Our Home and Native Land: A Small History of a Huge Country
Canada is quite the country, eh? With ten provinces, three territories, and over 36 million people, it is huge. That also means huge in size – Canada is the second largest country in the world. Russia is the only country bigger in physical size. Our nation has had a long history that you will continue to learn about in school. But with so many years to go through, it can be hard to cover everything. Let us take a look at some interesting facts from the long journey that our home and native land has taken.
As an official country, Canada is 156 years old. Its “birthday” is July 1, 1867, the day of Confederation when Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, all British colonies, came together as one. But Canada the country is a baby when we compare it to the history of the land. Scientists believe early humans crossed a bridge of ice from Russia into Alaska and British Columbia around 12,000 years ago. These natives have descendants who we call the Indigenous people – and they are living here to this day. It is also believed that fishermen from Japan sometimes came across the Pacific Ocean and lived with the natives. On the other side of the country, the Vikings came across the Atlantic Ocean to live in Newfoundland for a short time over 1,000 years ago. About 500 years after that, Europeans went across that same ocean and set food on this land.
The Indigenous people of Canada are grouped into at least eight groups divided by language families. The biggest group is Algonquin. Starting in the late 1400s, they were joined by people from England, Portugal, Spain, France, Russia, Scotland, and more. These explorers traded with the natives. One of the companies involved in trading was started in 1670. This was the Hudson’s Bay Company, a name you might recognize. It is the same company that runs stores across Canada to this day. Meanwhile, Europeans also came to the land below us that would become the United States of America. In the early 1800s, Americans invaded parts of Southern Ontario during the War of 1812. American soldiers attacked the area of Port Dover in Ontario. In return, soldiers from the British colonies that would become Canada went to Washington and helped burn down the White House.
The 1800s was a very eventful time. Canada became an official country in 1867. In 1871, it was agreed to connect British Columbia to Ontario. Starting in 1881, a huge railway was built between those two provinces that stretches about 22,531 kilometers. Meanwhile, the arts became a bigger part of culture as well. Our first author to sell a million copies of a book was Marshall Saunders, who published her novel Beautiful Joe in 1894. The movies came to Canada just a couple of years later in 1896, when the Lumiere brothers of France brought their cinematograph, an early type of video camera, to our country.
Canada continued to grow during the 1900s as the planet went through two World Wars and big changes in technology. This land has seen a long history of different people, events, and technologies. You might not have been around for any of that amazing history. But technology is changing faster than ever and the entire world is transforming like never before. You will get to see all the big events that will happen during the 2000s that the Canadians of the future will look back on.
Carletti, Fabiola. “150 facts about Canada… in 150 seconds?!” CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/2017/150-facts-150-seconds-1.3878984
Oxford Univeristy Press Canada. “A History of Canadian Culture.” http://www.oupcanada.com/History_of_Canadian_Culture/facts.html
Stooke, Anna. “Four Facts about Canadian History than You Should Know.” VGC International College. https://vgc.ca/blog/2014/03/19/four-facts-about-canadian-history-that-you-should-know/