The History of Canada
Canada's history begins with its Indigenous peoples - the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis - who lived across the land for thousands of years before European arrival. Norse explorer Leif Erikson reached Newfoundland around 1000 AD, but significant European exploration began with John Cabot in 1497, and later Jacques Cartier in 1534.
The early 17th century marked the establishment of New France, with Quebec City founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. This era was characterized by alliances and trade between the French and Indigenous peoples, but also escalating conflicts with the British Empire. The culmination of these clashes was the Seven Years' War, which ended in 1763 with Britain taking control of Canada.
Under British rule, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognized Indigenous rights, and the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided Canada into Upper (English-speaking) and Lower (French-speaking) Canada. The Act of Union in 1840, following the rebellions of 1837-38, merged these two provinces into the United Province of Canada, setting the stage for the country's eventual confederation.
On July 1, 1867, the Dominion of Canada was born through the British North America Act, initially uniting Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Over time, other provinces and territories joined, and Canada's autonomy grew.
The 20th century saw Canada's role in both World Wars, its independence from British legislative control in 1982, and its ongoing journey towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Today, Canada stands as a multicultural nation, rich in its diversity and its commitment to democratic values.