History in Canada

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Though Canada's history has been relatively short, (the Dominion of Canada was only actually founded in 1867) it has certainly been eventful. Canadians are fascinated by their past and this is reflected in the many historical sites throughout the country. In Central and Eastern Canada, the history entails the early struggles of the first European settlers, and of how the two major cultural groups of the time (British and French) interacted to build a great nation together. In today's highly charged political arena, with on-going talk of Qu├ębec independence, this earlier relationship is too often forgotten. The history of Central and Eastern Canada is also very much tied in with the American Revolution, when thousands of people loyal to the British crown crossed the border and settled in these areas in order to remain under British rule. The struggle with the United States continued until after the war of 1812, when an attempted invasion of Canada by the Americans was repulsed.

Canada adopted the Statute of Westminster in December 1931, giving it full legislative autonomy within the British Empire. The country emerged as an independent nation within the Commonwealth after the Second World War, and the last legislative link with the U.K. was ended with the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982. Queen Elizabeth II remains Canada's head of state, represented by the Governor General.

In Canada, the history of the land has been influenced by people adapting to the forces of nature in a particular region. In Atlantic Canada, the ocean has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the area. In Western Canada, much of the history of this region revolves around the building of the railway westwards. While building the trans-Canada railroad brought progress and development to, and even helped create many communities, a lot of sacrifice and challenges were necessary for the railway to be completed. The history of Western Canada is also synonymous with the growth and development of the Hudson Bay Company. The fur trade was responsible for the discovery and later habitation of many places. Similarly, the North West Mounted Police (now part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) helped form and develop the west. This police force was the forerunner of the legendary Mounties. Throughout the country, it is interesting to see how the laws and even the mores of earlier times have shaped today's society.

One cannot mention the history of Canada, without reference to its indigenous peoples. Their history began thousands of years before the first European settlers. Throughout Canada you can learn about the cultures of these people and their contribution to Canada. Regrettably, the people that came to settle what became Canada did not appreciate much of the aboriginal culture and traditions. When you visit some of the indigenous historic sites, you will realize how developed and organized these societies were, long before the arrival of Europeans. There is much to be learned from their way of life and the innovative ways they made their livelihood.

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