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Samuel de Champlain reached Lake Huron in , and French missionaries began to establish posts along the Great Lakes. French settlement was hampered by their hostilities with the Iroquois, who allied themselves with the British. The remaining Huron settled north of Quebec. The British established trading posts on Hudson Bay in the late 17th century and began a struggle for domination of Ontario with the French. The British annexed the Ontario region to Quebec in The Mississaugas, displaced by European settlements, would later move to Six Nations also.

The population of Canada west of the St. Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence substantially increased during this period, a fact recognized by the Constitutional Act of , which split Quebec into the Canadas: Upper Canada southwest of the St.

Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence, and Lower Canada east of it. The Americans looted the town and burned the Upper Canada Parliament Buildings during the brief occupation. The British would burn the American capital of Washington, D. After the War of , relative stability allowed for increasing numbers of immigrants to arrive from Europe rather than from the United States.

As was the case in the previous decades, this immigration shift was encouraged by the colonial leaders. Despite affordable and often free land, many arriving newcomers, mostly from Britain and Ireland, found frontier life with the harsh climate difficult, and some of those with the means eventually returned home or went south. However, population growth far exceeded emigration in the decades that followed. It was a mostly agrarian-based society, but canal projects and a new network of plank roads spurred greater trade within the colony and with the United States, thereby improving previously damaged relations over time.

As the population increased, so did the industries and transportation networks, which in turn led to further development. This resentment spurred republican ideals and sowed the seeds for early Canadian nationalism. Province of Canada Although both rebellions were put down in short order, the British government sent Lord Durham to investigate the causes of the unrest.

He recommended that self-government be granted and that Lower and Upper Canada be re-joined in an attempt to assimilate the French Canadians. Accordingly, the two colonies were merged into the Province of Canada by the Act of Union , with the capital at Kingston , and Upper Canada becoming known as Canada West. Parliamentary self-government was granted in There were heavy waves of immigration in the s, and the population of Canada West more than doubled by over the previous decade.

As a result, for the first time, the English-speaking population of Canada West surpassed the French-speaking population of Canada East , tilting the representative balance of power.

An economic boom in the s coincided with railway expansion across the province, further increasing the economic strength of Central Canada. With the repeal of the Corn Laws and a reciprocity agreement in place with the United States, various industries such as timber, mining, farming and alcohol distilling benefited tremendously.

A political stalemate between the French - and English -speaking legislators, as well as fear of aggression from the United States during and immediately after the American Civil War , led the political elite to hold a series of conferences in the s to effect a broader federal union of all British North American colonies.

The Province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec so that each linguistic group would have its own province. Both Quebec and Ontario were required by section 93 of the British North America Act to safeguard existing educational rights and privileges of Protestant and the Catholic minority. Thus, separate Catholic schools and school boards were permitted in Ontario. However, neither province had a constitutional requirement to protect its French- or English-speaking minority.


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