Portal:History of Canada

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The History of Canada Portal
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Introduction

History by province or territory

The history of Canada begins with the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by Aboriginal peoples, who evolved trade, spiritual and social hierarchies systems. Some of these civilisations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th - early 16th centuries), and have been discovered through archaeological investigations. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European settlers and the Indigenous populations.

Beginning in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Over centuries, elements of Aboriginal traditions and immigrant customs have integrated to form a Canadian culture. Canada has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States. Since the conclusion of the Second World War, Canada has been committed to multilateralism abroad and socioeconomic development domestically. Canada currently consists of ten provinces and three territories, and is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

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King George V (seated centre) with his prime ministers at the Imperial Conference of 1926; William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, is seated at the King's left
The history of monarchy in Canada stretches from pre-colonial times through to the present day, though Canada's monarchical status is typically seen as beginning with the first European settlements of what is now Canada; Newfoundland was claimed for Henry VII in 1497 and the establishment of New France by King Francis I took place in 1534. Through both these lineages, the present Canadian monarchy can trace itself back to the Anglo-Saxon period and ultimately to the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. Kings and queens reigning over Canada have included the monarchs of France (to Louis XV in 1763), those of the United Kingdom (to King George V in 1931), and those of Canada (to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada today). Canadian historian Father Jacques Monet said of Canada's Crown: "[it is] one of an approximate half-dozen that have survived through uninterrupted inheritance from beginnings that are older than our Canadian institution itself."
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The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between the Mohawk nation and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada which began on July 11, 1990. It lasted until September 26, 1990. One person died as a result. The dispute was the first of a number of well-publicized conflicts between First Nations and the Canadian government in the late 20th century which were associated with violence.

The crisis developed from a local dispute between the town of Oka and the Mohawk community of Kanesatake. The town of Oka was developing plans to expand a golf course and residential development onto the land which had traditionally been used by the Mohawk. It included pineland and a burial ground, marked by standing tombstones of their ancestors. The Mohawk nation had filed a land claim for the sacred grove and burial ground near Kanesatake, but their claim had been rejected in 1986.

The Oka Crisis was extensively documented and inspired numerous books and films. Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin has made documentaries about the Oka Crisis, including Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993) and Rocks at Whiskey Trench (2000). These and two additional documentaries on the crisis were all produced by the National Film Board of Canada: Christine Welsh directed Keepers of the Fire (1994), which documented the role of Mohawk women during the crisis, and Alex MacLeod created Acts of Defiance (1993).

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Agnes Macphail - PA-165870.jpg
Agnes Campbell Macphail (March 24, 1890 – February 13, 1954) was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and one of the first two women elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Active throughout her life in progressive Canadian politics, Macphail worked for two separate parties and promoted her ideas through column-writing, activist organizing, and legislation.

As a radical member of the Progressive Party, Macphail joined the socialist Ginger Group, faction of the Progressive Party that later led to the formation of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). She became the first president of the Ontario CCF in 1932. However, she left the CCF in 1934 when the United Farmers of Ontario pulled out due to fears of Communist influence in the Ontario CCF. While Macphail was no longer formally a CCF member, she remained close to the CCF MPs and often participated in caucus meetings. The CCF did not run candidates against Macphail in her three subsequent federal campaigns.

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CN Tower footings 1973.jpg
CN Tower in its initial construction phase "Tower footings", 1973

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