history

Canada comes from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement and was adopted by the French explorer Jacques Cartier for the whole region around the St. Lawrence river.

Canada  has ten provinces and three territories. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles).

It is one of the largest countries in the world.

Its official languages are EN-English and FRA-French


35,151,728 people live in Canada. The earliest inhabitants came via the Bering Straits around 15.000 BC; there is archaelogical evidence from the sites of Old Crow Flats and the Blue Fish caves.  By the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, there were between 200,000 and two million indigenous people. The interaction between Europeans and indigenous populations was relatively peaceful and there were intercultural marriages. However, some indigenous populations such as the  Beothuk disappeared due to European diseases and also because indigenous people lost their lands to the settlers, and therefore could no longer be self-sufficient. After 1876  indigenous people were forced to assimilate and many of their traditions were forbidden, this practise reached a climax in the early 20th C. The last institution closed in 1996. In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation commission was appointed. The percentage of indigenous people is now estimated at 4.3% (77% of Canadian are of European descent, 14.2 of Asian descent and 3% of African descent)

In 1763, France lost its last territories and Canada came under the control of Great Britain. The Quebec Act of 1773 guaranteed autonomy for that French-speaking area and established the region of the same name. After the American war of Independence, many loyalist settlers moved from the USA to Canada. As a result, the British divided Canada in two parts: Lower Canada which included Quebec and Upper Canada which includes Ontario. In the 19th. C, Irish and Scots-Gaelic people moved to Canada to escape famine and displacement. One third of the new arrivals did not survive the harsh conditions. In 1846, the British signed a treaty with the USA to define the southern border and in 1869, the USA purchased Alaska from the Russians. After 1849, Canada was united and the French-speaking populations were asked to assimilate, twenty years later, the Red River rebellion led to the creation of the province of Manitoba.

In 1861, Canada became an dominion. The British still controlled its foreign policy, this led to Canada being automatically brought into World War I. Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded. In 1919, Canada took the decision to join the league of nations and requested its independence. This was achieved in 1931. 

During World War II, over a million Canadians served in the allied armed forces and approximately 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. In 1949, Newfoundland became a province of Canada. The Maple Leaf flag was adopted in 1965 and became officially a bilingual country a year later. In Québec, a separatist movement advocated independence, this was rejected in a referendum. Canada has also seen an increase in migrations from Asia.

In 1982, the Patriation process removed the last links from the United Kingdom, although the Governor General represents the Monarch of Canada who is the same person as the Monarch of the United Kingdom.

As a result of its history, Canadian culture is represented by a diversity of people, and we hope that you will discover some of them through our cultural pages.

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