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Glossary
The glossary defines people, groups, places, events, and terms relevant to the articles and documents on this site.

See a geographic map of the colonies as they were prior to Confederation.


People and Groups
 Cartier, Jacques
A great French explorer, he is credited with first discovering Canada in 1535. He also discovered and charted the Saint Lawrence River in the same year.  more info...
 Clear Grits
Upper Canadian Reformers who didn't like how conservative their own party was getting. They believed in representation by population, free trade with the United States, and other US political views. They were popular in the west, and after Confederation formed the basis of the Liberal party.
 Fenians
A group of Irish Americans formed in 1857 to help Ireland become independent. The group split in two, one intent on taking over Canada. In 1866 they landed in New Brunswick. They were defeated easily, but helped push the Maritimes in favor of Confederation.
 Fils de la Liberté
An association of 700-800 young French patriots founded in Montreal in 1837, who were inspired by the American Revolution. They believed in the right to choose their own government and to become independent. The group developed a violent wing and fought in the Rebellions of 1837. The group died out as the Revolution was put down.
 Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, The
A railway line started in 1852 to connect Toronto to Montreal. Its goal was to eventually connect all of Canada. It grew steadily, often by buying up smaller operations. In 1923 the Grand Trunk Railway joined with the Pacific Railway to form the Canadian National Railways.
 Great Coalition, The
Fueled by political impasse, fear of the American Civil War in the early 1860's, and the idea of a confederation of British North America, the Great Coalition was a political union between Reformers and Conservatives.  more info...
 Hudson's Bay Company
The oldest joint-stock trading company in the English world. It was chartered in 1670 and given exclusive trading rights in Hudson's Bay area, or Ruperts Land. The company started out in Fur Trading and has expanded steadily to the state it is in now, a worldwide retail power.
 Institut Canadien
Founded in December 1844 in Montreal by young French intellectuals to create a center for French culture and patriotism. It quickly became a political as well as cultural force in francophone areas, they had leftist leanings, and became known as "rouges" for their sometimes radical nature. The Institut died out by 1885.
 LaFontaine, Sir Louis-Hippolyte
A Reformer before and during the Rebellions of 1837. He was against the use of arms, and when the revolutions were quelled he became leader of the French moderate reformers. He was instrumental in forcing French to be spoken in the Assembly, by speaking only in French, despite laws against the language.
 Reform Movement
The political party that opposed the political patronage system used by the people in power, the so-called Family Compact. They controlled the Assembly in 1828 and 1834. In the late 1830's it split into three factions - moderates, radicals, and extremists. The extremists were the cause of the Rebellion in 1837 in Upper Canada. All three were wiped out when the rebellion failed, but the moderates reappeared as a force in the United Province of Canada.
 Riel, Louis
The great Metis Leader, he led the Northwest Rebellion and the Red River Rebellions. He is credited with founding the Province of Manitoba. He was executed in 1885 for treason.
 St.-Jean-Baptiste Society
A French Canadian patriotic association that was founded on June 24th, 1834 to increase pride among francophones for their culture and language. June 24th has become a provincial holiday in Quebec celebrating the Saint, French culture and former patriots.
 Tory
A slang term for a Conservative Party member.
 United Empire Loyalists
American Colonists who supported the British during the American Revolution. They fled to Canada after the United States defeated the British.  more info...
Places and Events
 1837 Rebellions, The
A group of Rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada in 1837. The Lower Canadian Rebellion stemmed from of French Nationalism, while the Reform Movement in Upper Canada was the cause of unrest.  more info...
 Atlantic Provinces of Canada
The Atlantic Provinces of Canada include the provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.
 British North American Colonies
The British North American colonies were the areas of land under British control on the North American continent. Each of these colonies was governed individually and under British authority prior to Confederation.
 Lower Canada
The equivalent to modern day Quebec. It was created by the Constitution Act of 1791. -See Map
 Maritime Provinces of Canada
The Maritime Provinces of Canada include the provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. -See Map
 Montgomery's Tavern
The tavern where extreme Reformers and their supporters met in 1837 to bear arms against the British. See The Rebellions of 1837
 Rupert's Land
Land Given to the Hudson's Bay Company by the British when their company started up. It was given to the new Canadian government as part of the British North American Act in 1870. In return, The Hudson's Bay Company got 300,000 and 2.8 million hectares of land in what is now the Prairie Provinces. See Hudson's Bay Company.
-See Map
 Upper Canada
The equivalent to modern day Ontario. It was created by the Constitution Act of 1791. -See Map
Terms
 British North American Act
The Act Passed in 1867 by the British Parliament creating Confederation.  more info...
 Federal Union of Canada
A federal union of Canada was the goal of the Canadian delegates at the Charlottetown Conference. They sought to unite the British North American colonies under one national government.
 Rep. by Pop.
(Representation by Population) - An idea that the Canadian Delegates were firmly behind. The idea that a largely populated area will get more representation than a small one. The Maritime delegates were opposed to this because it meant that they would get little representation in any new government.
 Responsible Government
Often used as a term to describe a government that is responsible to its people, it is actually a government responsible to the representatives of the people; i.e. an executive or cabinet dependant on the votes of a majority of the elected legislature. The gain of a responsible government was the gain of self-rule for Canadians.

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