Manitoba, a province of the Dominion of Canada, situated between bit. 49° and 50° 30' N, and Ion. 96° and 99° W. It is bounded S. by Minnesota and Dakota, and on all other sides by the Northwest territories, and is 135 m. long E. and W. by 104 m. in breadth, forming nearly a parallelogram; area, 14,340 sq. m. It is divided into four counties, Lisgar, Marquette, Provencher, and Selkirk, which are subdivided into parishes. The capital and chief town is Winnipeg, on the N. bank of the Assiniboin or Assiniboine river, at its confluence with the lied, which has about 3,000 inhabitants, and contains within its limits Fort Garry, the American headquarters of the Hudson Bay company. The population of the territory now embraced within the province in 1823 was about 600; in 1843,5,148; in 1849, 5,291; in 1856, 6,523; in 1870 (census taken Dec. 24), 11.903, of whom 5,757 were French half-breeds, 4,083 English half-breeds, 1,505 whites, and 55s Indians in 1874, about 20,000. The half-breeds include all having any intermixture of Indian blood, and are the descendants of Indian mothers and French Canadian, English, or Scotch fathers, the Scotch element predominating over the English. The distinction of French and Fairish in the census is based rather upon language than lineage.
Since 1870 a considerable immigration, partieularlv from Ontario, has set in. The principal settlements are on both banks of lied river, from about 20 m. N. to 15 m. S. of Winnipeg, and along the Assiniboin for about 20 m. W. of that town. N of the half-breed settlements on lied river is a village of settled and Christian Indians of the Swampy Cree tribe. The western-most settlement on the Assiniboin is at Prairie Portage (Portage-la-Prairie), 67 m. above Winnipeg Besides the Indians enumerated there are uncivilized Saulteaux and Maskegons or Swampies. in the province, and some Sioux who have been driven from Minnesota The half-breeds are a handsome race, large, strong, and well made; they are generally but many exhibit no sign of Indian extraction. Intrepid mid indefatigable travellers, they manifest the Indian instinct in the ability to find their way through forests and across prairies. Many are employed by the Hudson Bay company as boatmen, guides, and sledge drivers; others are farmers; while a large proportion, especially of the French, pay comparatively little attention to agriculture, but pursue the buffalo in summer and winter on the plains W. and S. W. of the province.
In general they are intelligent and hospitable, but prodigal of their earnings, fond of pleasure, inclined to drunkenness and indolence, and restive of restraint. Those engaged in farming, with a settled mode of life, have acquired more stable and provident traits of character than the hunters. - The general surface is a level prairie, 80 ft. above Lake Winnipeg and 700 ft. above the sea. It is broken by the Big ridge and Pembina mountain, ancient beaches of that lake which is supposed at one time to have extended over this region. The Big ridge, rising in places 00 or 70 ft. above the general level, commences near Lake Manitoba, N". of the Assiniboin river, and runs nearly parallel with that stream to the Red river, crossing which below Winnipeg, it continues in a S. E. direction to German creek, and thence a little W. of S. to the Roseau river, which it crosses near the United States boundary and 40 m. above its mouth. The Pembina mountain enters the province near the 98th meridian, and runs N. to the Assiniboin, just below Prairie portage. It marks the ascent from the general level to the hilly and undulating prairie on the south and west, which is about 100 ft. higher.
West of Pembina mountain, and a little S. of the Assiniboin river, are the Blue hills, 300 to 400 ft. above the plain. Stony mountain, W. of Red river, and about 15 m. N. of Winnipeg, rises 00 ft. above the surrounding prairie. The valley of Red river through most of its course is liable to inundation in spring, and on several occasions has suffered severely. N. E. and E. of the Big ridge, along the border of the province, the country is marshy and swampy, forming part of the marshy region that extends from Lake Winnipeg S. E. to Rainy lake. Marshes also occur at other points both E. and W. of Red river. - The only important lakes are Winnipeg and Manitoba (from which the province derives its name), a small portion of the S. part of the former occupying the N. E. and' of the latter the N. W. corner. The principal stream is the Red river of the North, which, rising in Minnesota, flows N for 140 m. of its course through the province, and empties into Lake Winnipeg. It is navigable by steamers into Minnesota. Red river divides Manitoba into two unequal parts, about a third lying on the E. and two thirds on the W. bank, the chief tributaries from the east, commencing at the United States boundary and going N., are the Roseau or Reedgrass river, Rat river, Oak creek, and la riviere Seine or German creek, which joins the Red just below Winnipeg. On the west the Pembina river drains the S. W. corner of the province, and flowing S. E. joins Red river in Dakota, a little S. of the boundary.
Proceeding N., the other western tributaries are the Scratching river, la riviere Sale or Stinking river, the Assiniboin, and Netley creek, which joins the main stream near its mouth. The Assiniboin, the largest tributary, rises in about lat. 52°, W. of Lake Winnipe-gosis, flows first S. E., then bends E., and continues in this direction for about 150 m. of its course through Manitoba, emptying into Red river about 50 m. above Lake Winnipeg. The only other stream worth mentioning is White Mud river, which flows into Lake Manitoba. - The geological formations occurring in the province are the Silurian in the east, the Devonian in the centre, and the cretaceous in the southwest, W. of Pembina mountain. These series run parallel with each other in a N. N. W. and S. S. E. direction. The Laurentian series occurs only in the N. E. corner. The soil of the greater portion, and particularly of the prairies extending for 30 m. on each side of Red river, consists of a deep alluvial deposit of rich black mould, resting partly on limestone and partly on a bed of hard clay. The limestone crops out on the Red river below Winnipeg, where it is suitable for building material. Stony mountain consists of limestone.
The elevated prairie W. of Pembina mountain is covered with a light sandy clay loam, and near Scratching river the soil is light and sandy. Big ridge is composed of gravel, and Pembina mountain consists of clay, gravel, and sand, thickly strewn with granite boulders. Salt springs are found in the valley of la riviere Sale, arid at one or two points on Red river further S.; and there are saline deposits near Stony mountain and in the vicinity of Lake Manitoba. - The climate is healthy, but exhibits great extremes of temperature, the thermometer falling in winter to 40° below zero and even lower, and in summer rising as high as 100.° Owing to the dryness of the atmosphere, the cold is not severely felt, and horses winter on the prairies without shelter, fattening on the grasses which they dig from beneath the snow, which is seldom very deep. The rainfall in summer is ample for agricultural purposes, and vegetation comes rapidly to maturity. Winter sets in with the commencement of November, and continues to the middle of April. Frosts are liable to occur until the end of May, and cold nights begin toward the end of August. The mean temperature at Winnipeg of the year ending May 31, 1873, was 33°; of summer, 65.7°; of autumn, 37.5°; of winter, 3.3 of spring, 32.1°; warmest month(July), 67.6; coldest month (December), - 9°. The total precipitation of rain and melted snow was 22.33 inches. - The soil is very fertile.
Wheat is the staple crop, and yields abundantly, 40 bushels to the acre being commonly raised. Barley, oats, rye, potatoes, turnips, beets, ear-rots, parsnips, cabbage, lettuce, etc., also do well. Indian corn is not much cultivated, though some varieties come to maturity in the driest soils. Flax and hemp have been successfully grown. The prairie grasses furnish good^ hay, and afford nutritious pasturage. Considerable numbers of horses, cattle, sheep, and swine are raised. Gras.-hoppers or locusts are the chief pest of the farmer, and have on several occasions destroyed all vegetation. The principal wild fruits "are strawberries, currants, raspberries, plums, cherries, blueberries, whortleberries, and marsh and high-bush cranberries. Wood is scarce, and is found chiefly in narrow strips along the Red and Assiniboin rivers, the timber belt extending from 1/2 m. to 2 m. back from the stream on either bank. There are also portions of woodland along the other streams. The principal trees are the elm, oak, maple, and poplar; tamarack, spruce, cedar, and birch also occur. The ridges afford small aspens and pines, and clumps of willows and aspens are found in the marshes, as well as on portions of the prairies. The ash-leaved maple (neguiuJo fraxinifoli-vm) yields sugar.
Among the wild animals are elks, rabbits, badgers, and squirrels. There are ducks, geese, cranes, swans, snipe, prairie hens, and other birds. The rivers and lakes swarm with whitefish, sturgeon, trout, cat fish, pike, perch, and gold-eyes. - There are no returns of the trade with the other provinces of the Dominion. The value of goods entered for consumption from foreign countries for the year ending June 30, 1873, was $1.029,130, of which $509,838 were from Great Britain and $441,559 from the United States. The exports to foreign countries amounted to $240,983, all but $4,915 consisting of furs. The greater part of the exports were to Great Britain, the rest to the United States. There are no railroads in Manitoba, but the projected Canadian Pacific line is to pass through it. and a railroad has been commenced from Winnipeg to the United States boundary, to connect with the Minnesota system. There is telegraphic communication with the United States. - The government is based upon the British North American act (1867) of the imperial parliament, and the Manitoba act (1870) of the Dominion parliament.
The executive power is vested in a lieutenant governor, appointed by the governor general of the Dominion in council, and an executive council of six members, appointed by the lieutenant governor, and responsible to the assembly. The legislature consists of the legislative council of seven members, appointed by the lieutenant governor for life, and the legislative assembly of 24 members, elected by districts for a term of four years. The sessions are annual. Every male person 21 years of age and upward, actually resident in the province being a British subject or having taken the oath of allegiance, is entitled to vote, upon having his name entered by the sheriff on the voters1 list. Voting is viva voce. Qualified voters are eligible to office. The judicial power is vested in a court of queen's bench, county courts, and justices of the peace. The queen's bench consists of a chief justice and two puisne judges, appointed by the governor general in council, and has general jurisdiction. A county court, having inferior jurisdiction, is held for each county by a judge of the queens bench without a jury. The records and journals of the legislature are kept and the laws are published in both English and French. Either language may be used in legal proceedings and in debates in the legislature.
The common law does not prevail, but the general principles in force are the same as those recognized in Quebec, and are derived from French and Roman sources. Manitoba is represented in the Dominion parliament by two senators and four members of the house of commons (one from each county). The amount appropriated for the support of the government for 1872 was $81,425, including $7,000 for common schools. The salaries of the lieutenant governor and judges are paid from the Dominion treasury, besides which the province receives grants from the Dominion amounting in the aggregate to $67,204 50 per annum. The public schools are under the charge of a board of education of 14 members, of whom half are Catholics and half Protestants, one of the members acting as superintendent of the Catholic and another of the Protestant schools. There are 40 common schools (20 Protestant and 20 Catholic), three Protestant female schools, several conventual academies and schools controlled by the Catholics, and three colleges, viz.: St. John's ( Episcopal), St. Boniface (Catholic), and Kildonan (Presbyterian). Three weekly newspapers are published in the province (one each in English, French, and English and French), and there are 32 post offices.
A majority of the population are Roman Catholics; the other principal denominations are Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Wesleyan Methodists. The Roman Catholics have an archbishop (archbishop of St. Boniface), and the Episcopalians a bishop (bishop of Rupert's Land). There are 32 churches, viz.: 15 Episcopal, 2 Methodist, 4 Presbyterian, and 11 Roman Catholic - Manitoba forms part of the territory granted in 1670 by Charles II. to the Hudson Bav company, which in 1811 sold a tract, including what is now the province, to Thomas Douglas, earl of Selkirk. Under his auspices a colony was established, which was sometimes called the Selkirk settlement, but more commonly the Red River settlement. The first body of colonists arrived from the highlands of Scotland in 1812, and a second party in 1815, and settled on the Red river near its confluence with the Assmiboin. Subsequently other settlers arrived, including a number of French Canadian families in 1818; and as the colony gained permanence many who had been in the employment of the Hudson Bay company (mostly natives of the Orkney islands) and others connected with the fur trade, generally accompanied by Indian families, came in and took up their residence in the settlement.
Until 1821, when the Northwest company was merged in the Hudson Bay company, the colonists suffered much from attacks by the employees of the former. In 1835 the Hudson Bay company bought back from the heirs of Lord Selkirk the territory granted to him in 1811, and established a more regular government than had previously existed, under the style of the governor and council of Assiniboia, giving it jurisdiction over the district embraced within a radiu3 of 50 m. from Fort Garry. The officers were appointed by the company, the councillors being chosen from among the most influential citizens of the district. Settlements having been made W. of these limits, a provisional government was formed at Prairie Portage in 1867, with Mr. Spence as president and a council of eight members styled the council of Manitoba, but it dissolved before the annexation of the country to Canada. The act of parliament of 1867 creating the Dominion of Canada contemplated the acquisition by that government of the Hudson Bay territory, and Dec 1,1869, was subsequently fixed as the date of transfer.
In the mean time an act of the Dominion parliament was passed providing for the temporary government of the entire region under the name of the Northwest territories, a measure respecting which the inhabitants of Assiniboia were not consulted. This fact, with other grounds of apprehension, caused much dissatisfaction. Upon the approach of William McDougall, who was to act as lieutenant governor of the Northwest territories, the French half-breeds, under the lead of Louis Riel, resolved to prevent his entrance into the settlement until some guarantee was received that the rights of the inhabitants would be respected; and from about Oct. 20, 1869, to Aug. 24, 1870, they held possession of the country. A provisional government was formed, with Riel as president and a council of 24 members (12 English and 12 French), and a bill of rights was adopted, the most prominent feature of which was a demand for representation in the Dominion parliament and for a local legislature elected by the people. These were conceded by the Manitoba act, which passed the Dominion parliament on May 20, 1870, and was accepted by the legislative assembly of Assiniboia on June 24, providing for the admission of the province from and after the day of the queen's proclamation annexing the Hudson Bay territory.
The actual transfer of this region, delayed by the disturbances, took place July 15 in virtue of a royal proclamation of June 23. On Aug. 24 the 60th rifles, under Col. (now Gen.) Wolseley, entered Fort Garry, Riel having previously vacated the place; and on Sept. 3 Mr. Archibald, the lieutenant governor of the province, arrived. The troops soon returned, and were replaced by Canadian militia. - See "The Red River Settlement, its Rise, Progress, and Present State," by Alexander Ross (London, 1856); "Narrative of the Canadian Red River Exploring Expedition of 1857," etc, by H. Y. Hind (2 vols., London, 1860); Esquisse sur le Nord-Ouest de V Amerique, by Archbishop Tache (Montreal, 1869), translated by Capt. D. R. Cameron, "Sketch of the Northwest of America" (Montreal, 1870); "The Creation of Manitoba, or a History of the Red River Troubles," by Alexander Begg (Toronto, 1871); "Manitoba and the Northwest of the Dominion," by Thomas Spence (Toronto, 1871); and " Red River Country and its Resources," by J. J. Hargrave (Montreal, 1871).