The Death of General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec in 1759, part of the Seven Years' War.
The Royal Proclamation (1763) carved the Province of Quebec out of New France and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia. It also restricted the language and religious rights of French Canadians. In 1769, St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony. To avert conflict in Quebec, the Quebec Act of 1774 expanded Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley and re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law in Quebec; it angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, helping to fuel the American Revolution. The Treaty of Paris (1783) recognized American independence and ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. Approximately 50,000 United Empire Loyalists fled the United States to Canada. New Brunswick was split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate English-speaking Loyalists in Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada and English-speaking Upper Canada, granting each their own elected Legislative Assembly.
Canada (Upper and Lower) was the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and the British Empire. The defence of Canada contributed to a sense of unity among British North Americans. Large-scale immigration to Canada began in 1815 from Britain and Ireland. The timber industry surpassed the fur trade in importance in the early nineteenth century.
Fathers of Confederation by Robert Harris, an amalgamation of Charlottetown and Quebec conference scenes
The desire for responsible government resulted in the aborted Rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into British culture. The Act of Union 1840 merged The Canadas into a United Province of Canada. French and English Canadians worked together in the Assembly to reinstate French rights. Responsible government was established for all British North American provinces by 1849.
The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel and paving the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858). Canada launched a series of western exploratory expeditions to claim Rupert's Land and the Arctic region. The Canadian population grew rapidly because of high birth rates; British immigration was offset by emigration to the United States, especially by French Canadians' moving to New England.
An animated map, exhibiting the growth and change of Canada's provinces and territories since Confederation
Following several constitutional conferences, the Constitution Act, 1867 brought about Confederation creating "one Dominion under the name of Canada" on July 1, 1867, with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where Mtis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had united in 1866) and the colony of Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1871 and 1873, respectively.
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's Conservative government established a national policy of tariffs to protect nascent Canadian manufacturing industries. To open the West, the government sponsored construction of three trans-continental railways (most notably the Canadian Pacific Railway), opened the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and established the North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory. In 1898, after the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, the Canadian government created the Yukon territory. Under Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, continental European immigrants settled the prairies, and Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.
Canadian soldiers won the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.
Canada automatically entered World War I in 1914 with Britain's declaration of war, sending volunteers to the Western Front who later became part of the Canadian Corps. The Corps played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major battles of the war. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden brought in compulsory military service over the objection of French-speaking Quebecers. In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain; in 1931 the Statute of Westminster affirmed Canada's independence.
The BC Regiment, DCO, marching in New Westminster, 1940. 1.1 million Canadians served in WWII. Canadian servicemen played a major part in the D-Day landings of 6 June, 1944.
The Great Depression brought economic hardship to all of Canada. In response, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Alberta and Saskatchewan enacted many measures of a welfare state as pioneered by Tommy Douglas in the 1940s and 1950s. Canada declared war on Germany independently during World War II under Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, three days after Britain. The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939. Canadian troops played important roles in the Battle of the Atlantic, the failed 1942 Dieppe Raid in France, the Allied invasion of Italy, the D-Day landings, the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944. Canada is credited by the Netherlands for having provided asylum and protection for its monarchy during the war after the country was occupied and the Netherlands credits Canada for its leadership and major contribution to the liberation of Netherlands from Nazi Germany. The Canadian economy boomed as industry manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China and the Soviet Union. Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec, Canada finished the war with one of the largest armed forces in the world. In 1945, during the war, Canada became one of the founding members of the United Nations.
This growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the current Maple Leaf Flag in 1965, the implementation of official bilingualism in 1969, and official multiculturalism in 1971. Socially democratic programmes were also founded, such as universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions. Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At the same time, Quebec was undergoing profound social and economic changes through the Quiet Revolution, giving birth to a nationalist movement in the province, and the more radical Front de libration du Qubec (FLQ), whose actions ignited the October Crisis in 1970. A decade later, an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association was held in 1980, after which attempts at constitutional amendment were attempted and failed in 1989. A second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of just 50.6% to 49.4%. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional, and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation.
After various peacekeeping missions between the 1950s and 1990s, Canada engaged in the NATO led Afghan War in 2001, though subsequently refusing to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At home, following various legal battles, as well as some violent confrontations at Oka, Ipperwash, and Gustafsen Lake, in 1999 Canada recognized Inuit self-government with the creation of Nunavut, settled Nisga'a claims in British Columbia, and, in 2008, the Prime Minister apologised for the creation of residential schools by previous governments.