Republic of Canada

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This article is about the short-lived "Republic of Canada". For the article about those who wish to end the monarchy in Canada, see Republicanism in Canada.
Republic of Canada
Unrecognized state

1837–1838


Flag

Navy Island
Capital Navy Island
Languages English
Government Republic
President
 -  1837-1838 William Lyon Mackenzie
Historical era Upper Canada Rebellion
 -  Republic declared 17 December 1837
 -  Republic collapses 4 December 1838


The Republic of Canada was a government proclaimed by William Lyon Mackenzie on December 13, 1837. The self-proclaimed government was established on Navy Island in the Niagara River in the latter days of the Upper Canada Rebellion after Mackenzie and 200 of his followers retreated from Toronto.

On December 29, Royal Navy Commander Andrew Drew and seven boatloads of Canadian militiamen crossed the Niagara River to Fort Schlosser. They captured the American supply steamer Caroline used by William Lyon Mackenzie and his rebels on Navy Island (see Caroline Affair). Drew's forces set the ship alight and sent it adrift towards Niagara Falls, resulting in the death of one American. It was falsely reported that dozens of Americans were killed as they were trapped on board, and U.S. soldiers retaliated by burning a British steamer while it was in U.S. waters.

On January 13, 1838, Mackenzie abandoned Navy Island under heavy fire from British troops. He and his force retreated to Buffalo, New York, where they were captured by the U.S. army and sentenced in the U.S. to 18 months imprisonment for violating neutrality laws between the United States and the British Empire, ending the prospect of a successful Canadian declaration of independence and what the British viewed as an inconsequential and unsupported colonial rebellion.

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