A Brief History
of Canada

1700 to 1799

Map of Canada 1700 1700

Louis Jolliet died. It is unknown exactly when or where.


The War of Spanish Succession began in Europe. By 1702, it had spread into North America (where it was known as Queen Anne's War) in Acadian (Canada) and New England (United States). Francis Nicholson captured Port Royal for England in 1710, and, in 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht ended Queen Anne's War. England gained total possession of Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Acadia (except for l'Ile-Royale, currently known as Cape Breton Island.) France immediately began building Fort Louisbourg near the eastern tip of l'Ile-Royale.


The Mississauga Tribe drove the Seneca Iroquois out of Canada and into the United States where they eventually settled south of Lake Erie.


From 1731 to 1743, the La Vérendrye family organized expeditions beyond Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. There, they set up fur trade routes with the east. Meanwhile, the Mandan Indians, situated west of the Great Lakes, began to trade horses which were descended from those originally brought into Texas by the Spanish. The Assiniboine Indians traded with the Mandans and took the horses into their own territories southwest of Lake Winnipeg.


The War of the Austrian Succession, begun in Europe in 1770, spread to North America where it became known as King George's War. Fort Loiusbourg was captured by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley in 1745, effectively gaining control of l'Ile-Royale. The Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle in 1748, however, returned the fort and the island to France and, in 1749, the British began to counter the French presence at Louisbourg with Halifax being the centre of operations.


By 1750, a number of smaller, independent bands of Indians had amalgamated into the Ojibwa Tribe, around the same time as a massive influx of German immigrants arrived in Halifax.


On March 23, 1752, Canada's first newspaper, the weekly Halifax Gazette, hit the streets of the city.


Although not officially declared until 2 years later, the French and Indian War began in 1754. French Acadians who refused to swear allegiance to Britain were expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755 where they settled throughout other North American colonies. Some of the Acadians (pronounced 'a-cay-DJYEN' in French) travelled to the Gulf of Mexico where they settled in what is now New Orleans, Louisiana. The word 'Cajun' derives from the word 'Acadian'. Meanwhile, the British opened Canada's first Post Office in Halifax and the Marquis de Montcalm took command of the beaten, demoralized French troops in North America. To make matters worse, the Seven Year's War between Britain and France began in 1756. Louisbourg fell to Generals Jeffrey Amherst and James Wolfe in 1758. Wolfe went on to defeat Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759, taking control of Québec from the French. Both generals were killed during the battle. In 1760, General James Murray was appointed the first British military governor of Québec. Finally, in 1763, the French turned over all its North American possessions to Britain by the Treaty of Paris. A proclamation in October imposed British institutions on Québec. Unfortunately for the western Cree and Assiniboine traders, who had benefited from trade agreements with the French, began to lose profits to the British.


General Murray became the civil Governor of Québec in 1764, but all his attempts to placate the French Canadians were frowned upon by British merchants. Murray was succeeded by Guy Carleton as Governor of Québec in 1768.


The Hudson's Bay Company opened Cumberland House.


With Guy Carleton's help and input, the Québec Act was instituted in 1774. By the Act, criminal law would be under British laws, but the French Canadians retained their civil laws. The Act also guaranteed religious freedom for the French Roman Catholics.

Map of Canada 1775


The Québec Act was so powerful and wide-spread that it actually incited the American Revolution, which began in 1775. On November 13 of that year, Revolutionaries under the command of Richard Montgomery captured Montréal. A month later, on December 31, Montgomery was killed during the attack on Québec. Guy Carleton was able to withstand the American siege on Québec until May 6, 1776, when a British fleet arrived and expelled the Americans southward. Carleton was later knighted for his efforts.


Captain James Cook had made 2 previous voyages to the west coast. On his third and final voyage in 1778, Cook travelled as far north as the Bering Strait. On March 29, Cook claimed Nootka Sound for the British, and, on April 26, claimed Vancouver Island.


In Montréal and Grand Portage (present-day Minnesota), a group of trading partners formed the North West Company. The American Revolution had ended and the border between Canada and the United States was agreed upon by both sides, from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake of the Woods and then due west to the Mississippi River. (Future surveys, however, showed that the border agreed upon was impossible and slight changes had to be made through arbitration, as noted below.) Thousands of United Empire Loyalists (loyal to the Crown) were expelled from the United States. Some returned to England, but most moved northward into Nova Scotia.

UELs (United Empire Loyalists) were American colonists of British, Dutch, Irish, Scottish, among other origins, who had remained loyal to the King during the American Revolution. Ironically, many families in the Colonies had divided their children of fighting age into Revolutionaries and Loyalists. That way, whichever side won, the family would be on the winning team. Unfortunately, when the Loyalists were expelled from the States, many families were torn apart, suddenly becoming 'enemies' of different nationalities.

Meanwhile, also in 1783, the Pennsylvania Germans began to move into southwestern Ontario and, eventually, into southwestern Québec. By 1784, however, the ranks of Loyalists in Nova Scotia had swelled to great proportions and Nova Scotia was partitioned and the province of New Brunswick was created. Because of the lack of job opportunities, thousands of Loyalists set out westward, eventually settling all along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and the northern shores of Lake Ontario all the way to Niagara. Many permanent settlements arose from these initial settlers.


The City of Saint John, New Brunswick was incorporated. Also, Fredericton opened the doors to a Provincial Academy of Arts and Sciences, the forerunner of the University of New Brunswick (in 1859).


Alexander Mackenzie, under the sponsorship of the North West Company, set out for the Beaufort Sea by following what would later be named the Mackenzie River. He would reach the Pacific Ocean at Dean Channel in 1793.

Map of Canada 1791


Western Québec was comprised mostly of English-speaking Loyalists. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided Québec into Upper and Lower Canada (present-day Ontario and Quebec respectively).


George Vancouver began exploring and mapping the Pacific coast.


Jay's Treaty, signed on November 19, 1794, was overseen by an American diplomat named John Jay. In this treaty between Britain and the United States, Britain promised to evacuate the Ohio Valley forts, effectively marking the beginning of international arbitration to settle boundary disputes. The initial boundary, which was to extend due west from Lake of the Woods to the Mississippi River was found to be impossible since the source of the river was considerably farther south of Lake of the Woods than had been thought. (see 1818)


York (present-day Toronto) became the capital city of Upper Canada.


David Thompson, who had worked for 13 years with the Hudson's Bay Company, joined the North West Company as a surveyor and mapmaker. Over the years to follow, Thompson would survey and map hundreds of thousands of square miles of the previously unexplored North American north-west.


A new fur-trading company was formed to compete with the North West Company. Capitalizing on the name (and probably hoping to 'fool' the merchants), the company was named the New North West Company. However, the merchants weren't fooled for long and the company was soon saddled with the nickname of the 'XY Company' derived from the markings used to differentiate their bales from the competition's.

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