How did the UK benefit from colonizing Canada?

History of Canada

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The history of human settlement in what is now Canada goes back more than twelve millennia.1 Around this time, the end of the last Ice Age offered the early inhabitants more favorable opportunities to live.2 People may already have lived in Northwest America in the preceding warm period, but they have left no traces. In the following millennia, in a long process with immigration of other groups from Asia, very different cultural areas developed, ranging from the Inuit, who had adapted to the arctic conditions, to hunter-gatherer and semi-nomadic to rural cultures of the First Nations, such as the Indians of the country are called. The influence of the urban cultures further south brought about monumental buildings and large villages on Canadian territory. The population density was particularly high on the Pacific coast, and here too there was a culture of monumental wooden structures, which for early European visitors was most conspicuously manifested in the famous totem poles.

One of the first cards3in which the name Canada shows up: Paulus de Furlanis Veronensis opus hoc exmi. Cosmographi D [omi] ni Iacobi Gastaldi Pedemontani Instaurauit, Venice 1560, 39 x 51 cm, after: Rodney W. Shirley: The mapping of the world, London: Holland Press 1983, p. 106.4

Strong cultural changes, extensive displacement processes and nomadization were triggered by the horse brought by the Spaniards, by the wars of the Iroquois and by Europeans between 1500 and 1700. North America was often a sideline to the wars in Europe. At the same time, a large number of indigenous peoples, as in the rest of America, collapsed from imported diseases, especially smallpox.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Indians (First Nations) were forced into reservations by means of coercion and treaties in order to make room for European immigrants. This led to conflicts between the British and the French in the east, which in the west came to conflicts between the Spaniards, the British and the Russians. In 1763 the French lost their New France colony to the British. Two decades later, the British colonies gained independence further south when the United States came into being. London made a number of concessions to the francophone residents of the part of North America that had remained British and who lived mainly in the province of Québec. The French Canadians then successfully supported the British colonial power in two wars against the USA (1775-83 and 1812-15). The private trading company of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) administered the west and north as a monopoly from 1821 to 1869/71.

The US's urge to expand prompted London to grant the remaining area extensive independence in 1867. By 1873 the British colonies between the Atlantic and Pacific joined this Canadian Confederation, which also began in 1869 to buy up the huge area of ​​the HBC and to conclude numerous contracts with the Indians. These contracts, known as Numbered Treaties, covered virtually all of the territory controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company, except for British Columbia. The treaties that are still in force today were signed between 1871 and 1921, most of them in the first ten years after the founding of the state.

British capital and close ties to the British Empire ensured a massive expansion of Canada's infrastructure in the form of canals, roads and, above all, railways. The aim was to integrate the sparsely populated, huge country more strongly and to secure it against ever-emerging separatism and currents that called for affiliation with the USA. In addition, this promoted the exchange of goods within the country and with the Empire, and it made settlement easier. In addition, it initiated the industrialization of the country, which contributed significantly to urbanization.

Since the Great Depression and World War II, Great Britain lost its status as a world power to the USA. Canada leaned more and more towards its southern neighbor and in 1994 joined a free trade area with the USA and Mexico (NAFTA). However, both British and Native American traditions remain ubiquitous. This is expressed both in the political structures and in the culture, or in the fact that in 1999 Nunavut achieved a pronounced autonomy for the predominantly Inuit who lived there. Many First Nations, like in Canada, also have Indian tribes are called own territories. But the disputes over usage rights continue. Overall, the French example meant that other regional cultures also had the “right to be different”.

In addition, immigration from Asia has been increasing since the end of the 20th century. The Chinese and Japanese had already arrived in the country since the middle of the 19th century, but immigration and acquisition of rights had been made more difficult for them. During the Second World War, some of the Japanese were interned and expelled from the country. When Hong Kong went to the People's Republic of China, a significant part of the Chinese there emigrated to Vancouver, where they now form a large minority who brought considerable amounts of capital to the city. In the meantime, considerable numbers of Southeast Asians are also immigrating to Canada; however, their main destination is Toronto.

  • 1 Settlement and cultural areas (< 10.000="" v.="" chr.="" -="" 16.="">
  • The first Europeans
  • 3 Indians and Europeans, British-French rivalry
  • 4 British colonial rule
  • 5 Dominion
  • 6From World War I to state sovereignty
  • 7 World economic crisis
  • 8 Second World War
  • 9 Post-war period
  • 10 Québec Quiet Revolution and Independence Movement
  • 11 Multiculturalism, Constitutional Law of 1982, delimitation from the United States
  • 12Since the 1980s
  • 13Archives and museums, editions, publications and the Internet
  • 14Historiography
  • 15 literature
  • 16 Source edition
  • 17External links
  • 18 Notes

Settlement and cultural areas (< 10.000="" v.="" chr.="" -="" 16.="">

Earliest traces up to the archaic phase

Genetic and climatic-historical studies suggest that the early Asian immigrants spread relatively quickly along the coast and migrated from there into the interior.5 Possibly one group followed the west coast, the other the ice-free corridor between the Rocky Mountains and Hudson Bay.6 There are also indications that the Athabaskan groups might have immigrated from Asia only later.

Schematic representation of the spread of man across the earth

The oldest human traces in Canada were found in the Bluefish Caves in the northern Yukon. The finds on the are possibly even older Little John site, which is only 2 km from the Alaska border, and which may have connections to the Nenana complex.6a This early Arctic culture spread southward along the coast, possibly also along the Yukon. Tools from around 10,500 BC were found in the Charlie Lake Cave near Fort St. John. There were also two ravens - one with grave goods - that were buried 9,000 and 10,000 years ago.7 Also from around 9,000 BC. Finds come from Alberta, near Banff, and in Saskatchewan, but also further east, in Québec.8 The oldest human remains in northern North America date back to about 7800 BC. Dated (On Your Knees Cave on the Prince of Wales Island).9

Today's distribution area of ​​the different caribou species

This early phase was followed by the archaic phase, more precisely the early (approx. 8000 to 6000 BC) and the middle archaic phase (approx. 6000 to 4000 BC). Presumably the Plano groups followed10who are considered to be the successors of the Clovis and Folsom cultures, in the east along the huge herds of caribou along the icing line; Groups from the west reached by 7500 BC. Southern Ontario. There were spear throwers (Atlatl), a technological innovation that dates back to 8000 BC. Was created.11

Projectile points, drills and, above all, house marks appear as early as 6000 BC. In Vermont (John's Bridge Site in Swanton).12 These cultures focused on the lower St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. The first larger monuments are burial mounds, the Burial Mounds.13 The oldest burial site was found near L’Anse Amour on the Atlantic coast. For the first time, a social hierarchy is tangible along Lake Erie, on the southern Huron Lake, on Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence River above today's city of Québec (around 5500 BC to 1000 BC).

The Plano cultures on the Great Plains encompass the vast space between the coastal areas of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories and the Gulf of Mexico.14 New weapon technologies and widespread trade are characteristic. The raw material for some stone tools and weapons came from areas far to the south. These materials included chalcedony from Oregon and obsidian from Wyoming.15

Retreat of the glaciers since the last maximum

The ice was only slowly retreating. Manitoba was still under an ice sheet, but the first settlement chambers developed(Refugia) and habitable elevations16that protruded beyond the ice line (Nunatuks or Nunataker), such as in southern Alberta (Agate Basin culture). Here were still around 8000 BC. Chr. Horses hunted; they disappeared as did the megafauna. The kind Plesippus shoshonensis reached a body weight of over 400 kg on average.16a

It was only later that the huge cultural area was clearly divided into two large rooms, the Early Shield and the Early Plains Culture. Finds have been made at South Fowl Lake, on the border between Ontario and Minnesota, suggesting that elemental copper was being processed as early as 4800 BC Indicate.17

In the west it was probably at least up to 9000 BC. Settlement by the Early plateau culture superimposed.18 Contrary to earlier assumptions, the increasing salmon migrations on the Pacific coast were probably not the cause. The cultures there reach at least 8000 BC. BC back. The oldest find on Vancouver Island(Bear Cove) documents the hunt for marine mammals.19 Apart from the Queen Charlotte Islands (today Haida Gwaiiwhich dates from around 7500 BC. Were settled and with the Haida carry one of the oldest localized populations in the world, many artifacts near the coast were destroyed by the sea level rising around 120 m. This rise was in turn triggered by the melting ice masses at the end of the last Ice Age, a process that lasted from around 14,000 to 4,000 BC. Chr. And who knew at least two very strong acceleration phases. These were roughly between 13,000 and 11,000 and between 9,000 and 7,000 BC. Chr., Whereby the first phase corresponds to a warm period, the Bølling-Allerød period, the second after the end of the subsequent cold period of the Younger Dryas.19c

South flank of Mount Edziza

The oldest traceable trade in obsidian, a volcanic glass important for the manufacture of weapons and tools, dates back over 10,000 years and was based in the west on a deposit on Mount Edziza (2,787 m) in northern British Columbia.20 The extreme north is only around 2,500 BC. Was populated selectively, the north of Ontario only around 2000 BC. Chr.

From about 4000 to 1000 BC Chr.

From 2500 BC BC settlements can be found in the west, along with signs of social differentiation. House associations existed, which got together seasonally for hunting in large groups. There are also villages in the Plains. Bow and arrow probably came before 3000 BC. From Asia to the northwest, where the invention remained for a long time, then reached the east coast, only to reach the west around three millennia later.21

The oldest grave monument in Canada is located atL’Anse Amour in Labrador. The body of an approximately 12-year-old child who was buried here around 7,500 years ago was found under the cairn grave with a diameter of 8 m. A flute made of bird bones, a bone pestle for crushing hematite, the oldest point of a harpoon in North America and a projectile point made of chert were included. His body was strewn with red ocher made of hematite and covered with a flat stone. As part of the burial and the construction of the hill, on which the group of hunters must have worked for about a week, food was prepared around the pit.

Burial sites can be found in the east, burial mounds represent the earliest monumental structures in Canada Maritime Archaic People or. Red Paint People (because of the use of red ocher).22 The before 4000 BC Groups residing in central Labrador avoided a cold spell to the south, around 2250 BC. Inuit, who moved around 3000 BC. B.C. from Siberia had reached North America, as far south as these areas.

Dogs can now be found at the Great Lakes (in Utah as early as 8000 BC) that were buried.23 The Laurentian Archaic24 centered around Québec and Ontario and perhaps extended to around 5500 BC. BC back. The Ottawa Valley and Lake Upper are considered centers of copper production. Around 2000 BC There were complex burial rituals with copper additions, tools and ocher. The trade relations reached as far as Dakota. Seasonal hiking cycles of great continuity become tangible.

The Cree, Ojibwa, Algonkin, Innu and Beothuk, which can be grasped in the early European sources, probably refer to groups of the Shield culture back.

In the plains cultures between about 6000 BC. Chr. And the turn of the ages notice serious changes. The dry phases became milder, the bison species that still exists today prevailed, dogs were used as carrying and draft animals and thus increased mobility, the tipi prevailed. Food and, above all, meat preparation were largely done without heavy vessels, because the cooking technique consisted of using hot stones to heat the water in which the meat was located. This technique allowed the production of pemmican, a preservation technique, which in turn made it easier to survive phases of deficiency.

The Middle plateau culture between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coastal Mountains developed around 2500 BC. A type of house that was partially sunk into the earth. The diet in the drainage areas of the large rivers was increasingly based on salmon. Today's inland Salish can be closely associated with this culture. The most important cultural change is the transition from non-sedentary to semi-sedentary with permanent winter villages and summer hiking cycles around 2000 BC. Chr.

A similar development took place on the west coast, whose cultures can be related to the coastal Salish (see history of the Salish). The social hierarchy became clearer, some groups had better access to resources, wealth was accumulated and trade continued to increase. Towards the end of the era, plank houses can be found for the first time, as Europeans first encountered them at the end of the 18th century. The Salish were also already before 1600 BC. Also farmers, as we know about the katzie.25 The Nuu-chah-nulth on the west coast of Vancouver Island developed ocean-going canoes for whale hunting.

In contrast, the Yukon and Mackenzie maintained a culture of long-range hunting with extreme agility in small groups. Here too, salmon migrations over the Yukon and its tributaries increased the size and number of settlement chambers. Between 5000 and 2000 BC Inuit groups migrated southwards.

Until the first permanent contact with Europeans (around 1500)

The manufacture of clay pots is considered to be the end of the Archean. She probably reached the area of ​​what is now Canada on the way from South America via Florida. In addition, the signs of a fixed, agricultural production method increased in some regions. One innovation that met strong cultural opposition was a bow and arrow. This new hunting weapon came from Asia and was probably first used by the Paleo-Eskimos.

The East

→ See also:Quebec

Sketch of the funeral mound Otonabee Serpent Mound at the mouth of the Indian River on the north bank of Rice Lake in Ontario, around 16 km southeast of Peterborough26

The ethnic groups behind the artifacts of the later cultural phases are believed to be the ancestors of today's Mi'kmaq, Welastekwíyek and Passamaquoddy. With the ceramic vessels from around 500 BC. The archaic phase ended on the east coast by the Woodland periods was replaced. Some villages were probably inhabited all year round. Burial practices came from the Adena culture, which is around 1700 km away, and oral traditions of the Mi'kmaq go back to this era.

Reconstructed houses of a Saint Lawrence Iroquois village that existed around 1450 near the Tsiionhiakwatha / Droulers site in southwest Québec; the first part of the name means in the Mohawk language 'where we gather berries', the second is the family name of the farmer on whom the village is located. Of the original 15 long houses, in which at least 500 to 800 people lived, 4 have been reconstructed.

The Early Woodland Period also extended to the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River from about 1000 BC. BC to 500 AD. The Iroquois probably go back to this culture, but also some of the Algonquin groups. The importance of the pumpkin only now increased significantly, although it was already selectively around 4000 BC. Was planted, such as in Maine. Between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, as well as New York, some groups brought the flint sites under their control. The Onondaga flints were until 500 BC Used for arrows. In addition, those coming from the Ohio Valley spread Burial Mounds from, extensive burial mounds, such as the approximately 60 m long Otonabee Serpent Mound, which is now 1.70 m high on average.27

The Canadian shield

→ See also:Ontario history

Taber Hill in Scarborough, east of Toronto, is a 20 m high Iroquois mound. The remains of around 472 people from around 1250 were found in the hill.

The ones on the Medium shield culture declining cultures differed only in their tools and less in their way of life, even if the eastern branch also took over clay pots. The influences of the Adena culture can be seen here as far as central Labrador. Their typical mounds also appear in the western shield culture (Laurel), for example in southern Ontario.

The only known human remains come from two burial mounds in northern Minnesota, which may have been the origin of the tribes of the northern Algonquin culture in southern Manitoba and adjacent Ontario. Probably due to the domestication of wild rice, there was a prominent class of landowners (Psinomani culture). Southern Ontario was involved in the long-distance trade relations of the Hopewell culture.

Plains and prairies

→ See also:History of Alberta

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, 11 miles northwest of Fort McLeod, Alberta

The late one Plains culture lived to a large extent on study, d. H. the American bison. Place names like Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump indicate the driving technique used in the hunt. The prairies appear to be around 650 BC. To have shrunk in favor of forests. At the latest from approx. 500 BC. The bow began to replace the spear thrower. Come here Mounds only in Dakota before. In Montana, tent villages with an area of ​​100 hectares and a useful life of around a thousand years have been found using stone rings around the tipis. Long-distance trade was widespread and reached westward to the Pacific. Apparently there were already holy places where shamans invoked metaphysical powers. In the north, smaller nomadic groups predominated, while in the south a cycle of seasonal migrations had prevailed, centered on fixed villages.


→ See also:History of British Columbia

The late plateau culture was characterized by its small size due to the landscape. Stocks were stored in holes in the ground, hot stones were used for baking and cooking, so that cooking vessels were unnecessary. The extensive salmon trains provided most of the nutritional value. The fish were preserved by drying in the wind, salt was refused for preservation. The villages got bigger and the population increased, some of these big villages were inhabited every winter for over a thousand years.28 The bow and arrow appeared late. Access to resources depended on reputation, which was becoming increasingly hereditary. Around 2500 BC Can be the so-called Pit house (“Pit house”), which was partially dug into the earth and made more extensive storage possible.

West Coast

→ See also:British Columbia's History, Salish

Coastal culture was established between 500 BC. and 500 AD as a ranking society stricter from south to north. A class of leading families dominated trade and access to resources, and had political and spiritual power. Many finds can now be assigned to individual tribes, such as the Tsimshian, who died no later than 2000 BC. Lived around Prince Rupert. Burial mounds also appear here for the first time. The arch did not reach this region until around AD 400.

The villages grew in number, and apparently larger, except for those on the Strait of Georgia. Today's coastal Salish can be traced back to the Marpole culture, but presumably go back much further. The culture was already characterized by the same social differentiation, from plank houses in which several families lived, from salmon fishing and drying, rich carvings of sometimes monumental proportions, complex ceremonies and clan structures.

Between 500 and 1000 AD, the dead were more and more often given their final resting place in trees, stakes, burial houses and caves. In some regions cairns prevailed, such as around Victoria. Fortified villages increasingly appeared around 500 to 700 AD - especially in the south with dug moats and in the north with palisades. This phase, which was characterized by wars and raids, extended well into the time of European colonization and only ended with the severe smallpox epidemic of 1862 and the suppression of regional islands of independence using modern war technology until around 1870.

The northwest

Early finds, such as at Anne Lake near Whitehorse, date back to 8000 BC. BC back. The extreme climate and strong volcanic activity made permanent settlement difficult here.29 The Taye Lake Complex can be traced between 4000 and 1000 BC. Grasp during the Taltheilei complex probably due to immigration from British Columbia and Yukon, a migration that reached beyond Hudson Bay and possibly displaced the predecessors of the Inuit there.

Sites in the drainage area of ​​the Mackenzie from 1000 BC are connected with the athabasques. Chr. To approx. 700 AD It is assumed that the as Old Chief Creek30 designated phase in the northern Yukon which later produced Gwich'in, while the Taye Lake phase in the southern Yukon produced the Tutchone.

The first Europeans

Areas where Scandinavian seafarers appeared

→ See also:Vinland

At the end of the 10th century, Scandinavians from Iceland and Norway were the first Europeans who demonstrably reached the American continent. Bjarni Herjúlfsson is considered the first to discover it. In 985 or 986 he went off course on the way to Greenland and reported about “wooded hills in the west”.31 About ten years later, Leif Eriksson's ship landed on Vinland, which is probably the same as the island of Newfoundland. However, the Scandinavians could not stay in this area permanently and withdrew around 1020 after disputes with the indigenous people they called “Skrælingar”.

The next European known by name to land in what is now Canada, on April 26, 1497, was Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), an Italian in English service who had lived in Venice for around 30 years. According to one assumption, his ship docked at Cape Breton Island. Cabot took prisoners and declared the land English possession. In 1498 the Portuguese João Fernandes Lavrador sailed the coast of the Labrador Peninsula, which is probably named after him.31a

Memorial plaque in Halifax for Giovanni Caboto, known in North America as John Cabot. The plaque was donated in 1997 by the province of Veneto on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Caboto's first visit to Canadian soil.
Statue in St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland, in memory of Gaspar Corte-Real, donated by the Portuguese Fisheries Organization in 1965.

In Lisbon, this was thought to be a violation of the Tordesillas Treaty, concluded three years earlier, which assigned this area to Portugal, and equipped three ships under the leadership of Gaspar Corte-Real. They landed in Labrador or Newfoundland in 1501 and captured several indigenous people. Corte-Real never returned, but in 1506 the Portuguese king levied a levy on fish from the waters of Newfoundland.32

More sailors explored the coast, but it was the French who were the first to penetrate inland. Jacques Cartier's expedition explored the area around the Saint Lawrence River in 1534/35 and took possession of it for France. The first settlement in New France was Tadoussac, founded in 1600. The settlement had to be abandoned, but remained as a trading post.33

As early as the 15th century, the rich fishing grounds off the coast of Newfoundland attracted fishermen from Spain, Portugal, France and the British Isles. English, Basque and French fishermen established smaller settlements on the coast where stockfish were dried and thus made ready for transport. Basques are said to have been active around the Newfoundland Bank as early as the 15th century. Around 1530 they founded a whaling station in Red Bay, which existed for around 70 years and at times had over 900 inhabitants.34

Indians and Europeans, British-French rivalry

French colonists led by Cartier, Nicolas Vallard, 1547

First contacts and trading activities

Fishermen from the Basque Country and England were the first to regularly visit the Newfoundland Bank's fishing grounds.35Giovanni Caboto36 landed in 1497 at a point on the east coast that cannot be determined with certainty and took three Mi'kmaq with him to England. In 1519 the fur trade began and the coastal tribes exchanged furs for knives, axes, hatchets and kettles. In 1524 the Italian Giovanni da Verrazano undertook a first research expedition to the east coast of North America on behalf of King Francis I, during which he sailed between South Carolina and the Cape Breton Island.

Jacques Cartier37, which anchored in Chaleur Bay in 1541, was already surrounded by numerous Mi'kmaq canoes, the crew of which waved beaver pelts. The tribes of the east coast soon waged war among themselves because of their trade contacts, especially since part of their leadership now depended on their success in the fur trade and on the goods acquired in this way. Cartier also had furs among the Iroquois on the upper St. Lawrence38 exchanged (1534/35) and for a long time trade flourished despite the lack of trading bases. A network of rivers and paths on which Indians traded had existed for a very long time.

Samuel de Champlain (until 1635)

Champlain's home in Port-Royal was Canada's first seat of government (reconstruction)

Algonkins or Susquehannock and Montagnais demanded Samuel de Champlain39 1601 when landing at Tadoussac to support the Iroquois. In 1609 the French supported the Hurons40 against Iroquois, with whom they had been at war for generations. This decision, which was never reversed despite several occasions, turned the Iroquois permanently against the French, and led them to the British side. In order to be able to wage the wars that followed, they obtained European weapons in exchange for furs from the Dutch allied with them, who acted as colonial power from New Amsterdam, later New York, and from Fort Oranje.

Jacques Cartier41 where today Québec and Montreal are, encountered the two Iroquois villages Stadacona and Hochelaga. However, they were gone in Champlain's time. The Hurons remained one of the most important allies of the French; the Iroquois soon allied themselves with the English, who in turn ousted the Dutch.

In 1604, a naval expedition in which Champlain took part built the first settlement on Saint Croix Island at the mouth of the St. Croix River. It was moved to Port Royal a year later. Other fortified structures soon followed. The relocation of the colony to Port Royal in the Mi'kmaq area brought the Penobscot against them in 1607. The Tarrantine War (1607-1615) was an expression of their rivalry in the fur trade. The Mi'kmaq contracted smallpox as they migrated south. This resulted in a severe epidemic that killed perhaps two thirds of the Indians.

In 1608, Champlain founded the city of Québec with 31 settlers, of whom only nine survived the first winter with the help of the Indians. In 1613 the traders from Port Royal had to withdraw to Tadoussac because the English had burned their colony. Champlain pulled up the Ottawa to gain allies. After he returned to France, he gave an area of ​​around 30% of the area of ​​New France to the Jesuits in the form of a Seigneury.42 When Champlain attacked an Onondaga fortress in 1615, however, he was repulsed. In 1627 he traveled to Paris and convinced Cardinal Richelieu that it was worth supporting the colony. That's how they founded Society of 100 Associates, also Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France called to encourage emigrants. But the number of settlers remained small. In 1630 Québec had 100 inhabitants, in 1640 at least 359. The feudal system of France was transferred to the colony and the country was divided into manors. The Jesuit mission was also supplied with food and building materials in this way. In addition, only Catholics were allowed to live in New France. Since Scots had already come to Acadia in 1628, but especially English to Newfoundland around 1630, a war broke out in the course of which Québec was occupied by the English from 1629-1632. The local Beothuk were drawn into the war and exterminated in the process.

Erected in 1634 Laviolette43 a trading post at Trois-Rivières.44 Missionaries set up posts along the Great Lakes. The Hurons had around 20,000 members, the Petun (Tionontati) are estimated to be over 10,000 in 1623 Neutrals on the Niagara Peninsula to about 40,000 people. Although they did not take part in the wars between the Hurons and the Iroquois, they did war on the Algonquins they had expelled, who at the time were called Fire nations were designated. The Iroquois destroyed the Hurons by 1650.45

Anglo-French competition

Monument to Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye (1685-1749) in front of the Hôtel de Ville in Québec

One of the strongest driving forces was by no means the political dominance or the economic exploitation of the new continent, but the search for the Northwest Passage that connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean; that also applied to Cartier. The hope was to find a short way to South and East Asia and to compete with the world powers Portugal and Spain there. Martin Frobisher46 went on trips from 1576 to 1578, similar to John Davis47 (1585-1587), William Baffin48 (1612-1616), Thomas James49 (1631-1632) and Luke Fox50 (1631). Baffin and James concluded that no passage existed.

Henry Hudson, when he was looking for the passage in 1609, took possession of Hudson Bay for England, which was named after him.51 Champlain was captured by the English in 1629, and Québec became British by 1632. The power vacuum that developed after Champlain's death (1635) was filled by the Bishop of Québec.52 In 1642 he initiated a utopian Christian settlement project, the Ville-Marie, the starting point for Montreal. Laval University was founded in 1663 and dates back to the Séminaire de Québec.

Map of Canada equated here with the colony of New France (1713).

After the release of individual trade with the Indians from 1652 onwards, numerous young men moved as rangers53 who lived among the Indians while new forts were being built. In 1672 their number was estimated at 300 to 400, which corresponded to around a tenth of the armed population.54Voyageurs, the number of which rose to at least 1,000 by 1738 and around 3,000 by 1810, transported goods, animals and people from 1779 on behalf of the North West Company.55 The rivers played an important role in this, because only on them could goods be transported over great distances. In suitable places, tribes like the Kichesipirini claimed a middleman monopoly as early as 1630, others moved their places of residence accordingly. The dispute over hunting rights was a central cause of the destruction of several tribes by the Iroquois. The position of power and the reputation of their leadership groups were based on these rights.

As early as 1630, the Tionontati and Hurons had decimated the beaver populations to such an extent that they had to look for other hunting areas. While the Hurons bought furs from the north through middlemen, the Tionontati moved south to Michigan. There, however, sat Algonquin groups who fought against the invasion of the allied Tionontati, neutrals and Ottawa. Their western expansion was in turn ended by the war with the Iroquois that began in 1640. They had been armed with guns by the Dutch and in 1645 they neutralized the French with a peace treaty. The Montagnais and some Algonk groups forced them to move east, leaving the Hurons largely isolated. In 1647 they destroyed the villages of the Arendaronon-Hurons. From the winter of 1648/49 the defeated Attignawantan-Hurons fled to the Tionontati.Jesuits had set up a first mission station in the main town in 1640, and stations in all other villages followed within a few years. When the Iroquois destroyed the Hurons, many of them fled to the Tionontati, who also attacked the Iroquois.

The Iroquois took the survivors into their rapidly growing confederation. However, around a thousand Tionontati managed to escape in 1649. Another group probably fled to the Illinois Confederation. The Seneca, the westernmost Iroquois tribe, demanded their extradition, but the Illinois refused. The Seneca then attacked them in 1655 and forced them to flee to areas west of the Mississippi.

By 1660 large quantities of pelts came from the Upper Lake area and occasionally from the Lakota. Frontenac57 tried to monopolize this trade for France and to collect taxes. To do this, he had the first permanent settlement in Ontario built, a fort on the site of today's Kingston. But from around 1660 Médard des Groseilliers and his brother-in-law Pierre-Esprit Radisson tried56 to revive the fur trade that had collapsed after the destruction of the Hurons. The fur trading group approached London, which took the opportunity to compete with France in the north. In 1670 the Hudson's Bay Company came into being, which smuggled furs past Fort Frontenac. In 1686 the French tried to burn down the English trading post in return. For their part, they used the opportunity to establish contact with the Cree and the groups living further north. In 1697, after defeating rivals in the Battle of Hudson Bay on September 5, 1697, the French captured Fort York. However, they had to return it in the Peace of Utrecht in 1713.

Although the search for the western border of the continent failed, contacts were made with Indians as far as the upper Mississippi, and for a short time even as far as Santa Fe in the Spanish region. Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye58 owed the Cree Auchagah59 with a map of the area between Oberem and Winnipegsee. Together with his four sons and a nephew, he built a series of forts and reached the Missouri in 1738. But he died before he could start looking for the way to the Pacific again.

The conflict of interests between England and France was not only reinforced by denominational differences, but above all by the different social and economic models that were transferred to America and further developed there. England had decisively weakened the feudal regime as a result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and feudalism was formally abolished in the New England colonies in 1776. Property was individualized, freedom of movement applied to all who were not slaves, taxes and services disappeared, and work increasingly became a commodity.

In the French territories, however, feudalism was not abolished until 1854. Until then, unfree work prevailed in the country, along with slower economic development, a feudal hierarchy with strong dependence on a few families who saw their center in France. In addition, the mercantilist economic policy was opposed to the independent development of New France. From 1627 on, Richelieu supported the establishment of a trading company that was supposed to promote colonization and the trade in fur, but only because it did not exist in France. In 1704, Paris consequently forbade the production of fur hats, which should only be made in France if possible.

The number of French settlers remained low due to a lack of support, while England, a little later, but then all the more energetically, relied on colonization. In both New England and Nova Scotia the system of dominated Crown Grants, so the equipment by the crown, and the Quit rents, the associated cash levies.

Only for a short period under the IntendantJean Talon received strong government funding from 1665 to 1672. Now around 500 newcomers came every year, plus 700 to 900 unmarried women from France between 1663 and 1672. In 1668 around 2,000 soldiers came with the Carignan Salières Regiment, of whom 446 remained as settlers and around 100 as soldiers.60 In addition, 1,500 settlers were recruited. The population rose from 24,500 to 70,000 between 1720 and 1760 as a result of numerous children born in the colony. After 1700 the development was increasingly overshadowed by the conflict with Great Britain. The superiority of the British colonies was shown by the fact that around one million white settlers were already living in New England in 1750.61

War for trade monopolies

The Indians brought most of the skins into the trade. The Iroquois, however, chased the beavers in the Hudson Valley and therefore pushed further north to hunt. In 1641 they offered the French peace, but they did not want to drop their Huron allies, who in turn were infected by their French allies with measles, flu and smallpox, which killed around 60% of the Hurons.62

The five nations of the Iroquois Confederation around 1650
The six nations of the Iroquois around 1720.

The Dutch began in 1648