The military history of Canada
comprises hundreds of years of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada
, and the role of the Canadian military
worldwide. For thousands of years, the area that would become Canada was the site of sporadic intertribal wars among Aboriginal peoples
. Although not without conflict, European/Canadian (c. late 15th - early 16th centuries) interactions with First Nations
populations were relatively peaceful. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period.
After Confederation, and amid much controversy, a full-fledged Canadian military was created. Canada, however, remained a British colony, and Canadian forces joined their British counterparts in the Second Boer War, and the First World War. While independence followed the Statute of Westminster, Canada's links to Britain remained strong, and the British once again enjoyed Canadian support in the Second World War. Since the Second World War, however, Canada has been committed to multilateralism and has gone to war only within large multinational coalitions such as in the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, and the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Canada has also played an important role in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide and has cumulatively committed more troops than any other country.
The Halifax Explosion
occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917, when the city of Halifax
, Nova Scotia
, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont-Blanc
, a French cargo ship
, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo
in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbour
. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured. This is still the world's largest man-made accidental explosion
At 8:40 in the morning, the SS Mont-Blanc, chartered by the French government to carry munitions to Europe, collided with the unloaded Norwegian ship Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to carry relief supplies. Mont-Blanc caught fire ten minutes after the collision and exploded about twenty-five minutes later (at 9:04:35 AM). All buildings and structures covering nearly 2 square kilometres (500 acres) along the adjacent shore were obliterated, including those in the neighbouring communities of Richmond and Dartmouth. The explosion caused a tsunami in the harbour and a pressure wave of air that snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and carried fragments of the Mont-Blanc for kilometres.