Canada Day: the Story Behind the Holiday

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• Part 2: One Big Country

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Part 1: A Collection of Territories

Canada Day marks the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Before that, what we know as Canada was a whole lot of little Canadas.

Native Americans lived in Canada long before Europeans came. The resulting culture clash was, at times, bloody. The result was the colonization by settlers and soldiers from France and Great Britain.

During the colonial wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, Canada was a battleground as well. The last great struggle between France and Britain in the New World was the Seven Years War, what Americans call the French and Indian War. With the help of their American colonists, the British won this war (in 1763) and demanded Canada as a prize. French occupation of Canada was, effectively, at an end.

Fighting between Americans and British took place in Canada in both the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and the War of 1812 (1812-1814). The results of each of these wars included further boundaries between America and Canada.

And while America was involved in its Civil War (1861-1865), Canada was involved in a struggle of its own: to come to grips with the idea of forming one, large country.

Canada in the early 19th Century was a jumbled mix of peoples and territories. Specifically, the British lived in Canada West and the French listed in Canada East. To add to the confusion, Canada West was also called Upper Canada and Canada East was also called Lower Canada, even though Lower Canada was at times farther north than Upper Canada.

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