Great Migration of Canada

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The Great Migration of Canada (also known as the Great Migration from Britain) was a period of high immigration to Canada from 1815 to 1850, involving over 800,000 immigrants.[1] Though Europe was becoming richer through the Industrial Revolution, population growth made the relative number of jobs low, forcing many to look to the New World for economic success, especially Canada and America. [2]

Background[edit]

In the late 18th and early 19th century, there occurred a transition in parts of Great Britain's previously manual-labor-based economy towards machine-based manufacturing. It started with the mechanization of the textile industries, the development of iron-making techniques and the increased use of refined coal. Though the Revolution began an era of expanded economic growth and higher standards of living, it was at the same time met with a rapid population explosion. A slow rise in quality of living standards throughout the past two hundred years allowed more children to survive and made child bearing more economic. As well, jobs that were previously done by poor peasants could now be done even more cheaply by machinery. This led to the loss of many jobs. The combined effects made it difficult for some to find jobs, leading them to look to the colonies in the Americas for work.[3][4]

The migration[edit]

Because the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, the first (and therefore the majority of) settlers were English speaking British. Sixty percent of these immigrants to Canada were British. This made them the largest group in Canada.[5] The Irish came to escape the Great Potato Famine.[6]

Other people from other countries migrated as well. Americans went to British Columbia in order to look for gold, a material that was quickly evaporating because of the California gold rush. Chinese went to British Columbia too in order to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway, and to escape war and famine in their own country. These migrations can be considered apart from those in earlier times.

Impact[edit]

The Great Migration had profound impacts on Canadian culture. At the beginning of the Great Migration, the Canadiens, Canadians of French descent, outnumbered those of British descent. By the end the British, Canadian population was more than double that of the French Canadian population. The British Canadians also expanded into Lower Canada, which caused problems among the French Canadian citizens. As they expanded in Lower Canada, they also brought the fatal disease cholera with them, which killed off many Canadians and largely decreased the population of both Lower and Upper Canada.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The History of Canada and Canadians - Colonies Grow Up". Linksnorth.com. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Robert Lucas, Jr. (2003). "The Industrial Revolution". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved 2007-11-14. it is fairly clear that up to 1800 or maybe 1750, no society had experienced sustained growth in per capital income. (Eighteenth century population growth also averaged one-third of 1 percent, the same as production growth.) That is, up to about two centuries ago, per capital incomes in all societies were stagnated at around $400 to $800 per year. 
  4. ^ http://vmccorley.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/The+Industrial+Revolution+and+the+Great+Migration.doc
  5. ^ "Immigration to Canada". Retrieved 2010-07-29. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Cultures arriving between 1815 - 1860". Projects.cbe.ab.ca. Retrieved 2010-07-29.