This timeline highlights events and people related to Acadian History.
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This timeline highlights events and people related to Acadian History.
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Beothuk (meaning “the people” or “true people” in their language) were an Indigenous people who traditionally inhabited Newfoundland. At the time of European contact in the 16th century, the Beothuk may have numbered no more than 500 to 1,000. Their population is difficult to estimate owing to a reduction in their territories in the early contact period. While it has been said that the Beothuk are now extinct, Mi’kmaq oral tradition denies this claim. Indigenous oral histories teach that the Beothuk intermarried with other Indigenous nations along the mainland after they had been forced out of their coastal territories by settlers. According to this perspective, Beothuk descendants live on in other Indigenous communities.
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The role of Black people within the history of the fur trade is rarely considered. Black people were rarely in a position to write their own stories, so often those stories went untold. This owes to a complex set of factors including racism and limited access to literacy. Black people are also not the focus of many historical documents. However, historians have identified several Black fur traders working in different roles, and even an entire family of Black fur traders who left their mark on history.
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The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated. “Freedom and a Farm.” The promise was exciting to the thousands of African Americans, most seeking to escape enslavement, who fought in British regiments during the American Revolutionary War (1775–83). Following the war, they joined tens of thousands of Loyalists — American refugees who had sided with the British. Between 80,000 and 100,000 Loyalists eventually fled the United States. About half came to British North America. The main waves arrived in 1783 and 1784. The territory that now includes the Maritime provinces became home to more than 30,000 Loyalists. Most of coastal Nova Scotia received Loyalist settlers, as did Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island (then called St. John’s Island).
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Archivist Barbara M. Wilson explores the significance of a letter sent to Sir Sam Hughes by George Morton, a letter carrier, barber and civil rights advocate from Hamilton, Ontario. In his letter, dated 7 September 1915, Morton asked the minister of militia and defence why members of the Black community were being turned away when trying to enlist for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. (See also Black Volunteers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.)
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Charles Constantine, mounted policeman (b at Bradford, Yorkshire 13 Nov 1849; d at Long Beach, Calif 5 May 1912). Immigrating to Canada as a young man, Constantine was a member of the Red River Expedition sent against Louis Riel and the Manitoba Métis in 1870.
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Coureurs des bois were itinerant, unlicenced fur traders from New France. They were known as “wood-runners” to the English on Hudson Bay and “bush-lopers” to the Anglo-Dutch of New York. Unlike voyageurs, who were licensed to transport goods to trading posts, coureurs des bois were considered outlaws of sorts because they did not have permits from colonial authorities. The independent coureurs des bois played an important role in the European exploration of the continent. They were also vital in establishing trading contacts with Indigenous peoples.
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The coureurs de côtes were itinerant traders in 18th-century French Canada.
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This collection explores the rich heritage of the Acadians through articles and exhibits, as well as quizzes on arts and culture, history and politics, historical figures, and places associated with the Acadian people.
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Demasduit (also known as Demasduwit, Shendoreth, Waunathoake, and Mary March), creator of a Beothuk dictionary (born 1796; died 8 January 1820 at Bay of Exploits, Newfoundland). Demasduit was a Beothuk woman taken captive by English fishers in 1819. She was subsequently sent to an Anglican missionary where she created a list of Beothuk vocabulary. After her death, her remains and those of her husband were taken to Scotland. After much lobbying, the remains were returned to Newfoundland in 2020. The Government of Canada has recognized Demasduit as a Person of National Historic Significance.
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French Canadian attitudes toward monarchical government and members of the French and, later, British royal families have changed over time. King Louis XIV of France made New France a crown colony and supported its expansion and economic development. King George III of Great Britain granted royal assent to the Quebec Act in 1774, which guaranteed freedom of worship and French Canadian property rights. Early royal tours of Quebec were well received by the public. There was republican sentiment expressed during the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837, however, and support for the monarchy in Quebec declined sharply following the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Today, polling data indicates that a majority of people in Quebec support the abolition of the monarchy in Canada.
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Helen (Ma) Armstrong (née Jury), labour activist, women’s rights activist (born 17 June 1875 in Toronto, Ontario; died 17 April 1947 in Los Angeles, California). Helen Armstrong was a labour activist who fought for the rights of working-class women throughout her life. She was the leader of the Winnipeg Women’s Labor League and a central figure in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. She campaigned for unions, a minimum wage and social security, and against conscription. Armstrong was arrested for her activism at least three times, including twice during the Winnipeg General Strike. Historian Esyllt Jones described Helen Armstrong as “the exception in a male-dominated labour movement.”
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Indigenous peoples in Canada were essential players in the fur trade of the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries. They provided animal furs, including highly sought-after beaver pelts, to European traders, who, in turn, gave Indigenous peoples manufactured items like pots, beads, textiles and weapons. While some past historians have framed the fur trade as a predominately unequal commercial exchange, it was conducted according to First Nations laws and principles, and worked to transform strangers into kin and sometimes even enemies into allies. When European traders arrived in North America, they entered an Indigenous world on Indigenous terms and travelled and traded there only with the co-operation and goodwill of First Nations. Indigenous peoples taught European newcomers how to behave in the fur trade, emphasizing the importance of gift-giving, reciprocity and family obligations. From an Indigenous perspective then, the fur trade was as much about family, co-operation and reciprocity as it was about commerce and exchange.
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Isobel Gunn (sometimes spelled Isabel, a.k.a. Isabella Gunn, John Fubbister and Mary Fubbister), labourer (born 10 August 1780 in Tankerness, Scotland; died 7 November 1861 in Stromness, Scotland). Gunn disguised herself as a man in order to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 19th century. She travelled to Rupert’s Land (now Canada) to work in the fur trade and is believed to have been one of the first European woman in Western Canada.
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Jerry Potts, or Ky-yo-kosi, meaning "Bear Child," scout, guide, interpreter (b at Ft McKenzie, US 1840; d at Fort Macleod, Alta 14 July 1896).
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