The History of Canada Portal
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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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.
Selected historic news event -
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.
Selected biography -
Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox
, CC, OD
(July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian
, athlete, and cancer research
activist. In 1980, as a one-legged amputee, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Though the spread of his cancer forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his determination and example created a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run
, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$
500 million has been raised in his name.
In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people. He started with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian award. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.
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