A map shows Canada from 1867 to 1914.
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Canada grew throughout the late 1800s. This map shows Canadian provinces from 1867 to 1914 and their natural resources. List the natural resources of Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

In 1840, Parliament passed the Act of Union, a major step toward self-government. It joined the two Canadas and gave Canada an elected legislature to determine domestic policies. Britain kept control of foreign policy and trade.

The Dominion of Canada

Like the United States, Canada expanded westward in the 1800s and new settlements were built. As the country grew, two Canadians, John Macdonald and George-Etienne Cartier, urged confederation, or unification, of British settlements in North America. They included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, as well as the united Upper and Lower Canadas.

Like many Canadians at the time, the two leaders feared that the United States might try to dominate Canada. Confederation, they thought, would strengthen the new nation against American ambitions and help it develop economically.

Britain finally agreed to the plan. In 1867, it passed the British North America Act, which created the Dominion of Canada. A dominion is a self-governing nation. As a dominion, Canada had its own parliament, modeled on that of Britain. By 1900, Canada also controlled its own foreign policy. Still, Canada maintained close ties with Britain.

Like Australia and New Zealand, Canada won independence and self-rule faster and easier than British colonies in Africa or Asia. Many Canadians shared the same language and cultural heritage as Britain. Racial attitudes also played a part, as Britain considered white Canadians better able to govern themselves than the non-white populations elsewhere in their empire.

Canada Expands

John MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister, encouraged expansion. To unite the far-flung regions of Canada, he called for a transcontinental railroad. In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway opened, linking eastern and western Canada. Wherever the railroad went, settlers followed. It moved people and products, such as timber, grain, minerals, and manufactured goods across the country.

As in the United States, westward expansion destroyed the way of life of Native American people. Most were forced to sign treaties giving up their lands. Some resisted. Louis Riel led a revolt of the métis, people of mixed Native American and French Canadian descent.

These French-speaking Catholics accused the government of stealing their land and trying to destroy their language and religion. Government troops put down the uprising and executed Riel.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments