Canada History and Politics

The first inhabitants of Canada

Canada was first settled 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. The oldest traces can be found in the Yukon, in the north-westernmost area of ​​Canada. America was settled across the Bering Strait, where there was a land bridge from Asia at that time. The indigenous peoples advanced from north to south. From around 7500 BC Chr. One finds evidence of humans in Ontario. It wasn’t until 3500 BC. The ancestors of the Inuit came via the same route to what is now the arctic region of Canada.

The first human inhabitants of America are also called Paleo-Indians. They were hunters and gatherers. From 8000 BC The Archaic phase followed. Indian peoples developed, including the Cree south of Hudson Bay, the Algonquin on the Ottawa River, the Innu on the northern Saint Lawrence River, and the Beothuk in Newfoundland. Many Indian tribes moved around and lived in tents. Around 2000 BC The tribes became settled and lived, for example, in long houses.

Vikings, John Cabot and Jacques Cartier

Around the year 1000 Vikings came and settled for a short time on the northern end of Newfoundland.

After them, the navigator John Cabot was the first European to reach the North American mainland in 1497.

In 1534 the French Jacques Cartier arrived. He explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence and eventually sailed the St. Lawrence River. He declared the area under French ownership. He also had contact with the Indians who lived here. He named a mountain above the Iroquois village of Hochelaga Mont Royal (“royal mountain”). This later became the name of today’s city of Montreal. Indians also gave him directions to the village of Stadacona and used the word kanata: village. Cartier then named the whole area that and later became the word Canada.

French colonial rule

The actual colonization of Canada did not begin until 1603. Samuel de Champlain established the first permanent settlements. In 1608 the name New France was used for the French colony. The area has now been explored and settled from the east. The area even extended to the Gulf of Mexico. Trade, especially in furs, flourished.

But Great Britain was also interested in North America. Several wars broke out between the two countries. In 1763 France finally had to surrender almost all of its territories in North America to Great Britain after losing the Seven Years War. It kept only the west of the island of Hispaniola (today’s Haiti). It was no longer owned in Canada.

British rule

Several British colonies emerged in what is now Canada, including the province of Québec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Today they are provinces of the state of Canada. Because there were many more French people living here than British people, French remained a predominant language.

With the victory of the Thirteen Colonies’ War of Independence and the establishment of the United States, the areas south of the Great Lakes fell to the United States in 1783. The Canadian provinces remained British. In 1791, the province of Québec was divided into a French-speaking Lower Canada (on the northern St. Lawrence River) and an English-speaking Upper Canada (above the Great Lakes). They existed until 1841. Then they were combined again to form the Province of Canada. In 1867 they became the provinces of Québec and Ontario.

In 1846 the United States and the British agreed on the 49th parallel as the border. This has remained the case to this day, only with the Great Lakes does the border differ. The colony of Vancouver Island was founded in western Canada in 1849, and British Columbia in 1858.

In order to counteract efforts by the USA to expand, it was decided in 1867 to found a Canadian Confederation. Initially there were four provinces: Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Canada became a Dominion of Great Britain and was given a certain independence. To get more information on Canada and North America, check relationshipsplus.

By the end of the 19th century, the present-day provinces were essentially attached to the country. Newfoundland did not join the Confederation and was a separate Dominion, but then also joined Canada in 1949. Nunavut was part of the Northwest Territories until 1999, when it became a province of its own.


In 1931 Great Britain issued the Statute of Westminster, thereby giving its Dominions independence. The states became a loose association of independent states, the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is the British King or Queen, he or she is represented by a Governor General.

In 1982, the Canada-law was passed (Canada Act), picked up the all ties Canada to Britain. The long-time Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had advocated this. His son Justin Trudeau has held this position since 2015.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the province of Québec sought independence. A referendum rejected this in 1980. A second survey only narrowly failed in 1995.

Overall, Canada developed from an agricultural state to an industrial nation and a welfare state in the 20th century.

Canada History