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Canada's Timeline

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about AD 1000

Vikings explored the coast of Newfoundland.

1497

John Cabot discovered the rich fishing grounds off Canada’s Atlantic coast.

1534

Jacques Cartier claimed Canada for France.

1604

French colonists founded the first settlement in Canada, in present-day Nova Scotia. They developed thriving fish and fur trades.

1670

The Hudson’s Bay Company, an English company, opened its first fur-trading posts in Canada.

1760

The English captured Montréal during the French and Indian War. France formally surrendered its Canadian lands in 1763.

1775

An American invasion of Canada during the American Revolution failed. Many American Loyalists moved to Canada in the following years.

1791

Great Britain divided Canada into predominantly French Lower Canada and predominantly English Upper Canada.

1837

Revolts against the colonial government failed in both Lower and Upper Canada.

1867

The British North America Act was passed, creating the Dominion of Canada.

1885

The Canadian Pacific Railroad was completed, uniting Canada.

1931

Canada achieved complete independence from Great Britain.

1939-1945

Nearly 1.5 million Canadians fought in World War II. After the war, a new wave of European immigrants helped transform Canada into an industrial power.

1980

Québec voters rejected a proposal to negotiate their province’s independence from the rest of Canada.

1982

A new constitution was approved by all the provinces except Québec.

1990

The Meech Lake Accord, which sought to win Québec’s acceptance of the new constitution while guaranteeing the rights of French Canadians, was rejected by Manitoba and Newfoundland.

1992

A second attempt at constitutional revision, the Charlottetown Accord, was defeated in a nationwide referendum.

1994

Canada entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) along with Mexico and the United States.

1995

A second referendum on the independence of Québec was voted down by a narrow margin (50.6 percent) of Québec voters.