Post Colonial Literature in English: Canada

Canadian Political Timeline

David Harris, the Queen's University of Belfast

This document, which was last revised on 3 June 1997, has been adapted for the Postcolonial Literature and Culture Web with the kind permission of the Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (CACLALS). It derives from a project directed by Dr Leon Litvack as a requirement for the MA degree in Modern Literary Studies in the School of English, the Queen's University of Belfast.
1535 Jacques Cartier is the first European to sail up the St. Lawrence river into the interior of Canada.
1608 Samuel de Champlain founds Quebec.

Creation of "New France"; exploration; fur trading; building of series of forts; British/French struggle for control.


British conquest of New France.


Canada refuses to join with the 13 states in rebellion. Subsequent invasion by the US fails.


American independence leaves two British colonies in the north - Quebec and Nova Scotia.


Creation of Upper (Ontario) and Lower (Quebec) Canada.


British/US war; agreement on 49th parallel as Canadian border; rapid immigration from the former colonies and Europe.


Beginning of "Indian Treaties" granting limited land rights and financial compensation for the European acquisition of territory.


British North America Act creates united Canada, following US civil war, and amid fears of an American invasion.

1871 Canada reaches the Pacific after British Columbia joins the federation.
1914-8 World War I creates a desire for greater autonomy.

Gradual ending of Imperial diplomatic unity and granting of autonomy to the Dominions of the Empire.


End of World War II and beginning of economic boom.


Rapid Asian and Third World immigration.


Trudeau's government officially endorses the policy of multiculturalism.


Referendum on French-speaking independence returns slight pro-federation majority; policy of First Nation's self-government officially endorsed.

Postcolonial Web Canada politics