were granted of their own elected Legislative Assembly.

In 1867, Canada was formed into a federal dominion of 4 provinces. Today, the country consists of three territories and ten provinces, and is governed as a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The ten provinces would be Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, while the three territories would be the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.