Canada is the second largest country in the world and covers the entire northern half of North America not including Alaska. It is a vast land of varying landscapes from the rocky seashores to the wide open prairies to the frigid ice fields and its majestic mountains. Canada has beautiful landscapes and fascinating wildlife alongside bustling, cosmopolitan cities. Prior to European colonization, Indigenous Peoples have lived in Canada for thousands of years. There are over 600 First Nations, along with the Inuit and Métis Nations. Beginning with the Vikings and followed by the likes of John Cabot and Jacques Cartier, the arrival of European explorers drastically changed the continent.
This timeline highlights a few of the important dates from the arrival of humans in North America up until 1670 with the establishment of the Hudson Bay Company. There are many important dates in Canadian history that students can explore!
FIRST PEOPLES MIGRATE
Canada: Pre-History to 1783
Early descendants of Canada's aboriginal people cross the Bering land bridge from east Asia into North America.
Viking explorers are believed to be the first Europeans to visit North America and establish the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement on the island of Newfoundland.
Foundation of the Iroquois Confederacy, considered the high point of "pre-contact" aboriginal civilization.
BRITAIN MAKES A CLAIM
FRANCE MAKES A CLAIM
Italian explorer John Cabot claims the island of Newfoundland for England.
French explorer Jacques Cartier sails into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and claims the Gaspé Peninsula for France. Early attempts to found permanent French settlements fail.
HUDSON BAY COMPANY FOUNDED
New France becomes a royal colony of the French Empire.
The Hudson's Bay Company is founded by Britain's King Charles II. The company is given control of a vast new territory known as Rupert's Land, comprising much of northern North America.
TREATY OF UTRECHT
The British gain control of most of eastern Canada.
FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR ENDS
The War of the Spanish Succession, or Queen Anne's War, ended with the Treaty of Utrecht wherein France ceded Acadia to Great Britain and the British gained control of much of Eastern Canada. France retained Ile St-Jean (later Prince Edward Island) and Ile Royale (later Cape Breton).
New France is no more.
AMERICAN REVOLUTION ENDS
The Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) is ended by the Treaty of Paris. France cedes New France to Great Britain, its colony Canada becoming the British Province of Quebec, and its remaining maritime colonies annexed by Nova Scotia.
The Treaty of Paris establishes official borders between the U.S. and Canada. After the American Revolutionary War, the remaining colonies of British North America saw an influx of Loyalist immigrants.