Colonies | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Browse "Colonies"

Displaying 1-15 of 37 results
  • Article

    Battle of Hudson Bay

    The Battle of Hudson Bay took place on 5 September 1697 during King William’s War, the North American theatre of the Nine Years’ War between England and France. Throughout the conflict, French forces tried to capture enemy forts in and around Hudson Bay. One of these was York Factory, a lucrative and important trading post the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) built in 1684. The French captured York Factory in 1694, only to have the English take it back a year later. Then, in 1697, a naval battle ensued in Hudson Bay between English and French forces. Captain Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville succeeded in taking York Factory for the French. The fort was later transferred back to the British after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Battle of Hudson Bay
  • Article

    Black Enslavement in Canada

    In early Canada, the enslavement of African peoples was a legal instrument that helped fuel colonial economic enterprise. The buying, selling and enslavement of Black people was practiced by European traders and colonists in New France in the early 1600s, and lasted until it was abolished throughout British North America in 1834. During that two-century period, settlers in what would eventually become Canada were involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Canada is further linked to the institution of enslavement through its history of international trade. Products such as salted cod and timber were exchanged for slave-produced goods such as rum, molasses, tobacco and sugar from slaveholding colonies in the Caribbean. This is the full-length entry about Black enslavement in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary). (See also Olivier Le Jeune; Sir David Kirke; Chloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Underground Railroad; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; Slavery Abolition Act, 1833; Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada.)

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Black Enslavement in Canada
  • Article

    British North America

    British North America refers to the British colonies and territories in North America after the US became independent in 1783 (see also American Revolution) and until Confederation in 1867. The British North America Act (BNA Act), which came into effect on 1 July 1867, united three of the five British North American colonies. The Act (renamed the Constitution Act, 1867, in 1982) is the foundational document of Canada’s Constitution.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php British North America
  • Article


    The name “Canada,” is derived from the Iroquoian word kanata, meaning a village or settlement. On 13 August 1535, as Jacques Cartier was nearing Île d'Anticosti, two Indigenous youths he was bringing back from France informed him that the route to Canada (“chemin de Canada”) lay to the south of the island. By Canada they meant the village of Stadacona, on the future site of Quebec City. Cartier used the word in that sense, but also referred to “the province of Canada,” meaning the area subject to Donnacona, chief at Stadacona. The name was soon applied to a much larger region. The “Harleian” world map of c. 1547, the first to show the discoveries made on Cartier's second voyage, applied it to an area north of the gulf and river St. Lawrence. By 1550 maps were also placing the name south of the river. (See also Cartography in Canada: 1500s.)

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Canada
  • Article

    Capitulation of Montreal 1760

    The Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the capitulation of Quebec City in 1759 made the strategic situation of New France desperate. Despite a victory at the Battle of Sainte-Foy, the French forces found themselves isolated in Montreal by the British. The French commander, François-Gaston de Lévis, wanted to continue the fight. However, to avoid a pointless loss of life, the Governor of New France, Pierre-Rigaud de Vaudreuil, decided to surrender the city. With the capitulation of Montreal to the British forces on 8 September 1760, Great Britain completed its conquest of New France.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Capitulation of Montreal 1760
  • Article

    Colonial Office

    Colonial Office, a department established by the British government to administer its colonial possessions, including British North America.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Colonial Office
  • Article

    The Conquest of New France

    The Conquest (La Conquête) is a term used to describe the acquisition of Canada by Great Britain during the Seven Years’ War. It also refers to the resulting conditions experienced by Canada’s 60,000 to 70,000 French-speaking inhabitants and numerous Indigenous groups. French forces at Quebec City surrendered to British forces on 18 September 1759, a few days after the crucial Battle of the Plains of Abraham. French resistance ended in 1760 with the capitulation of Montreal. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris surrendered New France to Britain. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 introduced assimilative policies that ultimately failed. They were replaced by the provisions of the Quebec Act of 1774. Although it helped spark the American Revolutionary War (1775–83), the Act also granted Canadians enviable conditions that resulted in generations of relative stability.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php The Conquest of New France
  • Article

    French-speaking Louisiana and Canada

    Located in the southern United States, the state of Louisiana has a population of 4,533,372 according to the 2010 census. Louisiana’s history is closely tied to Canada’s. In the 17th century, Louisiana was colonized by French Canadians in the name of the King of France. In the years that followed, additional waves of settlers came from French Canada to Louisiana, notably the Acadians, after their deportation by British troops in 1755. Today, Louisiana maintains a special cultural relationship with Canada and Quebec in particular.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php French-speaking Louisiana and Canada
  • Article


    Support for the British Empire and imperialism was strong in much of Canada in the decades after Confederation. But gradually, imperialist loyalties declined and Canadians demanded and won full autonomy within the empire.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Imperialism
  • Article

    Trade Goods of the Fur Trade

    During the fur trade in Canada, items of European manufacture (historically referred to in the literature as Indian trade goods) were traded with Indigenous peoples for furs. These items include, for example, metal objects, weapons and glass beads. (See also Trade Silver.) In various ways, however, cultural exchanges went both ways. Some Europeans, namely the voyageurs, adopted various Indigenous technologies and clothing during the fur trade, including the use of moccasins, buckskin pants and hats, and snowshoes.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Trade Goods of the Fur Trade
  • Article

    Trade Silver

    Gifts of silver were presented and traded to Indigenous peoples in Canada by European fur traders. Trade silver was made by silversmiths in Quebec City, Montreal, London and various American cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Detroit. (See also Fur Trade in Canada and Trade Goods of the Fur Trade.)

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Trade Silver
  • Article

    La Capricieuse

    The first French naval vessel to visit Canada after the Conquest, La Capricieuse received a tumultuous welcome at Québec on 13 July 1855.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php La Capricieuse
  • Article

    Great Peace of Montreal, 1701

    On 4 August 1701, the French concluded a peace agreement with the Five Nations Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). This brought to an end almost a century of hostilities marked by atrocities on both sides. The Haudenosaunee were permitted to trade freely and to obtain goods from the French at a reduced cost. In exchange, they pledged to allow French settlement at Detroit and to remain neutral in the event of a war between England and France. The accord assured New France superiority in dealing with issues related to the region’s First Nations. It also gave the French the freedom to expand militarily over the next half century.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Great Peace of Montreal, 1701
  • Article


    Pedlar is a derogatory term used in the days of the Fur Trade by Hudson's Bay Company men to describe any trader from Québec, and later any trader from the North West Company, who "peddled" his goods to the Indigenous peoples by taking them to their encampments.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Pedlar
  • Article

    Pioneer Life

    As each new area of Canada was opened to European settlement, pioneers faced the difficult task of building homes and communities from the ground up. Pioneer life revolved around providing the basic necessities of existence in a northern wilderness — food, shelter, fuel and clothing. Pioneering life was integral to family life and provided social stability for the settlement of a larger population across the country.

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Pioneer Life

Challenge yourself - take the CC Quiz!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country.  We also produce the Heritage Minutes and other programs. If you believe all Canadians should have access to free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages, please consider donating today. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.

Book a Speaker