From the fur trade to the Facebook age

There’s an unfortunate belief that Canadian history is too… well, boring to care much about. Yet those who take the time to study the country’s past usually leave impressed. From a tiny riverbank settlement of French fur traders to a nation of 34 million occupying half a continent, Canada’s history is a remarkable story of vision, growth, and human achievement.

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Canadian history has wars and revolutions, but also a lot of politics and economics. The country wasn’t created to be a home for any particular race or religious group, but instead a project to create a peaceful, orderly, well-governed society amid harsh geography and a diverse population.

The key date in Canadian history is July 1, 1867 — also known as Confederation Day — in which Canada adopted its current constitution and thus, in the minds of most Canadians, officially “became a country.” So-called “pre-Confederation” history describes the country’s colonization and settlement by European migrants, while post-Confederation history centres around the country’s slow process of securing independence from Britain and basically becoming the modern, rich, industrialized democracy it is today.

John A. MacDonald

Chapters

Early History

Early exploration and colonization of Canada by the British and French between the 17th and 19th centuries.

19th Century

Rise of colonial democracy, Confederation, and expansion.

20th Century

The history of Canada during the two world wars and the economic growth and political development that followed.

21st Century

Recent events from modern-day Canada.

Prime Ministers

Biographies of past leaders of Canada.

Historical Figures

Short profiles of various important people from Canadian history.