Canadian History For Dummies®

Table of Contents

About This Book
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: When Worlds Collide
Part II: The Rise of New France
Part III: The Fall of New France
Part IV: Canada: The Failed Republic?
Part V: The Roads to Confederation
Part VI: The End of “English” Canada
Part VII: Dark Days
Part VIII: Noisy Evolution
Part IX: Toward a One-Party Rule
Part X: The Part of Tens
Appendix: Online Resources
Icons Used In This Book
Part I: When Worlds Collide
Chapter 1: First Nations
Slow Collision
People of the Longhouse
The Great Law of Peace
Romans of the New World
Clan mothers and faithkeepers
People of the North Woods
On the coast
The canoe as Canadian icon
The wild man of the forest
A northern empire
People of the Plains
The buffalo hunt
Waste not, want not . . .
The medicine bundle
The Sun Dance
People of the Pacific Northwest
Of noblemen and slaves
The culture and philosophy of the potlatch
The impact of white society on the potlatch
Caught in Between: People of the Plateau
People of the Far North
Northern hunters
Further examples of Inuit ingenuity
Chapter 2: First Contact
The Vikings
The Diffusionists Are Coming!
The Three Big C’s
John Cabot and the cod
Cartier’s first voyage: Laying claim
Cartier’s second voyage: Down the St. Lawrence
Cartier’s third voyage: Fake as a Canadian diamond
Champlain to the rescue
The Quest for a Northwest Passage
Fool’s gold: The voyages of Martin Frobisher
The lonely fate of Henry Hudson
Rule Britannia! An Empire Founded by Fog?
The two G’s
The Beothuk
Slow death
But was it genocide?
Part II: The Rise of New France (1608–1701)
Chapter 3: The Early Years
Life and Times of Samuel Champlain
Iroquois versus Canadien: The lines are drawn
Coureurs de bois and voyageurs
The first habitant
Company of One Hundred
The Kirke brothers take Québec
The death of Champlain
Black Robes
Impact of the Jesuits
Ste. Marie Among the Hurons
Apocalypse then: The fall of Huronia
The Canadian martyrs
Meanwhile, Back in Acadia . . .
Membertou: The unsung Father of Acadia?
Argall attacks!
The Acadian Civil War
Chapter 4: Life in New France
Of Myth and Men: The Battle of Long Sault
A Royal Province
Mercantilism and triangular trade
The Great Intendant
The empire strikes back
Filles du roi
Feudalism: Canadien style
The seigneurial system
Church and State
The bishop and the widow
Mère d’Youville and the Grey Nuns
Chapter 5: The Fur Wars
A Northern Shortcut
Voyage of the Nonsuch
Here before Christ
Company of the North
North America’s first commando raid
You take the river, I’ll take the bay
A Tale of Two Travellers
“The boy Kelsey”
La Salle
Return of the Iroquois
The Lachine massacre
“For God and King!”
Phips and Frontenac
The Frontenac massacres
A monumental clash of egos
Iberville the Swashbuckler
Rampage in Avalon
Hampshire and the Pélican
Peace at Last?
Part III: The Fall of New France (1701–1766)
Chapter 6: Acadia
The Final Conquest of Acadia
The capture of Port Royal
The Iroquois come to Nova Scotia
1713: The Treaty of Utrecht
White elephant?
A thriving community (in spite of everything)
Acadia: The Golden Years
The neutral French
A landscape transformed: The Acadian dikes
Cold War in Acadia
Warden of the North: The founding of Halifax
The Mi’kmaq resistance
The cold war heats up
The Expulsion of the Acadians
At Grand Pré
The voyages
“A criminal soul”
The Return of the Acadians
Chapter 7 : The Conquest
The Shooting Starts
Council at Alexandria
France’s Native allies
Early French victories
The Fall of Louisbourg
1759: The Battle for Québec
Key players
The British armada arrives
Summer of terror
On the Plains of Abraham
The Battle of Restigouche
Amherst arrives — finally
The Battle of Signal Hill
Chapter 8 : Aftermath
Canada under British Military Rule
1763: The Treaty of Paris
The Pontiac Rebellion
The great alliance
Biological warfare
The Royal Proclamation
Canada under Civil Rule
The birth of English Canada?
An ominous prediction
Part IV: Canada: The Failed Republic? (1766–1838)
Chapter 9: Canada and the American Revolution
The Pot Boils Over
The Québec Act
“Join us!”
1775: The Invasion of Canada
The capture of Montréal
The siege of Québec City
Nova Scotia: The Fourteenth Colony?
A Tale of Two Islands
P.E.I.: “Land of the absentee landlord”
Newfoundland: “The neglected outpost”
The Loyalists
The great exodus
The Black Loyalists
New Brunswick: The Loyalist province
The Treaty of Paris (not to be confused with the Treaty of Paris)
The Revolution and the Iroquois Confederacy
Upper Canada Is Created
The Constitutional Act of 1791
The Father of Upper Canada
Simcoe vs. the slave trade
Osgoode and Monk
Into the Interior
The North West Company
Jay’s Treaty
The Great Rendezvous
On the Pacific Coast
James Cook
The Nootka confrontation
Vancouver and Quadra
Chapter 10: The War of 1812
The Lead-up to War
The Louisiana Purchase
Governor Craig’s “Reign of Terror”
Overland to the Pacific
“Free trade and sailors’ rights!”
A mere matter of marching
The War in Upper Canada
Brock and Tecumseh: “Walking tall”
“Join us!” (Part two)
The capture of Detroit
The capture of York (Toronto)
Laura Secord: “The Americans are coming!”
The War in Lower Canada
The Battle of Chateauguay
The Battle of Crysler’s Farm
Along the Seacoast
Shannon and the Chesapeake
Burn, Washington! Burn!
The Battle of New Orleans
So Who Won?
Lord Selkirk and the Pemmican Wars
Chapter 11: The Rebellions of 1837
NWC + HBC = Monopoly
Lead-up to Rebellion
Political faultlines
Government by clique
The Rebellion in Lower Canada
Papineau the patriote
The Battle of St-Denis
The Battle of St-Eustache
Les frères chasseurs
“Lord Satan”
The Rebellion in Upper Canada
Mackenzie the muckraker
“Galloping Head”
Montgomery’s Tavern
“Remember the Caroline!”
So What Was the Point?
Part V: The Roads to Confederation(1838–1891)
Chapter 12: The Fight for Responsible Government
Lord Durham: Mission Impossible
“Radical Jack” tours the colonies
The Durham Report
“Defeats as glorious as victories”
The Act of Union
Triumph of the Moderates
LaFontaine and Baldwin
The Montréal riots
Joseph Howe and the bloodless coup
United Canada: A report card on unity
Gold Colony: British Columbia Is Born
Fort Victoria: An island toehold
“54.40 or fight!”
Gold on the Fraser
The Cariboo Road
The hangin’ judge
Responsible government? In B.C.??
Chapter 13: The Confederation Waltz
Causes of Confederation
The U.S. Civil War
The impending end of free trade
The railway revolution
Stalemate in the Province of Canada
The great coalition
Blueprint for a Nation
The Charlottetown Conference
The Québec Conference: 72 Resolutions
Reaction and Resistance
Fenians to the rescue!
The BNA Act is passed
Canada’s first separatist movement
The Fathers of Confederation
Chapter 14: From Sea to Sea
Growing Pains
Louis Riel and the Red River Resistance
B.C. comes onboard
The numbered treaties
The Mounties
P.E.I. joins Canada
The Pacific Scandal
The Return of John A.
“Honest Sandy”
The National Policy
The great railway
Mowat and Mercier
The North-West Rebellion
Gabriel Dumont and the return of Louis Riel
Battle of Duck Lake
Poundmaker and Big Bear
CPR to the rescue!
The Battle of Batoche
The execution of Louis Riel
John A.’s Last Campaign
Part VI: The End of “English” Canada(1891–1929)
Chapter 15: “Sunny Ways”: The Laurier Years
Laurier: Re-Inventing Canada
The Manitoba School Question
“Peasants in sheepskin coats”
Alberta and Saskatchewan
Klondike Gold
The Alaska boundary dispute
Bernier to Dickins: Canada’s northern colony
Canada and the Empire
“An everlasting ‘No’ ”
The Boer War
Free trade and a tinpot navy
Chapter 16: Borden and the Great War
Marching Off to War
“Back by Christmas!”
Enemy aliens
Gas attack at Ypres
Battle of the Somme
Vimy Ridge
In the air
The Conscription Crisis
Union government
“The Prussians next door”
Canada’s 100 Days
Breakthrough at Amiens
November 11
Canada and the Empire: Revised
“Transforming the British Empire”
Canada and the League of Nations
The political impact of World War I: A recap
Chapter 17: On the Homefront
The Labour Movement
One Big Union
The Winnipeg General Strike
The Women’s Movement
“The demon rum”
“Hyenas in petticoats”
Angels or equals?
The Persons Case
King the Conciliator
The King–Byng thing
“Not a single Indian remaining”
Pier 21
Part VII: Dark Days(1929–1959)
Chapter 18: The Dirty Thirties
The Great Depression
“Bonfire Bennett” to the rescue!
“On to Ottawa”
A deathbed conversion?
“King or Chaos!”
Political Upheaval
The red menace
The CCF and the Regina Manifesto
“Bible Bill”
Union Nationale
Mitch and Duff
Federal–provincial relations (yawn)
Chapter 19: World War II
On the Battlefield
Hong Kong
The Italian campaign
The Scheldt
To the Rhine — and into Holland
On the Homefront
Conscription crisis (part two)
Canada and the Holocaust
Japanese Canadians and the war
Chapter 20: Canada and the Cold War
The Post-War Years
Keynesian economics
“The Man in the Mask”
Displaced persons
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The King legacy
Canada as a Middle Power
Newfoundland joins Canada (or is it the other way around?)
The Indian Act of 1951
Korea: Canada’s forgotten war
Missile trackers amid the tundra
Keeping the peace: The Suez Crisis
Farewell to Uncle Louis
Diefenbaker: Renegade in Power
The 15-percent promise
The Arrow
The Canadian Bill of Rights
Farewell to the Chief
Part VIII: Noisy Evolution(1960–1993)
Chapter 21: The Battle for Québec
The Quiet Revolution
Pearson: Peacemaker as PM
The Vietnam War: “You peed on my rug!”
Redefining Canada
Canada’s flag
The status of women
1967: The last good year?
“Vive le Québec libre!”
B&B and “the Three Wise Men”
The Philosopher King
The Official Languages Act of 1969
The White Paper on Indian Affairs
The October Crisis
Multiculturalism: The new ideal?
Bill 22
The PQ in power
Bill 101
The Berger Commission
Sleeping with the elephant: The rise of economic nationalism
Joe who?
Chapter 22: A Charter Country
Round Two
The 1980 referendum
The Constitution Act of 1982
The impact of the Charter
Western alienation, or “that #%@!* Trudeau!”
The Trudeau Legacy
Chapter 23: “Yankee Doodle Dandy”: The Mulroney Years
“Canada Is Open for Business!”
The Shamrock Summit
Free trade and the GST
On a World Stage
Whose passage?
The last cod
Native Land Claims
James Bay
The Penner Report
The Sechelt Band Agreement
The Lubicon Cree
The Constitutional Can of Worms
“A distinct society”
The Meech Lake Accord
Opposition to Meech
Bill 178
“No, Mr. Speaker”
The Charlottetown Accord
The West Wants In and the East Wants Out
RCAP and the Shoot-out at the Oka Corral
The Voter Revolt of 1993
The Mulroney Legacy
Part IX: Toward a One-Party Rule(1993–2005)
Chapter 24: The Chrétien Era
The End of Canada?
The 1995 Referendum
Plan B
The Supreme Court ruling
The Clarity Act
NAFTA: From Eaton’s to Wal-Mart?
Native Settlements in the 1990s
The scandal of Canada’s residential schools
The Nisga’a Agreement
APEC and the Pepper Spray
Hard Right: The Canadian Alliance
Road Kill: The 2000 Election — and Its Aftermath
September 11 and after
Bill C-36
Saying “yes” to Afghanistan
Saying “no” to Iraq
Chapter 25: Junior Martin Takes Over
Paul Martin’s Coup d’État
The Liberal Party implosion of 2002
Paul Martin: Sore winner
The Romanow Report — and after
A slippery slope
Scary Days
The Right Unites
From Clark and Day, to Harper and MacKay
What’s in a name?
The Sponsorship Scandal
The Gomery Inquiry
Minority Report: The 2004 Election
“The nastiest campaign”
The final tally
Native Issues
The 2003 ruling on Métis rights
Soviet Canuckistan?
Missile defence
Same-sex marriage
The Kyoto Protocol
Stayin’ Alive
NDP to the rescue!
“Et tu, Belinda?”
Part X: The Part of Tens
Chapter 26: Ten Great Canadian Quotations — Pre- and Post-Confederation
Chapter 27 : Five Important English and French Pairs
Chapter 28: Ten Important Aboriginal Leaders
Chapter 29: Ten Political Firsts for Canadian Women
Appendix: Online Resources

Canadian History For Dummies®

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About the Author

Will Ferguson has lived and worked in every region of Canada, from the Okanagan Valley of B.C. to the farmlands of rural Québec, from Saskatoon to southern Ontario, from Manitoba to P.E.I.

He is the author of several bestselling books on Canadian history and culture, including Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw (winner of the 2005 Leacock Medal for Humour) and Bastards & Boneheads (a study in Canadian leadership styles). With his brother Ian, he wrote the wildly successful humour book How to Be a Canadian, which sold over 150,000 copies and won the Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

Will’s debut novel Happiness (originally published under the title Generica) won the 2002 Leacock Medal for Humour and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. It has been published in 33 countries and 26 languages around the world.

Author’s Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Robert Harris, Robert Hickey, Pamela Vokey, and Elizabeth McCurdy for their work on the 2nd edition of Canadian History For Dummies, as well as the many good people who helped produce and promote the original 2000 edition: Joan Whitman, Tom Best, Amy Black, Melanie Rutledge, Jennifer Smith, Donna Brown, Rebecca Conolly, Kim Herter, and Jamie Broadhurst.

I would also like to thank my agent, Carolyn Swayze, as well as Kirsten Olson, Executive Director of the Legal Archives of Alberta; historians Harry Sanders and Donald Smith in Calgary, AB; Mark Zuehlke in Victoria, BC; and Pam and Steve Stackhouse in Saint John, NB.

The following readers either wrote to me or provided feedback on the original version of Canadian History For Dummies, and suggested changes and/or corrections that have been incorporated into the 2nd edition: Raisa Deber at the University of Toronto; Michael Dorosh of Calgary, AB; Tom Wright of Riverview, NB; Stephen Jones of Chicago, IL; Richard Harnik of Brooklyn, NY; and John Stolarski of Kettering, UK.

Many thanks! Comments on Canadian History For Dummies, 2nd Edition can be sent to me via the publisher or at my Web site:

Publisher’s Acknowledgements

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:


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Canadian history is a lot of fun. There are heroes and villains, tragedies and triumphs, great battles and sudden betrayals, loyal refugees and long struggles for social justice. Our history tells us who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. Any place as eclectic and mixed up as Canada will never be able to settle on a single unified, homogenous national history that will please everyone, but make no mistake: There is a history that we need to know. The interpretations may vary — radically, at times — but there are still core events and important leaders from our past that every Canadian should be familiar with.

History matters, and we forget this truth at our peril.

— historian J.L. Granatstein

About This Book

When the first edition of Canadian History For Dummies (published in 2000) appeared on The Globe and Mail and National Post charts, a milestone had been reached. It was the first …For Dummies book ever to appear on a general bestseller list — in Canada, the States, or anywhere else. It went on to win the Canadian Authors Association Award for History (another first for a …For Dummies book).

But a lot has happened since 2000, and a brand-new, fully revised second edition was needed. From the terrorist attacks of September 11th to the war in Afghanistan, from Mad Cow to SARS, from the sponsorship scandal to Paul Martin’s tenuous minority government, this second edition includes the key events of recent years.

It also includes new material on previous topics. Every chapter in this book has been expanded, edited, altered, or rewritten in some way for the second edition. I have added material on the 1760 Battle of Restigouche, on the role Chief Justice Osgoode played in ending the slave trade, and on the “bride ship” of colonial Victoria (sent to supply young ladies for lonely bachelors). I have added the story of Chief Isaac of the Klondike Han, who faced an onslaught of strangers during the Gold Rush of 1897, and the story of how the West almost became One Big Province. I have added more on how medicare was developed, along with a sidebar on Tommy Douglas, the “Greatest Canadian,” and I have more than doubled the section on Canada’s military contributions to Word War II to include the invasion of Italy, the Scheldt Campaign, the Rhineland, and the liberation of Holland. All this — and more — has been added to the second edition.

Canadian History For Dummies is a crash course in Canadian literacy. It covers the essential dates, events, leaders, and historical themes from our past — and present. It also includes Web sites on related topics, so that you can expand and explore further the areas that interest you.

We all have those moments in life when we stop and look around and ask ourselves, “How on earth did I ever end up here?” And the answer lies, as always, in the contingencies of the past and the choices we made along the way. This book tries to answer that question on a national level: “How on earth did we ever end up here?”

History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstance. . . . And the encounter between character and circumstance is essentially a story.

— historian Donald Creighton

History is about the impact of the decisions we make and the ripple effects that follow. It’s a study of people and events, action and reaction, crisis and consequence. History can inspire us. It can anger us. It can teach us important lessons. It can be used as an alibi — or a weapon. But above all it is a story. In this case, the story of a country.

The “story” in history is important, and I have tried my best to give this book a narrative flow. I have also tried to introduce some lesser-known figures from Canada’s past.

check.png People like Lizzie Cyr, the prostitute whose now-forgotten trial first set in motion a chain of events that led to the women’s rights crusade of the Famous Five and the Persons Case that followed.

check.png Or the swashbuckling Sieur d’Iberville, whose exploits are worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

check.png Or the Canadian diplomat John Humphrey, who drafted the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN Declaration set both the standards and the ideals of today’s global village. It has had a huge impact on world events. Yet, few Canadians have ever heard of John Humphrey or are aware of what he achieved.

When I was living in the Loyalist town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, I used to drive by a small island almost every day. I never gave it much thought until one day, just in passing, I noticed a historical marker up from the shore. When I pulled over, I discovered that right there — right there in front of me — was the legendary St. Croix Island (once known, for grim descriptive reasons, as “Bone Island”). It was on that tiny tuft of land that a band of French colonists first suffered through a horrific winter 400 years before. It was there, on that small island, that Acadia was born: the first permanent European presence on mainland Canada. And here I was, driving by it, week after week, blissfully unaware. I was surrounded by ghosts, and I never even knew.

Strangers in their own land . . .

— author Robertson Davies on the relationship many Canadians have with their country and its history

How This Book Is Organized

It’s very simple. I took a straightforward chronological approach, with each part representing another step in Canadian development. You can jump around if you like, though I do recommend reading the chapters in any given part in the order they appear.

Part I: When Worlds Collide

This part deals with Canada’s First Nations and their initial contact with Europeans, beginning with the Vikings and ending with the first tentative colonies in Newfoundland, the Maritimes, and along the St. Lawrence. The Native societies of Canada prior to first contact were incredibly complex and varied: ranging from the military and political alliances of the Iroquois to the northern trade empire of the Ojibwa; from the small-band subsistence hunters of the northern forests to the austere lifestyle of the plains; from the intricate arts and social caste system of the Pacifc Coast to the survival techniques and adaptive genius of the Arctic Inuit. This wasn’t an empty continent that the European explorers first stumbled upon. Far from it.

Part II: The Rise of New France

Here I talk about the formative years of 1608 to 1701. It begins with Samuel de Champlain and the founding of French fur-trading colonies in the Maritimes and along the St. Lawrence. We look at the rise of an elaborate French culture in Canada, a sort of “Paris-in-exile,” as well as its ongoing frontier war with the Iroquois Confederacy. Jesuit missionaries travelled deep into Native territory spreading both germs and the gospel among the Huron and other nations. A new breed of trader was born — the voyageurs and woodsmen of New France — even as England outflanked France to the north, in the Hudson Bay. A fierce rivalry between the two European countries erupted, and battles raged from Arctic seas to the outports of Newfoundland.

Part III: The Fall of New France

I cover the fateful years of 1701 to 1766, which deals with the conquest of New France by Britain, something that has been described as the “Big Bang” of Canadian history. During the Seven Years’ War, Britain and France battled it out for final control of the continent. The Acadian colonists of the Maritime region were forced into exile, and the French fortress of Louisbourg, perched on the windswept coast of Cape Breton, was captured — and systematically destroyed. On the Plains of Abraham, outside the walled city of Québec, two armies faced off against each other: one British, one French. In a fierce 15-minute battle, the fate of Canada was decided.

Part IV: Canada: The Failed Republic?

Here you’ll read about the tumultuous years of 1766 to 1838. When the American colonies broke free of Great Britain, the northern ones stayed loyal. In this, the American Revolution ultimately created not one, but two new countries. In 1812, the Americans tried to finish the job and conquer Canada, and in 1837 rebellions within Upper and Lower Canada again tried to break the colonies free. Both attempts failed, and Canada remained independent of the United States. Meanwhile, in the vast interior of the continent, explorers were pushing their way overland — all the way to the Pacific.

Part V: The Roads to Confederation

This part looks at the energetic years of 1838 to 1891. This was an era of nation-building that marked the birth of modern Canada, as three colonies joined together to form a new Confederation. Under the terms of the 1867 British North America (BNA) Act, Canada’s essential character was set. And soon after, the Canadians purchased the vast North-West and invited B.C. into the fold. On the plains, the Métis (of mixed Native and European background) led an armed rebellion against the government — and the last spike of the CPR was driven home, joining Canada “from sea to sea.”

Part VI: The End of “English” Canada

The years between 1891 and 1929 were ones of optimism and disillusionment. It was an era that marked the high point of English-Canadian imperial pride — and its decline. The events discussed in this part include the opening of the Canadian West, the Klondike Gold Rush, World War I, and the fight for women’s rights. Canada’s multicultural character (neither French, English, nor Native) first began to take shape during this time, as waves of newcomers arrived in search of prosperity. The First World War, which brought old-school European imperialism to a crashing halt, also marked Canada’s “political independence.” It was an age not of nation-building but rather consolidation — a time when Canada moved from colony to country.

Part VII: Dark Days

The dark years of 1929 to 1959 were a time marked by three disastrous events: the Great Depression of the 1930s, the slaughter of World War II, and the tense Armageddon-game of the Cold War. During the ’30s, the economy collapsed, the Prairies turned into a dustbowl, and labour unrest and socialist movements rose. Then suddenly, as an ally in the war against Nazi Germany, Canada found itself plunged into unexpected prosperity. This in turn led to the consumer society of the 1950s and the baby boom that followed. And all the while, the threat of nuclear war between the Capitalist West and the Communist East hung over our heads. Canada was a “Middle Power,” in more ways than one. As a Soviet ambassador noted, Canada was “the ham in the Soviet–American sandwich.”

Part VIII: Noisy Evolution

This part covers 1960 to 1993. It begins with the Quiet Revolution in Québec, a cultural renaissance that gave birth to renewed nationalism — and violence. Martial law was declared and mass arrests were ordered. The violent wing of the separatist movement was crushed, but not the political arm, and in 1980 a referendum on “sovereignty-association” was held — and defeated. Canada’s Constitution came home with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but without the approval of Québec’s PQ government. Later attempts at “bringing Québec into the Constitution” failed and the country teetered at the edge of collapse.

Part IX: Toward a One-Party Rule

This part takes us from 1993 to the present, covering the Chrétien era and four Liberal election victories in a row, when Canada seemed to have only one governing party. It includes the near-death experience of the 1995 referendum and the subsequent attempt at outflanking the separatists with a “Plan B.” The terrorist attacks on the U.S., and Canada’s response — saying “yes” to Afghanistan, and “no” to Iraq — are included in this part, as is SARS, Mad Cow, West Nile and other fun topics. It brings us back full circle to Chrétien, with the fallout of the sponsorship scandal and the Gomery Inquiry that followed.

Part X: The Part of Tens

Here you’ll find great Canadian quotations (a sort of summarized history of Canada as told through some of the more memorable quips) as well as the most notable French-Canadian, English-Canadian, and Native leaders, and a list of important political firsts for women. The information in this part is dealt with in detail in previous chapters, but is gathered here for quick reference.

Appendix: Online Resources

Want to learn more? You’ll find a wealth of information at the Web site addresses listed here.

Icons Used In This Book

One of the trademarks of …For Dummies books is the use of icons. These are great when it comes to marking technical advice or computer tips, but when it comes to something like history — which is essentially a narrative — I thought it would be helpful to use “thematic icons” to mark the recurring patterns of Canadian history.

These icons allow you to follow the ongoing themes of Canadian history as they are played out. (And let me just say, I wish there had been thematic icons in the margins when I was struggling through Moby Dick back in college.) You can even read this book solely along thematic lines if you like, tracing the various “recurring dramas” of Canadian history as you go.

The three big themes of Canadian history are keeping the Americans out, keeping the French in, and trying to get the Natives to somehow disappear. In Canadian History For Dummies, I’ve gone through and flagged these themes — along with some others.

A quick note about these icons: The symbols I chose only represent the themes. They aren’t meant to be taken literally. The Union Jack/fleur-de-lis icon, for example, is used in this book to represent everything from Acadia versus New England, to the LaFontaine/Baldwin political alliance of the 1840s, to Québec versus Ottawa in the 1990s.

The stylized maple leaf dates only to 1965, but is used here to symbolize Canadian independence from the earliest years of New France onward. It marks the Battle of Vimy Ridge, for example, even though the soldiers at that time would have been flying the Red Ensign, not the maple leaf.

missing image fileThe presence of the United States has had a strong impact on Canadian development, from the War of 1812 to our current “branch-plant” economy. So when you see this icon, brace yourself.

missing image fileFrom the struggles of New France to the present-day separatist movement in Québec, this icon marks one of the central elements of our national history: the relationship between French and English Canada.

missing image fileAn eagle feather (an important symbol for most First Nations) signals issues dealing with aboriginal rights, from early colonial conflicts to current land claims.

missing image fileOne of the defining traits of Canada is that it has preferred evolution to revolution. Canada gained its independence gradually, and this icon — a maple leaf rising — marks key moments along the way.

missing image fileThis icon signals areas of disagreement, either among historians or the public at large. I try not to take sides, but . . .

Part I

When Worlds Collide

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Starting off on the wrong foot. Early contact between Europeans and Canada’s Native groups didn’t always go smoothly . . .

By Adrian Raeside. Used by permission of Koko Press Inc.

In this part . . .

We look at Canada’s First Nations, from the Iroquois of the Eastern Woods to the buffalo hunters of the Plains, from the artists and noblemen of the Pacific Coast to the Inuit of the Far North. Then we look at the first Europeans to arrive on our shores: the Vikings, the “Three Big C’s” (Cabot, Cartier, and Champlain), and the two G’s (Gilbert and Guy). We also look at the fate of some of the early Arctic explorers. Hint: It wasn’t pretty.