Portal:History of Canada

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The History of Canada Portal
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Introduction

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The history of Canada begins with the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by Aboriginal peoples, who evolved trade, spiritual and social hierarchies systems. Some of these civilisations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th - early 16th centuries), and have been discovered through archaeological investigations. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European settlers and the Indigenous populations.

Beginning in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Over centuries, elements of Aboriginal traditions and immigrant customs have integrated to form a Canadian culture. Canada has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States. Since the conclusion of the Second World War, Canada has been committed to multilateralism abroad and socioeconomic development domestically. Canada currently consists of ten provinces and three territories, and is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth meet with Nakoda chieftains, who display an image of the King's great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, in Calgary, 1939.
The relationship between the Canadian Crown and Aboriginal peoples of Canada stretches back to the first interactions between European colonialists and North American indigenous peoples. Over centuries of interaction, treaties were established concerning the monarch and aboriginal tribes. Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have, like the Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, come to generally view these agreements as being not between them and the ever-changing Cabinet, but instead with the continuous Crown of Canada, as embodied in the reigning sovereign. These agreements with the Crown of Canada are administered by Canadian Aboriginal law and overseen by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The affiliation between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and that country's reigning monarch is said to be a mutual one; "cooperation will be a cornerstone for partnership between Canada and First Nations, wherein Canada is the short-form reference to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada." Governing this are the various treaties signed by aboriginal leaders and agents of the Crown, wherein aboriginal rights are defined and their sovereignty is reconciled with that of the monarch for "as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow."

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SS Edmund Fitzgerald (nicknamed "Mighty Fitz," "The Fitz," or "The Big Fitz") was an American Great Lakes freighter launched on June 8, 1958. At the time of her launching, she was one of the first boats to be at or near maximum "St Lawrence Seaway Size" which was 730 feet (220 m) long and 75 feet (23 m) wide. From her launching in 1958 until 1971 the Fitzgerald continued to be one of the largest boats on the Great Lakes.

On November 10, 1975, while traveling on Lake Superior during a gale, the Fitzgerald sank suddenly in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles (15 nmi; 27 km) from the entrance of Whitefish Bay at a depth of 530 feet (160 m). Although she had reported having some difficulties before the accident, the Fitzgerald sank without sending any distress signals. Her crew of 29 perished in the sinking with no bodies being recovered. When the wreck was found, it was discovered that the Fitzgerald had broken in two.

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Group-of-seven-artists.jpg
The Group of Seven were a group of Canadian landscape painters in the 1920s, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley. Tom Thomson (who died in 1917) and Emily Carr were also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though neither were ever official members. The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings of the Canadian landscape. It was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s.

The Group of Seven was strongly influenced by European Impressionism of the late nineteenth century in the Montmartre district of Paris. The Group of Seven has received criticism for its reinforcement of terra nullius presenting the region as pristine and untouched by humans when in fact the areas depicted have been lived on for many centuries. In 1995, the National Gallery of Canada compiled a Group of Seven retrospective show, for which they commissioned the Canadian rock band Rheostatics to write a musical score. That score was released on album as Music Inspired by the Group of Seven.

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BanffSpringHotel1929.jpg
Banff Springs Hotel, October 1929, Banff Alberta

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23rd Batalion of Quebec City, second Canadian Expeditionary Force.jpg
The 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF, Second Canadian Expeditionary Force, Quebec City, 1915
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