British North America
|British North America|
|Colonies of Great Britain (1783–1800)
Colonies of the United Kingdom (1801–1907)
|Capital||Administered from London, England|
|Political structure||Affiliated British territories|
|•||Treaty of Paris||1783|
|•||Treaty of 1818||1818|
|•||British North America Act||1867|
|•||Rupert's Land Act||1868|
|•||British Columbia Terms of Union||1871|
|•||Prince Edward Island Terms of Union||1873|
|•||1907 Colonial Conference||1907|
|Currency||Pound sterling, Canadian pound, Canadian dollar|
|Today part of||Canada|
British North America referred to the territories of the British Empire in mainland North America. The term was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report. These territories today form modern-day Canada and the northwest of the United States.
In 1775, the British Empire included 20 territories in the Western Hemisphere north of New Spain. These were Newfoundland, Rupert's Land, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Thirteen Colonies (which fought Britain to gain independence and became the sovereign nation of the United States of America in 1783), East and West Florida, and the Province of Quebec.
Spain regained the Floridas, and the United States of America, upon acknowledgement of their sovereignty, acquired the part of Quebec south of the Great Lakes by the Treaty of Paris (1783).
Nova Scotia was split into modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1784. The part of Quebec retained after 1783 was split into the primarily French-speaking Lower Canada and the primarily English-speaking Upper Canada in 1791.
After the War of 1812, the Treaty of 1818 established the 49th parallel as the United States–British North America border from Rupert's Land west to the Rocky Mountains. Britain gave up Oregon south of the 49th parallel, which was part of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia District, under the Oregon Treaty of 1846.
On 1 July 1867, an Act of the British Parliament called the British North America Act formed the Dominion of Canada from the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The former Province of Canada was split back into its pre-1841 parts, with Canada East (Lower Canada) renamed Quebec, and Canada West (Upper Canada) renamed Ontario. These were the original four provinces of Canada.
In 1869, Rupert's Land was annexed to Canada as the Northwest Territories (NWT), and in 1870 a part of the NWT, Manitoba, became a province of Canada. The west-coast British colony north of the 49th parallel, British Columbia, joined Confederation in 1871, and Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. The boundary of British Columbia with Washington Territory was settled by arbitration in 1872, and with Alaska by arbitration in 1903. In 1905, large parts of the Northwest Territories became the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
In 1907 the sole remaining British North American colony, Newfoundland, was granted dominion status, although starting in 1934 it was administered by the non-representational Commission of Government, a body chaired by British officials. In 1949 the island of Newfoundland, and its associated mainland territory of Labrador, joined Canada as the tenth province.
Although semi-independent from 1867, and fully sovereign on foreign affairs with the Statute of Westminster 1931, the last vestiges of Canada's constitutional dependency upon Britain remained until Canadians agreed on an internal procedure for amending the Canadian Constitution. This agreement was implemented when the British Parliament passed the Constitution Act of 1982 at the request of Parliament of Canada and the Legislatures of the provinces except Quebec (which objected to the terms to which the others agreed).
British North America colonies
The colonies that existed before the signing of the 1846 Oregon Treaty:
- Province of Canada — (previously Upper Canada and Lower Canada)
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- Prince Edward Island
- Rupert's Land
- Columbia District/Oregon Country (shared with the United States)
Besides the local colonial governments in each colony, British North America was administered directly via London.
From 1783 to 1801 it was administered by the Home Office and by the Home Secretary, then from 1801 to 1854 under the War Office and Secretary of State for War and Colonies. When the Colonial Office was re-established it was under the responsibility of the Colonial Secretary.
- American Revolution
- Atlantic history
- British America
- British Empire
- British North America Acts
- British colonization of the Americas
- Canada under British rule (1763–1867)
- Colonial government in the Thirteen Colonies
- Colonial history of the United States
- Economic history of the United States#Colonial era
- Former colonies and territories in Canada
- Historiography of the British Empire, with long bibliography
- History of Canada
- New England Colonies
- Thirteen Colonies, that became USA in 1776
- Bailyn, Bernard. The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction (1988) excerpt and text search
- Cooke, Jacob E. Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies (3 vol 1993)
- Foster, Stephen, ed. British North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford History of the British Empire Companion) (2014) excerpt and text search; 11 essays by scholars
- Garner, John. The franchise and politics in British North America, 1755–1867 (U of Toronto Press, 1969)
- Gipson, Lawrence Henry. The British Empire Before the American Revolution (15 vol., 1936–70), extremely comprehensive study; Pulitzer Prize
- Morton, W. L. The Kingdom of Canada: A General History from Earliest Times (1969)