A Merged History of Canada and The United States:
by Bill Jones
Dateline: March 10, 2000.
Two great countries enjoy a friendly and cooperative spirit with common ancestry. Never before have two countries peacefully shared such broad common interests. Borders between are largely un-guarded. Citizens from both sides travel freely
to and from without need for passport, visa or pre-arrangement. It is almost as if they are one nationality, but they are both fiercely independent and are strongly nationalistic.
Both countries began as colonies of European powers. One broke its ties with Britain through war, the other retained its ties, prideful of its British heritage. The two countries compete in trade but do so in friendship and generally with
respectful cooperation. Even the United States, having fought a war of Independence with Britain, later became its ally in other wars and its peaceful partner, thus restoring a historical affinity, kinship, and tradition.
Almost all political events during the past 200 years have meaning to both countries. Both countries share an odyssey of courage, endurance, frontier
life, hardship, as well as sharing a long enduring and shameful genocide of the Native Americans who were murdered and displaced from their lands. Thus, it seems to be appropriate to chronicle a history of the two Countries together.
The events chronicled are close enough together to allow one to visualize spending a portion of one's lifetime at places during historical times. Imagine, for instance, living as a serf under a baron at Nova Scotia during the 1620s.
Or, living with the Metis during their try for independence from 1870-1885.
It was very tempting to expound upon the history of individual sea voyages conducted by the British Admiralty over the past 400 years. The colonization of North America could not have occurred, nor could they have survived except
for these early voyages. Sea power spelled the success of the British in becoming the dominant power in North America. Perhaps another article will detail these accounts of sea adventures. The reader is left to interpret the historical effects that caused a
fall of colonialism and the emergence of two independent Nations.
- 1492: Christopher Columbus
- Captain of three Spanish ships, landed at an island later to be named Grand Turk, an island of the Bahamas.
- 1497-1533: John Cabot (Giovanni Cabototo)
- The first European to set foot upon North America (after the Norsemen of the 11th Century) was John Cabot. Cabot managed to be honored with an interview by King Henry VII in 1495, whereupon the King issued permission (Mar. 6, 1496) for Cabot and his sons
to sail to Asia under the British flag.
Cabot's first voyage began in a small vessel, The Matthew, on May 2, 1497. Cabot's crew consisted of eighteen men. On June 14, after weeks of varied winds, land was sighted. They had reached the coast of Cape Breton Island. John Cabot
stepped ashore and claimed the land in the name of King Henry VII. Although no natives were seen, the crew found snares set for animals in the near forest. Cabot observed the land to be fertile and judged that he had reached the coast of Asia. Cabot named
the place, Cape Discovery, and the large island St John's Island, as that day was the feast of St John the Baptist. (The island is now Scatari Island). Cabot spent little time on exploration and returned to Bristol Harbor on June 6, 1497. King Henry paid
him ten pounds and commissioned him in the rank of Admiral
On Feb. 3, 1498, Cabot was issued new letters of patent for a second voyage of exploration with six vessels. Cabot set sail in late May via way of Iceland. He reached the coast of Greenland in June, naming it Labrador's Land.
Cabot's crew became increasingly apprehensive of the broken ice they were sailing through and they mutinied on June 11 at 67-30 Latitude. Cabot pacified the crew by turning the fleet Southward. He proceeded on to encounter more ice, finally
arriving at the coast of Labrador at the present place of Table Hill (57-40 N. Lat.) Following the Coast further South and assuming they were in Asia, Cabot reached Cape Race, where he had explored during his first voyage. Cabot continued around the shores of
Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New England to reach the bay of New York. A quote from Cabot's log: "- sayled in this tracte so farre towarde the weste, that the Ilande of Cuba bee on my lefte hande, in manere in the same degree of longitude."
Cabot continued South along the Atlantic coast to reach New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland and 38 degrees N. Latitude. Provisions running low and not having found traces of eastern civilization, Cabot began the return voyage and arrived back
in England in late Autumn of 1498. Cabot thought that the lands he explored were the coast of China, beliefs that were in keeping with those of the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus..
In general, Cabot's voyage was considered to be a failure by King Henry. Yet Cabot had laid claim to much of the territory where British colonies would be established during later years, when Britain would steadfastly and forever claim the
whole of North America, based upon first discovery by John Cabot.
- 1519-1521: Spain Conquered Mexico (Hernando Cortez)
- From this time Spanish Conquistadors, consisting of mounted soldiers and Jesuit priests would explore and conquer much of the territory from Mexico northward, including what
are now Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and California.
- 1525: St. Augustine
- Spain established a Fort at St. Augustine, Florida.
- 1534-43: Discovery and Occupation of the St. Lawrence
- Starting with voyages in 1534 by Jacques Cartier, a succession of French explorers charted the St Lawrence strait and eventually the river. Cartier captured two Indians who became a source of information about the river, telling him of a wealthy kingdom of Saguenay. Cartier returned to France on July 16.
- 1541: Second Voyage by Jacques Cartier
- The purpose of this voyage was to conquer the (Indian) Kingdom of Saguenay and claim the territory for France. Five French vessels were involved. Cartier went on up the St Lawrence to Cap Rouge (above Quebec) where he spent the winter. He was joined by the French noble Jean de Roberval who with several vessels had made the journey. Cartier was ordered back to France taking three of the vessels.
In June of 1543 Roberval set out with 8 boats and 40 men up the St. Lawrence rapids to conquer Saguenay. The mission was aborted when Saguenay could not be found. During this time the French established some camps along the St. Lawrence and began fur trading.
- 1597: Hopewell
- The British ship Hopewell of London was driven away from the Magdalenes by four French ships who united against her. She repaired to the port of Ste. Marie in Newfoundland where she found two more French ships The Rocheller (from a Protestant Port)
and the Belle Isle (of a Catholic port) at the mouth of the Loire river. From the log of the Hopewell: "We first sent our boat aboord the Rocheller to certifie him that we were his friends and to request him not hinder our fight with our enemy. This
message sent, we made all haste we could unto the ship Belle Isle, which first began us with three great shot, one whereof hit our maintopsaile, but both the other missed us. And we also sent one unto them; then upon being approached nere unto them ten
or twelve of us went in a shalop to enter them. And when we boarded them in our boat, they betook themselves to close fights, playing chiefly upon us with shot and pikes out at two ports, between which we entered very dangerously, escaping meere dangers
by both shot and pike. Some of our were wounded but no great harme was done."
The Hopewell returned to England with the captured Belle Isle. In the following year a (failed) attempt was made to establish a British colony on Sable Island.
The friction had begun between France and Britain over control of the St. Lawrence.
- 1598: The French Colonize Sable Island
- In the summer of 1598 the Marquis de la Roche landed on Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, with "60 sturdy beggars taken from the prisons of Normandy." The colony, headed by Captain Querbonyer, suffered a revolt two years later accompanied by a series
of murders. The remnants of 11 persons were taken off the island by a fishing vessel in 1603. On this failure of la Roche's colony, no sign was left of French claim to the St Lawrence region. To retain some authority and to continue to receive furs in trade, France granted a
monopoly to a fur trader named Pierre Chauvin, who would send out vessels each year to the St. Lawrence. In addition, Chauvin would people the area with 50 colonist each year.
- 1604: Nova Scotia founded
- A French colony was established on the island of St. Croix, in the Bay of Fundy. That following winter proved the island to be so exposed to the severe winter as to be unlivable. Upon spring the colony was moved across the Bay of Fundy to Port Royal (now Annapolis Basin).
- 1606: The Virginia Company
- British King James I Chartered The Virginia Company of London and The Virginia Company of Plymouth. The London Company was granted lands in America from Cape Fear to the Potomac River. The Plymouth Company was granted lands from the Northern part of Maine to Long Island Sound. Each company was governed by its own council in England and both were under a royal council which represented the King. Both companies sent colonists to America in 1606.
The Plymouth Company (Aug. 1607) settled 120 men at Sagadahok, on the Kennebec River, in what is now Maine. They built a fort, some houses, and a thirty ton ship which was named Virginia. That winter was harsh and many died from hunger and cold. The next year those who were still alive abandoned the colony and sailed back to England
The London Company dispatched 100 men in three ships (Susan Constance, Goodspeed, and Discovery). They explored the coast and sailed up the James river. Jamestown was established on the James River in May 1607. The colony was re-supplied in 1608 and another group of 800 arrived. Then in 1610 another 300 colonist arrived. The colony of Virginia was firmly established, but in an area of hostile Indians.
During this time in England, the established church was the English Church (Anglican). The British thought was that if anyone refused obedience to the Anglican Church they would disobey the law in other matters. Some people who believed that the Church needed to be purified formed a sect within the Church, calling themselves Puritans. Others refused to belong to the Anglican Church at all and were considered rebels against the Church and the King, which wrought severe persecution against them. Many of this religious sect found refuge in Holland and were called Pilgrims. About 100 of these managed to join a group of English merchant adventurers who had been promised land in America by The London Company.
- 1607: The Voyages of Henry Hudson
- Voyage 1: On May 1, 1607, Henry Hudson and his son set sail from England with 11 crewmembers in the vessel Hopewell. They spent the summer looking for a Northwest passage to the Orient. Finding no passage through the ice they returned to England.
- Voyage 2: On April 22, 1608, Henry Hudson again sailed with his son in the Hopewell and returned.
- Voyage 3: In 1608, this time in the Dutch ship Half Moon, Henry Hudson and his son sailed. This time he landed at the coast of (present day) Maine, then sailed southward to explore the Hudson river, named it, and claimed the region for the Dutch. The territory claimed by the Dutch included much of the present state of New York and this area was named New Netherland. Subsequently Holland offered large tracts of land along the Hudson River to any man who would bring in 50 or more settlers. Soon the Hudson River valley became well settled.
- Voyage 4: In 1610 Henry Hudson and his son sailed in a British ship, The Discovery. They found and sailed through a strait (The Hudson Strait), and in August he sighted a large body of water he thought to be the Atlantic Ocean, but later discovered to be a large inland sea, which he named Hudson Bay. The Discovery became locked in ice in the bay and remained ice locked until the spring of 1611, upon which the crew mutinied and cast Hudson and his son off in a small boat. (At least that is what the crew later told.) Neither Hudson nor his son were heard from since. A few of the crew returned the Discovery to England, where the Admiralty recovered the ships log.
- 1613 Port Royal Captured
- Port Royal (Nova Scotia) was captured by in a raid by Samuel Argall, from the British Colony of Virginia.
- 1620: HMS Mayflower
- The HMS Mayflower, out of Southampton, chartered by The London Company and carrying a group of 102 persons, plus its crew, was bound for the coast of New Jersey. Instead, navigation errors caused them to land at what is now Provincetown, Mass, near Cape Cod. In the group landed were a mixture of well-to-do merchants and Puritans. King James never gave them a
charter as a colony, but The New England Company (formerly The Plymouth Company) granted them permission to remain and settle there.
- 1620: Plymouth, Mass.
- The Pilgrims of New England had their first hostile encounter with the Nausite Indian tribe whose arrows were tipped with horn, eagle claws and brass. Such encounters with various local Indian tribes became commonplace throughout the colonies. The nature of these encounters were local by individual village people who perceived they had been wronged by the settlers. It was only during the phases of French and British wars that Indian warriors were recruited to accumulate into large forces to be allied with either the French or the British. Usually the pay to the Indians for such alliances in battles was the right to scavenge the battle sites.
- 1621: Nova Scotia given away
- British King James I granted Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander of Scotland. In the grant, Alexander would have regal powers. He was to establish "baronites" by parceling the land into 6 by 3 mile properties to be given to gentry who would populate the parcels with settlers.
In all, 111 barons were appointed and given parcels of that dimensions. (Even today, the Baronets of Nova Scotia is a distinct order of the British aristocracy, having a provincial flag bearing the saltier of Sir William Alexander and the lion of Scotland on gold.)
- 1625: King Charles I succeeds Henry IV
- King Charles' rule was tentative due to friction between him and the House of Commons after a failed expedition against Spain in 1626, and another to assist the Hugenots of Rochelle (1627). Internal conflicts with the Irish and the Scots added to the turmoil in England. The
House of Commons undertook to reduce the Crown's powers to its becoming only ceremonial. In 1642 Charles headed an armed retinue and attempted to arrest five members of the Commons. These five retired to the city and was protected by the city militia. There followed a miniature
civil war within England. On Jan. 20 1649 King Charles was seized, stripped of all marks of royalty and brought before a special court created for his trial on the charge of high treason against the people. On Jan. 30, 1649, King Charles I submitted to the broad axe of the
executioner and was beheaded. He was 49 years of age. The executed King was succeeded by his son Charles II during a time of revolution with the Scots.
- 1628: War broke out between France and Britain
- French colonies along the St. Lawrence were raided by the British, some changing hands.
- 1628: Salem settled
- After more religious persecution in England, other Puritans bought the right to settle on land between the Charles and Merrimac Rivers. They arrived that year and founded Salem. Then the following year still another group of Puritans arrived. By 1634 Salem had grown to more than 5000.
- 1629: Carolana
- Charles I granted the Province of Carolana to Sir Robert Heath, but no attempt was made to settle the region. Over the years restless men from Virginia and other colonies re-settled there and lived under no law or government but their own free will. The many creeks and inlets along the coast became havens used by pirates and buccaneers. In 1663 King Charles II granted to eight Lords as proprietors a territory south of Virginia 350 miles along the coast and extending clear to the Pacific Coast. This was called Carolina. That colony grew, around Charlestown, faster than any in the northern province and in 1691 was divided into three parts, North Carolina, Albermarie, and Charlestown.For a while the Tuscarora Indians repeatedly attacked the colonists but were eventually driven away to join the Five Nations of Iroquois Confederacy of the north to become the sixth nation of the confederacy.
- 1632-1755: The Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye
- This treaty restored to France her possessions in North America. Prior to this time, Port Royal and Quebec had hardly advanced beyond the status of convenient landing points. Tadoussac and Trois-Rivieres were mere rendezvous places for barter. The next 123 years would see France develop its colonies in North America. During this time Britain and France fought the war of the Austrian Succession (1744-48), during which the hostilities spread between the French and British Colonies in North America. Bitter and bloody conflicts occurred across the St. Lawrence area and included Indian allies on both sides. In 1748, The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle terminated that war, only returning the two sides to "pre-status-quo." Britain and France would continue to be at odds in North America.
- 1634: The Colony of Maryland was established
- George Calvert, who King James I had made Lord of Baltimore, became out of favor because he converted his faith to Catholicism. Calvert wanted to found a colony where all Christians would have freedom of worship. At that time Catholics were being persecuted in England. King James granted him a charter (to be rid of him), and made him Lord Proprietor of a large tract of land north of the Potomac river where the states of Maryland and Delaware are now. (Calvert was related to King James by marriage). It is ironic that later, the Puritans became influential in the Maryland Colony and there was continual religious strife between them and the Catholics.
- 1638: New Sweden
- Swedish Queen Christina sent a group to settle a colony on the Delaware River. The colony was named New Sweden. The Dutch in New York would not agree that Sweden had any right to this land and Peter Stuyvesant, the one legged governor of New Netherland made them yield to his power. This was the beginning of the Colony of Delaware.
- 1654-1667: Acadie (Nova Scotia)
- Captured by Britain in 1654, then restored to France by the Treaty of Breda in 1667.
- 1664: New York: New Netherland becomes British
- The British had always claimed all of North America by rights of first discovery by John Cabot. After King Charles II was restored to the throne and British internal strife ended, a fleet was sent to New Amsterdam and their surrender was demanded. Both the colony of New Netherland and the town of New Amsterdam were re-named as New York.
Hudson's Bay Company
- The Hudson's Bay Company was chartered by King Charles II. Chartering was a method for trade and territorial expansion by rights of exploration. By this Charter, the HBC became an instrument of the Crown, completely independent of the various British Colonies in North America. The charter gave HBC "control of all lands whose rivers and streams drain into Hudson Bay." These vast lands would become known as "Rupert's Land." The trade aspect of the HBC charter would become its driving force and result in the establishment of many trading posts, first along the shores of Hudson Bay, and then throughout the Interior. Yet the Crown was mindful of its rights of claim by exploration.
- 1674: Defections
- Two French traders, Pierre Esprit de Radisson and Médart Chouart, sieur de Groseillier, who had originally brought the notice of the British Crown to the fur riches of Canada, switched their allegiance back to France and together formed a new company, "La Compagnie du Nord", which would become a fierce competitor of HBC in the fur trade. For many years, these two companies carried on brisk competing trade for furs. They were antagonists not just in trade but in territorial claims as well. In the beginning, the French company roamed outward while the HBC established trading posts and depended upon the Natives to visit the posts for trade. As a result the French became dominant in the interior, and the HBC was dominant along the coast of Hudson Bay and some rivers.
- 1681: Pennslyvania
- King Charles II gave William Penn a large tract of land lying west of the Delaware River. Penn and his descendants were to own the land as the Calvert family also owned Delaware. William Penn gave a great deal of planning to the sort of colonist he wanted. Many English Quakers came, as well as Scotch, Irish, and Welsh, but Penn especially encouraged farmers and craftsmen from the Rhine valley, Switzerland, and Sweden. He made friends with the Indians and crafted wise laws for the colony.
- 1689-1815: Britain and France at War
- Britain and France were at war almost continuously over North American interests. Important events will be listed by dates that follow sequentially with others.
- 1684: King James II and the Bay Company
- King James II took away the Bay Company's charter and all of New England, New York, and New Jersey were placed under one Governor, Sir Edmund Andros. For the next 60 years the people of the colonies were affected by the continuing wars on the continent between France and Britain, and they played an important role in the conflict.
- 1689-97: King William's War (The war of the Palatinate in Europe)
- The Governor of New York led this off by stirring up the Iroquois tribe to make an attack upon the French village of Lachine near Montreal. Then the French led
their Indian allies in attacks upon New England and New York. The English Colonies sent expeditions to capture Port Royal.
- 1702-13: Queen Anne's War
- In this series of skirmishes Spain allied with France against the British. The French and their Indian allies captured many British settlements throughout the colonies, killing many. Some colonists were captured and ransomed, but some children were adopted into the tribes. The British again captured Port Royal in Acadia and the French settlements around the St. Lawrence. A mixed French and Spanish fleet attacked Charleston but failed to capture it. A party of Carolinians and Indians burned the Spanish city of St. Augustine.
At the end of the war the British kept all of Acadia and the country around Hudson Bay. Port Royal was re-named Annapolis Royal. Acadia became Nova Scotia. France had lost much territory but was still a power in America.
- 1713: Treaty of Utrech
- Resulting from wars, France recognized Britain's claims to HBC explored territories, ceded Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Britain and abdicated its claims to Newfoundland.
- After Britain regained Nova Scotia, the treaty provided for the free exercise of the Catholic religion by such of the French inhabitants as were willing to remain there, and also allowed that any who might chose to leave could do so within a year. To remain, each person must declare their allegiance to the Crown.
- Most of the French remained, but in the hope of a return to French power, they postponed taking the oath of allegiance. Later, they became of such concern
that they were rounded up and expelled to other colonies. Many of these French refuges, called Acadians, found their way to Louisiana where their descendants now live.
- 1728: Vitus Bering
- Russian Vitus Bering discovered the Aleutian Islands, and the Bering Straits. Bering sent two boats out to make contact but neither returned. This, and other Russian explorations were the basis of their claims to Alaska.
- 1732: The Colony of Georgia
- A charter establishing the colony of Georgia was granted in June 1732 by King George IV upon an application of a group of men who desired to found a refuge for the Salzburgen and other persecuted religious sects, and a home for the poor of England. Gen. James Oglethorpe landed a group of 162 immigrants at Yamacraw Bluff on Feb. 12 1733. Later, a large number of Scottish refuges entered the colony upon the collapse of the Stuart Pretensions in England. While the grant gave Georgia the whole of the lands extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, Oglethorpe obtained lands from the Indian Tribes for the settlers until the beginning of the Revolutionary War and there were no clashes between the colonists and the Indian tribes.
- 1744-48: King George's War
- The French had built a fort at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island and it was thought to be so strong as to be impregnable. In 1745 Britain sent a force of 4000 New Englanders in ships to attack the fort. The fort was captured.
- 1748: Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
- This treaty restored Cape Breton to France.
- 1749: Halifax founded
- Halifax was founded by Col. Edward Cornwallis for Britain. Cornwallis arrived in 13 transports carrying 3,000 colonists. A new fort was quickly built and the colonists were organized into a militia. The founding of Halifax brought about the second capture of Lewisburg (1758) and the eventual downfall of Quebec and the French power in North America.
- 1749: Ohio
- In the valley of the Ohio River, there was much game but few Indian tribes. Virginia said that this was part of the territory granted by King James I. Pennsylvania claimed part of the
land. New York also claimed part of the western lands. France claimed
that it was theirs by rights of exploration, since La Salle had discovered the Mississippi River and the Ohio River was one of its tributaries. In those days, a nation that occupied the mouth of a river
always claimed the entire watershed of that river and all of its tributaries. France began building forts along the Ohio.
- When Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia heard of these French forts he sent the young George Washington to warn the French that they must leave the Virginia territory.
- 1754: George Washington's first Military achievement
- Since the French would not abandon their forts on the Ohio, Virginia's Governor sent Washington back to attack Fort Duquensne with a group of 40 and some Indian allies. They dragged cannon along rough cut roads through the wilderness. While building entrenchments at a place he called Fort Necessity, Washington was re-enforced to a strength of 300 white men and 150 Indians under command of the Indian Chief Half-King. There were about 1500 French at Fort Duquensne (now Pittsburgh). Six hundred marched out and attacked the Virginians. Washington's force surrendered and were allowed to depart without penalty. Thus the illustrious first President of the United States began his military experience in defeat.
- But this began another war between Britain and France. Soon the British sent General Edward Braddock with 1,000 regulars to Virginia. About 600 Virginians commanded by George Washington joined Braddock and were received with contempt for such un-trained troops, and Braddock refused the assistance of the Indians. This account will be continued under 1756-63 The French and Indian War (below)
- 1754: HBC Begins to Explore.
- Britain authorized the HBC to launch a "scouting party" from York Factory into the interior. This was prompted by the French having become dominant all the way from Hudson Bay westward to Edmonton. This first tentative venture launched HBC into ever-widening exploration of the Northwest.
- 1756-63: The Seven Years War (The French and Indian War)
- The defeat of General Braddock and the King's Regulars: Benjamin Franklin, who met Braddock at Alexandria Virginia, warned him of the dangers he would meet fighting the French and their Indian allies. Braddock replied that the French and Indians might frighten raw militia, but they would make no impression on the King's Regulars. On July 9,1755 Braddock's 1,000 regulars and 600 Virginians commanded by George Washington were met near Fort Duquense by a party of French and Indians. Fighting began. The British regulars fought bravely from tight formation in the open, while the French and Indians fought from behind trees showing themselves only while aiming their muskets. Braddock was killed along with two thirds of his Regulars. George Washington led what was left of the little army to safety. Most of the survivors were of the Virginian militia who had fought from cover.
- Sage advice from the Indian Chief King Hendrick: After the defeat at Fort Duquense and the loss of Gen. Braddock, other British Generals began to take the advice of the Militia and the Indians about fighting in the wilderness. At a council of war called by General Johnson he proposed to send 800 men to Fort Edward. The Indian chief Hendrick told him; "If they are to fight they are too few; If they are to die they are too many." Whereupon, Gen. Johnson doubled his force. Then when Johnson proposed to split his force into three parties, the war experienced old chief handed him one arrow and told him to break it, which Johnson did. Then he handed him three arrows and said, "Put them together and you cannot break them; but you can break one by one easily." Again, Johnson gave way to Indian war logic and did not split his force. But tragically, the wise old Indian Chief was killed and Johnson was severely wounded at Lake George.
- The French and Indian war was fought savagely throughout the colonies on both sides.
- 1759: Fort Niagara and Fort Ticonderoga fell to the British
- Before this, the six Indian Nations had become unsure of their alliance with Britain because of prior failures. As a result of the British victory at Ticonderoga, the Indian allies of the French began to desert them, while the confidence of the Six Indian Nations in Britain was restored and they forgot that they had ever thought about ceasing their aid to the British.
- 1759: The Battle of Quebec
- The Battle of Quebec began as General Wolfe sailed up the St. Lawrence in June of 1759. His fleet remained near the city during the whole of July while Wolfe tried to figure out how to take it. Gen. Wolfe became gravely ill and begged his physician to "patch me up enough for this business." Moving his ships up and down the river without seeming purpose, he puzzled the French General Montcalm. But Wolfe had spotted places in the cliffs along the river where he thought his forces could climb. On the night of Sept 12 Wolfe had a small part of his men feint a landing below the city to attract the attention of the French. In the meantime 1600 troops were landed under the cliffs above the city. This main force gained the tops without notice. 3000 more followed.
- During the fighting Gen. Wolfe was wounded twice before a bullet went through his lungs. As he lay dying he heard an officer say, "See how they run!"
He raised and gasped, "Who runs?" The officer replied, "The enemy is giving way everywhere." Wolfe lay back saying, "God be praised, I die in peace."
- The French General Montcalm also died in the battle. He was struck in the chest, but at first seemed not to feel the wound, until he fell from his horse.
When told that the wound was mortal he said, "So much the better, I shall not live to see Quebec surrendered."
- The next year an unsuccessful attempt was made by the French to retake Quebec. Soon Montreal also fell to the British and New France was captured.
- 1763 (Feb 10):
Treaty of Paris
- In this treaty between Britain, France and Spain, the following North American territories changed hands:
1. France ceded to Britain all North American territories except Louisiana;
2. France ceded Louisiana to Spain;
3. Spain ceded Florida to Britain;
4. France retained possession of the colonies of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (on the St Lawrence River).
- With the close of the war and the Treaty of Paris, Britain then realized its long held claim of all of North America by rights of exploration begun by John Cabot. But, the continuance of wars had been very costly and it was deemed necessary for the British to maintain standing armies on the continent in order to preclude France from re-installing its influence, and to quell any possible up-rising of the Indians.
- 1774: The Quebec Act
- The Treaty of Paris had consolidated all of North America under British Colonial rule (except for Mexico). Britain assumed that the colony on the St Lawrence river would become like the other American colonies, to be governed the same with a Royal governor, an appointed council, and an elected assembly.
- However, there were some 65,000 French-Canadians in the valley of the St. Lawrence. They spoke French and were French. In addition, many of the French had expanded westward into the wilderness and were trappers.
- At first there were only a few British settlers north of the St. Lawrence. Gradually Britain decided that Quebec should remain as a colony of French people within the empire. This decision was made law by the Quebec Act.
- The Quebec Act stated that the civil laws of French Canadian settlers would remain in effect, but English Criminal law was adopted. Lands were still to be held according to the feudal seigneurial system which had grown up in New France. The French Catholics of the colony were freed from the laws which elsewhere in the Empire prevented them from having any part in government, and the Catholic Church was given the right to collect tithes. Government was to be by a Royal Governor and an appointed council, without any elected assembly. (Thus, the people of the Colony in Canada would have no representation at all in its government, a virtual dictatorship having been established under the British Crown.) The Canadian colonies would live under such rule until around 1846 when a reform movement forced the British to install measures to allow some degree of self rule. The foundation was then laid for the modern British Commonwealth system to begin.
- 1775-1776: The War of Revolution (The War of Independence)
- (This will be just a brief overview of the very long and bloody Revolutionary War between the 13 Colonies lying south of the St. Lawrence river and Britain. Since the history of this
event is well documented only the causes and the conclusion will be touched upon.)
- In order to recoup costs of the wars and to pay for standing armies on the continent, King George and Parliament set about levying taxes upon the colonies. The taxes were so repressive as to deprive the colonists of their livelihood. In addition, the colonists were required to support the British military within each colony. As the military moved about through the colonies their commanders had the right to domicile themselves wherever they chose and to take whatever they needed for their subsistence. Conditions deteriorated to an extent that the colonies were under virtual military rule. The conditions deteriorated rapidly causing the colonies to begin inter-colony discussions and formulate plans to secede from British control. Such clandestine meetings were tantamount to conspiracy to treason and were vigorously prosecuted by the British lords in the colonies. The populous of the colonies were divided, between Loyalists and separatists. Generally, the Loyalists were those who were appointed in some capacity or status by the British Governors, favored land holders, members of the British militia, and some who had close family ties within the mother country. By far the separatists outnumbered the Loyalists, but the latter were in such numbers and in such positions as to always know of the separatist's activities and planning. Thus everything that the separatists did required great secrecy.
- The first skirmish of the war was in 1775 at Lexington, where General Gage sent a detachment of militia to confiscate a cache of arms. Eight (so called) "Minutemen" were killed. Skirmishes between rebellious Minutemen and British troops continued. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by representatives of all of the Colonies. The thirteen British Colonies south of the St :Lawrence River declared independence from Great Britain. Most of the (then) leaders in the revolution were former men of British status. Indeed, many had fought with the British during the French and Indian War and some were Officers of the British Regulars who changed sides. All of these men of British status faced execution for treason should they be captured.
- The war began as a move by the British to quell rebellions and their hunting down of small groups of rebels. War continued with a general building of strength and organization by the Colonies.
- During the latter year of the war, Britain's old nemesis France became allied with the American Colonies. This came about after the battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1778 when Gen. Washington defeated British Gen. Howe's superior force. France was so impressed that it recognized the Independence of the American Colonies and treated with them to provide naval support.
- Upon that happening Britain made an offer to the colonies that Britain would give up every single point in the dispute that caused the war and Britain would not to levy any taxes on the colonies if they would stop fighting for independence. But the offer was too late and the Americans only cared for independence since they had been fighting for three years and were then seeing victory ahead.
- France contributed substantially by assisting the American fleet of privateers in establishing an effective Naval blockade of the East Coast, thus preventing British supply and re-enforcements. This worked well at Yorktown, the final battleground where General Washington defeated General Cornwallis' British forces on Oct 21, 1781.
- 1783 (Sept 3): Paris Peace Treaty
- This treaty settled the war of revolution between Britain and the United States. Britain recognized the independence of the United States of America. Additionally, the treaty restored Florida to Spain.
Westward Expansion by Britain and The United States
- 1784: Another fur company emerged in North America
- The North West Company quickly became a major competitor to both HBC and the French. For some 60 years these three companies continued a fierce and sometimes
bloody competition in fur trade.
- 1792: Canada's first legislature
- Sept. 17, Upper Canada's first Legislature met at Newark (Niagra).
- Dec.17, Lower Canada's first Legislature met at Quebec.
- 1792: York founded
- York (Toronto) was founded by Simcoe.
- 1799: Sitka Established
- The Russian American Company established a fort at Sitka (Archangel).
- 1802: Sitka's Importance Grows
- Sitka became headquarters for the Russian American Company. Bands of Tlingits massacred most of the Russians at Sitka. Although Russia rebuilt their compound, they were never able to exercise complete control over the Tongass region. The Tlingits kept them confined mostly to their forts except for well-armed groups sent frequently by the Russians to sack Tlingit villages.
- 1803: Louisiana Purchase
- The United States doubled its territory by purchasing the Louisiana Territories from France for $15 Million. The U.S. gained (827,000 sq mi) included the heartlands of the French fur trade (Le Campagnie de Nord), and more or less isolated that company's ventures to the Canadian territory around Winnipeg, Edmonton, and the Great Slave Lake region.
- 1810-1821: Mexican War of Revolution
- The Catholic Church (Father Hidago) declared Mexican independence from Spain. War ensued. On one side was Spanish Caste with peon Indian conscripts who fought the Loyalist Spanish Army. A treaty between the two sides in 1821 recognized Mexico's independence. A Republic was proclaimed in 1822 and established in 1824.
- 1811: Fort Garry Established
- A shareholder in the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), Lord Selkirk, made arrangements to place a settlement of Scottish Highlanders at Fort Garry, where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet (Winnipeg). The settlement lay across the path of the North West Company traders who feared that the settlement would interfere with their trade. After some conflicts the two companies joined forces in 1821 under the HBC. This ceased Montreal's control of the western fur trade and HBC became dominant in western fur trading and free to expand British territories.
- 1812: The War of 1812
- The war began as an American invaded the British colony in Canada. In the first skirmish the Americans were defeated and Detroit was captured by the British. But at sea, American privateers captured over 500 British ships. During 1813 the British fleet was annihilated on Lake Erie, and Detroit was re-captured by the Americans. The U.S. pursued the British into Canada,
defeating them and their Indian allies.
- A turn in the war came upon another British fleet being defeated on Lake Champlain. Lacking naval support, the British invasion force of 10,000 retreated into Canada. Then in 1814 a British force captured the American Capitol in Washington, DC and burned much of the city as well as the Capitol itself.
- The war actually ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. But unaware of the treaty, the battle of New Orleans was fought, where the American forces prevailed over the British. Called a useless war by the U.S. Congress, the powers of the
Presidency were reduced by legislative acts.
- 1815: End of French Power
- Britain defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, thus ending all of French authority in North America.
- 1819-22: Sir John Franklin
- Franklin commanded an overland sled dog exploration of the Canadian Arctic coast east from the Coppermine River.
- 1821: HBC Expansion
- The Hudson's Bay Company merged with the North West Company. The consolidation resulted in HBC achieving a monopoly in North American fur trade. But still, the French were strong
traders, especially in the western interior of Canada.
Sir George Simpson (1787-1860) was knighted by the King in 1821. Shortly thereafter Simpson was appointed Governor of Rupert's Land (HBC Territory). Simpson ruled as a tantamount emperor
of the Northwest for some 40 years. During this time HBC explored the Northwest to the Arctic Ocean and into territory that is now Alaska. The British established a safe harbor (Gordon) near
the isthmus of the Mackenzie River. Fort McPherson became a springboard for further exploration into Alaska. The superior position of HBC served to reduce the influence of the French trading company.
- 1824: Russian-American Treaty
- The difficulties of supplying Russian American Company posts in Alaska forced them to increasingly rely upon American and British traders, and in the early 1820s negotiations began
with the governments of the United States and Great Britain to formalize that relationship. The Russian-American Treaty of 1824 granted American merchants the right to trade in Russian America for a
period of ten years.
- 1825: Anglo-Russian Convention
- Negotiations with the British were much more difficult than with the Americans, but after a year, a convention was agreed upon that set the east-west boundary between British and Russian
territories in the interior of the country at the 141st Meridian, and the north-south boundary at 54° 40'. The complex boundary among the peaks and inlets of the coast would not be firmly established
until 1903. See The Alaska-Canada Boundary Dispute for much more information about that subject.
- 1825-27: Sir John Franklin
- Franklin commanded an overland sled dog expedition and explored the Arctic Coast from the Mackenzie River west to the 150th Meridian in Alaska (Near present Prudhoe Bay).
- 1827: Fort Langley
- The Hudson's Bay Company built this fort, the first permanent post on the mainland of what would become, in 1858, British Columbia.
- 1829-33: Captain John Ross' second voyage
- Ross charted the exact position of the North Magnetic Pole, investigated the Prince Regent Sound as a possible route of the Northwest Passage, and charted 700 miles of the Arctic Ocean coast. This exploration closed the gaps of British land and sea exploration of the entire Arctic coast of Canada and Alaska.
- 1835: Russian Exploration of Yukon River
- Russia began exploring up the Yukon River from Saint Michaels. The Russians stopped at Nulato, some 70 miles from the coast but 300 miles up the Yukon river from its isthmus. The Yukon River became Russia's first continental incursion except for Fort Ross on the upper Pacific coast of California.
- 1836 (March 2):
- Texas declared independence from Mexico.
- 1837: Nulato Established
- A Russian fort was built on the bank of the Yukon River at Nulato.
- 1837: Smallpox Epidemic
- An epidemic of smallpox decimated the population of Nulato. Chief Unilla and two others were the only survivors.
- 1838-1867: Britain in the Arctic
- Britain mastered the Arctic Coast from Hudson Bay around Alaska, explored the Mackenzie and Porcupine Rivers, the mid Yukon River 500 miles into
the interior of Alaska at Tanana, established fur trade, and cemented its claim to the Pacific coast from Seattle northward to Prince Rupert. Also, Britain had established posts all along the Arctic shores of Alaska around to Nome, thus cementing British claim to more than half of Alaska.
- 1839: Massacre at Nulato
- A band of Koyukons headed by a Yataalii spiritual Leader massacred the Russians at Nulato. Also caught in the frey and killed were Lt. Barnard and a crew of 12 British marines of the HMS Enterprise. The Russian Captain Darabin and 57 others were killed.
- 1841: Upper and Lower Canada united as the Province of Canada
- Kingston was the capitol. The first United Parliament met June 13.
- 1843: Victoria, British Columbia founded
- 1845: Annexation of Texas
- Texas was Annexed by consent to become a U.S. Territory.
- 1845: Sir John Franklin's final voyage
- He departed from England in command of 129 men aboard two vessels, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. His mission was to discover a Northwest
Passage through the Arctic Ocean.
- The two ships were last seen on July 26, 1845 by a whaler in Baffin Bay. The British Admiralty began the most massive search in history for the lost
explorer. More that 50 of His Majesty's ships participated in the search, and there were a dozen or more searches by land.
- 1846-1848: War between Mexico and The United States
- 1846 (June 15): Oregon Treaty
- Oregon and the Pacific Coast south of the 49th parallel were acquired by the U.S. from Britain.
- 1846: Porcupine River
- HBC crossed the Continental divide at Eagle Plains and established a trading post, Lapierre House, on the Bell River, a tributary of the Porcupine.
- 1847: New HBC Posts
- HBC Trading posts were established at Old Crow, Gwichyaa Zhee (Fort Yukon), and others along the Yukon and Porcupine Rivers in Canada and Alaska.
(Alexander Murray was the HBC Principal in charge.)
- 1848: More HBC Posts
- HBC established trading posts down the Yukon at Tanana. This extended a possible territorial claim by Britian some 500 miles into Alaska's interior.
See the Map of Northwest Exploration.
- [Note from Murray Lundberg: Bill's comments from here on regarding HBC posts below Fort Yukon are very much a disputed claim. Those who think that such posts exist also say that all official records have been
altered to hide their existence.]
- 1848: U.S. and Mexico treaty of Guadalupe
- The U.S.gained the territory of six Western States. This consolidated the territory of the United States to its present continental boundaries,
except for Alaska.
- 1848: More HBC Posts
- HBC continued to establish trading posts further down the Yukon River at Kokrines. The HBC Territory (British) had then extended over halfway
across Alaska's Interior and the entire Arctic Coasts where no other country had explored.
- 1849: Vancouver Island
- The Hudson's Bay Company, who had built Fort Victoria in 1843-1844, was given a lease to all of Vancouver Island for the nominal sum of seven shillings a year.
The following year, on March 11, 1850, the British Crown Colony of Vancouver Island was proclaimed.
- 1850: Smallpox
- A Smallpox epidemic struck in the Porcupine and upper Yukon River areas, killing more than half of the Native population. All of the people of
Fort Yukon and Gwichyaa Zhee died (approximately 800 Gwich'in and twelve HBC operatives perished at this one place).
- 1850: Lt. Barnard to Nulato
- HMS Enterprise, commanded by Captain Richard Collinson, landed at the Russian redoubt of St. Michaels. Captain Collinson had been directed by the Admiralty to
investigate rumors of white men having been seen along the lower Yukon River. It was thought to be possible that these were some of the crew of Sir Franklin's lost ships.
Captain Collinson dropped off a Lt. Barnard with twelve men to explore that possibility. Lt. Barnard and his men went up river with the Russian Captain Darabin, who happened
to be at St. Michaels at the time. Captain Darabin was the commander of the Russian post at Nulato, 300 miles up river.
- 1851: The Nulato Incident
- A band of Koyukons headed by a Yataalii spiritual leader attacked the Russians at Nulato. They struck with a precise plan. Burning bundles of grass was stuffed down
the smoke vents of the barracks. When the fire and smoke inside forced the Russians out of the barracks they were shot with arrows. Also caught in the fray and killed were Lt. Barnard
and a crew of 12 British marines of the HMS Enterprise. The Russian Captain Darabin and 57 others were killed. The Koyukons, upon knowing that they had killed the Russian leader
(Captain Darabin), withdrew and allowed the remainder of the Russians to escape down river. The Yataalii leader killed during the fray was the only Indian casualty.
- 1854: Reciprocity agreement between Canada and the United States
- This agreement provided for unrestricted free trade across the border between the two nations.
- 1854-1856: The Crimean War
- Russia attempted to conquer the old Ottoman Empire. Russia's opponents were; Britain, Turkey, and France. While having far reaching consequences
in that area, the main effects of the Crimean War in North America was the diversion of attention of Russia from its interests in Alaska.
- 1857: Ottawa chosen as Capital
- On Decemeber 31, Ottawa (Bytown) was selected by Queen Victoria to be the capitol of Canada.
- 1858: Crown Colony of British Columbia established
- The statute had received Royal assent on August 2, and the Crown Colony was proclaimed at Fort Langley on November 19.
- 1859: Reassessment
- British Parliament began to re-assess its North American holdings. Wary that westward expansion by the United States would result in the annexation
of parts of British territory, the British Parliament decided to merge HBC territories (Rupert's Land) with its colony in Ontario. Proceedings begin in
Britain to grant more powers of self government to the Colony.
- 1861-1865: The U.S. Civil War
- Southern States banded together and seceded from the United States. The Confederates States of America was formed. A bloody war that pitted North against South and relatives
fighting on opposite sides continued for five years.
- 1862: The Homestead Act
- U.S. Congress passed the Homestead Act which allowed persons to claim up to 65 hectares of land. Upon building a dwelling and tending the land for five years the homesteader
would be given title to the land.
- This act in effect violated the Treaty of Paris and the U.S. Constitution and its agreement to respect the rights to lands by the original users, the Native
American people. The Act also spawned the great western expansion of settlers and spelled the doom of Indian Tribes.
- 1862: Railroad Expansion
- The U.S. Congress Chartered the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad. The Union Pacific was to push westward from Iowa. The Central Pacific was to push Eastward
from San Francisco. The goal was to
establish a trans-continental railroad that would extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The railroads would be given "Land Grant" on each side of the tracks. In the East, the railroad company would own five miles on either side of the tracks. The distance of the land grant
would increase to 50 miles
on either side in such sparsely populated regions as Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. These lands granted to the railroads were, of course, Indian lands. The coast to coast railroad was completed
in 1869 with the two railways
connecting at Promontory Point in Utah. A railroad dynasty began with their controlling commerce for many years to come.
- 1865: Civil War Ends
- The U.S. war between the States ended upon General Robert E. Lee surrendering the Confederate Army at Appomattox. Almost immediately, the U.S. Army was dispatched Westward in great
force on the newly built railroad on a
campaign to exterminate the Indians. Most of the Civil War Generals were given commands of the forces. Such new weapons as gatling guns, artillery, and repeating rifles made the outcome certain.
Indian nations such as the Sioux, Apache, Ute, and Nez Pierce fought valiantly and skillfully to save their home lands, but they were doomed. Even so, the organized Indian tribes were difficult to
exterminate. It would take until 1876 to complete the genocide to the extent that there were no organized tribes, just indigents remaining. During this time the U.S. Army encouraged buffalo hunters
to exterminate the Buffalo on the plains.
- 1865: Russian American Telegraph Company
- On May 17, the first crews left San Francisco to begin construction of a joint American-Russian telegraph line between the United States and Russia via Alaska. This was the dream of
Perry McDonough Collins, who was able to convince the Western Union Telegraph Company of the commercial possiblities of the 16,000-mile line. Although three millions dollars was spent and a massive amount
of scientific information was gathered, only a few miles of line were strung before the successful laying of a trans-Atlantic cable (on July 22, 1866) ended Collins' dream.
- 1866: The new British Columbia
- On November 19, the Crown Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were united, as British Columbia, with the capital at New Westminster. It became Canada's sixth province in 1871.
- 1867 (March 30): Alaska Purchase
- U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 Million. The boundaries were set as those agreed to by Russia and Great Britain in 1825. President Johnson did not proclaim the purchase in public
until June 20, and the formal transfer occurred at Sitka on October 18. The week before the transfer, a new company, Hutchinson, Kohl & Company, had been formed to purchase all of the assets of the Russian
American Company, thus completing the Russian departure from Alaska.
- 1867: The British North America Act
- The BNA Act received Queen Victoria's consent on March 29, and came in effect on July 1. This act confederated Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick, thus creating the Dominion of Canada. The first Dominion Parliament met on November 6. Canada's first Prime Minister was John A. Macdonald, a Scot.
- 1870: The Deed of Surrender
- This act by the British Parliament effectively amended the BNA Act by transferring the HBC land holdings to Canada. Rupert's Land then became Canadian territory. The Hudson's Bay Company was
given license to continue operation as an independent, but a private, commercial company, no longer an instrument of British government.
- 1870-1885: Metis Rebellion
- The Metis people of Canada are mixed-blood Indian, French and British; both Catholic and Protestant denominations are represented. Many French and British trappers and traders had married
Indian women, and their descendants formed the Metis ethnic culture. Complicating the Metis uprising was the situation that some of the British and French did not align
themselves with the independence movement, though a majority did.
- When word spread that the HBC land holdings, which the Metis believed to be theirs by heritage, was being transferred to Canada, they organized to resist the transfer of title of their lands to the new Canadian
government. In 1870 the Metis, under the leadership of Louis Riel, declared a provisional Government. Over a period of time the funds of HBC was confiscated and several pitched battles were fought with police,
most of which resulted in victories by the Metis. Manitoba was created and it joined the Metis Provisional Government.
- In 1870 negotiations were started at Toronto between the Metis and the (new) Canadian Government in Ottawa. Conflicts continued for five years without resolution. Eventually Canadian federal troops defeated
the Metis in 1885.
- Louis Riel was tried and convicted of treason and hung on Nov 16, 1885, thus ending the revolution and the Metis Provisional Government.
- 1876: Battle of Little Big Horn
- General George Armstrong Custer led a sizeable force against a large Indian village with intent to destroy them. He attacked the village, but his regiment was overwhelmed; Custer and 268
soldiers were killed. There were few Indian casualties.
- Nevertheless, this great victory by the Indians meant nothing to their plight. Within the year, they were chased and destroyed, and by 1878 all Indian survivors in the lower United States were
imprisoned in camps called Indian Reservations. But the Native American saga in Alaska was yet to play out.
- 1881-1889: Canadian Pacific Railroad
- Work began in 1881 to build transcontinental railroad across Canada. In 1889 the link was completed to Vancouver, connecting the west coast of Canada to the population centers of eastern Canada.
- During the Metis uprising a segment of the railroad had been completed to allow fast deliverance of Canadian forces to defeat the Metis. Some believe that, without the railroad, the Metis would have been successful and the western half of Canada would be a separate country today.
- 1896: Gold in the Klondike and Alaska
- Although gold had been discovered in many places in the Yukon and Alaska prior to 1896, it was the discovery of rich deposits of placer gold along the Klondike River that brought an influx of tens of thousands of miners into the country. The Gold Rush extended quickly from the area around present Dawson City into Alaska. Many books have been published about the Gold Rush, and there is a great deal of information available on the Net.
- 1898: Spanish-American War
- Fought on three fronts, in Cuba, the Philippines, and at sea, the U.S. prevailed everywhere. The war culminated with the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Spain relinquished its claim to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, thus ending all of Spain's colonial empire that began with the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Islands of the Bahamas, and the following spread of Spanish control throughout South, Central and much of North America.
- 1898: Yukon Territory created
- The complete text of the Yukon Act, as assented to on June 13, 1898, is online here.
- 1905: Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan created
- In 1896 the government of Canada decided to encourage settlement of the Western prairies. There had been a slow but steady stream of earlier settlers and the groundwork had been laid for further growth. The earlier settlements had taken place mostly from Ontario and the western United States. After the turn of the century a flood of new settlers came from Europe. Settlements of Poles, Ukrainians, Mennonites, Russians, Doukhobors, Hungarians, Germans, and Icelanders developed on the prairie. The Government helped to pay their passage and gave them free land. The population of the prairies increased dramatically.