Canada Her History Government And Business Forms 393


An Outline of its History, its Government, its Resources, with Other Material Facts, and its Forms for the Transaction of Business.

The history of Canada, so named from the Indian word "kan-ata," which signifies a number of huts, is briefly sketched in the following:

Newfoundland was discovered in 1497, by Sebastian Cabot, and subsequently, in 1534, Canada proper was discovered by Jacques Cartier, who sailed up the river St. Lawrence to the point where now stands Montreal.

The foundation of Quebec was laid by Samuel Champlain, in 1608; following which a French expedition was formed in 1617, to explore the unknown domains of Canada, an enterprise which was entered upon still later by the English, in 1689, and prosecuted with some advantage for the next twelve years.

In 1754 a contest for ownership of the country broke out between the French and the English, which resulted in a five years' war and the triumph of the English, who came into possession by the treaty of Paris in 1763. Among the chief events of this war was the taking of Quebec in 1759, at which time Montcalm, the French general, and Wolfe, the English chieftain, both lost their lives.

In 1791 an act of parliament divided Canada into two provinces - Upper and Lower Canada. By an act of the imperial parliament, in 1867, these two divisions became known as the provinces of Ontario and Quebec; and, together with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were constituted the Dominion of Canada. In 1870 the province of Manitoba was formed, and, with the remainder of the Hudson Bay Territory, now known as the Northwest Territory, admitted into the Dominion. British Columbia and Vancouver Island followed in 1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873.

Of Canada proper, Ontario comprises the upper and western portion, whose inhabitants are principally English. Quebec includes the lower and eastern portion, the people in which are mostly of French descent, who retain their original language, religion and customs.

The timber trade, from the first settlement of Canada, has ever been the principal industry of the people, which, as the country is cleared of its forests, is being followed by the raising of cattle and the cultivation of the soil.

The executive authority of the country is vested in the sovereign of Great Britain, and is represented at the capital of the Dominion by a governor-general, assisted by a privy council.

The legislative power is a parliament consisting of an upper house, styled the senate, and a house of commons; the seat of government for the Dominion being at Ottawa.

The details for the government of the Canadian Dominion are clearly set forth in the following constitution, being the imperial act of 1867: