According to Countryaah, the first residents of what is today Canada were Inuit – “Eskimos” – and tribes that wandered across the Bering Tree from Asia. The European settlers who arrived in North America in the 16th century estimated that at that time 10-12 million natives lived on the continent.
In the 17-19. century, the area was alternately under English and French control until parliament and the king formalized the area as an English colony. The colonization was particularly brought about by the lucrative trade in skins, and the local population reached ½ million by the end of the 19th century.
The British-North American Agreement of 1867 stated that the Canadian Constitution should be similar to the English one. The king should have the executive authority entrusted with a general governor with his advice. The legislative authority was to be based on a parliament consisting of a Senate and a House of Commons.
In 1931, the British Parliament exempted Canada from the agreement that colonial laws should be implemented in the colony, and Canada gained legislative autonomy. That same year, Norway recognized Canadian supremacy over the Arctic areas north of the continent itself.
In 1981, the Canadian government agreed with the British Parliament to initiate a constitutional transition. It culminated in 1982 with the replacement of the 1867 agreement with the Canada Act. It involved the autonomy and status of state associated with the United Kingdom.
The 1982 Act contained a Declaration of Rights and Freedoms which included a recognition of the country’s multi-national heritage and the rights of indigenous peoples, the principle of equality between the 10 provinces and their local supremacy over their natural resources.
- AllCityPopulation: Find Canada demographics including latest population, life expectancy, age structure, and urbanization.
The efforts to slow the rise of the Protestant English around 1760 are an essential part of the religious and nationalist background that the province of Quebec has historically held the role of guardian of the Catholic faith, the French “race” and the French language in North America.
Quebec had been founded as early as 1608 as the first French city in North America. French colonization took place at a slow pace, and this was the basis for a relatively harmonious relationship between the Native American population and the French settlers. British colonization started only later in the 17th century and took place at a faster pace. This was the basis of conflict between British settlers in Upper Canada – now Ontario – and French settlers in Lower Canada – now Quebec. A prolonged war caused the city of Quebec to fall in 1759, and by the peace treaty in 1763 the French crown abandoned all claims to Canada. In contrast, the French-speaking population was promised that it could maintain its language and Catholic religion.
Despite these guarantees, the French people quickly became economically inferior. Capital accumulation was largely concentrated on English hands. A feudal agricultural structure and a strongly conservative Catholic church also helped keep the French population down. In 1837, outbreaks erupted in Quebec, supported in part by the poor communities of Upper Canada. The rebellion was beaten with great brutality, but social and political discontent continued.
Meanwhile, the French-speaking population grew. The 6,000 Frenchmen of 1769 had become 6,000,000 Quebecois in 1960. In Quebec, 80% of the population today speak French as their first language and protect their cultural identity.
Since 1960, Quebec has undergone rapid economic development, from being a reclusive semi-feudal and ecclesiastically dominated agricultural community to becoming a modern urbanized industrial society. The process has been characterized by the fact that the language differences have been made into class distinctions. The capital owners have been English speaking, while the wage workers have been French speaking. This has led to a sharp recovery in the trade union movement. In 1972, it found the only general strike so farin North America place in Quebec, with occupation of factories and small towns. At the same time, there was a sharp recovery in the independence movement that had little significance in the past. In 1976, the separatist party Parti Quebecois, with René Lévesque, won the election and formed government. Quebec’s independence stands on the party’s program, although it has also been open to various compromise solutions. In 1977, the local government decided that French should be the official language of education, trade and local administration.
The Federal Government had until then met the independence movement with a mixture of repression, indifference and compromise. Thus, in 1970, the state of emergency in Quebec was declared in connection with the abduction of the local government’s Labor Minister Laporte.
Although Lévesque rejected the possibility of unilateral withdrawal from the federation and instead proposed an “association status” with common currency and customs, this proposal was rejected by a 1980 referendum with 59.5% of the vote against 40.5%. Ten years later, an opinion poll found that 62% of Quebec citizens continued to support the idea of ”freedom” for their province. In 1995, Parti Québecois called for a new referendum that yielded a much narrower result: 50.4% of the population voted against leaving the federation, while 49.6% voted.