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Historical Atlas of Canada

Historical Atlas of Canada: Volume II: The Land Transformed, 1800-1891

R. Louis Gentilcore EDITOR
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 183
  • Book Info
    Historical Atlas of Canada
    Book Description:

    The emergence in the nineteenth century of a new political and territorial entity - Canada - is dramatically portrayed in this book. Through breathtaking cartography it vividly captures the great economic and social events that made possible the successful birth of a huge new country.

    The Land Transformed reveals how a thinly populated and economically limited group of colonies in 1800 came together to become the Canada of the 1890s. The profound revolution was the transformation of the land: forest and grassland gave way to farmland, native populations were moved onto reservations, railways and telegraph tied together widely separated communities; urban commercial centres grew. At the end of the century Canada was recognizable as one of the world's major countries, stretching across a continent, comfortably at home in the world of railways, factories, and well-developed agriculture.

    The first part of the volume, 'Extending the Frontier: Settlement to Mid-Century,' describes the growth of the population and the economy in the first half of the century. Maps, graphs, charts, and paintings are used with imagination and clarity to portray the spread of settlement, based on immigration and an accelerated use of resources, the most important of which was land. By the 1850s a dominant agriculture was joined to a productive timber trade as the country's engine of growth.

    Part II, 'Building a Nation,' covers the country's 'coming of age.' Between the 1850s and the 1890s political union was achieved, conomic growth continued, and a recognizable Canadian society emerged. These same developments left in their wake a declining and dispersed indigenous population. A series of treaties moved Indian populations to reserves of land in a massive rearrangement of native territory that set the stage for continuing cultural conflict.

    The nineteenth century witnessed the culmination of four centuries of European engagement in North America. Momentous events of the time are captured in this volume, which provides a splendid visual record of the drama of nation building and the roots of the diverse nation we know today.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7575-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xv)
  3. Donors
    (pp. xvi-xvi)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    William G. Dean and Jean-Claude Robert

    Volume II completese th three-volumeHistorical Atlas of Canada, begun in 1979 with a Major Editorial Grant from the Social and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The purpose of thisAtlasis to present a clear interpretive insight into events and in the historical development of Canada, with a major emphasis on the changing socioeconomic patterns over time in the lives and lihood of ordinary people. This uniqueAtlashas proven to be not only a pioneering enterprise but also a pioneering experiment in cross-Canada, collaborative, multidisciplinary scholarship. It is sented to the people of Canada as an indispensable reference...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xix-xxi)
    R. Louis Gentilcore and Geoffrey J. Matthews
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxii-2)

    • Canada in the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 4-19)

      The 19th century was a special time for Canada, for it was then that the country was brought together politically, in a series of events marking the culmination of almost four centuries of European involvement in the northern part of North America. The profound revolution in the century was the transformation of forest and grassland into farmland, accompanied by the growth of commercial centres in widely separated clusters of settlement. The changes were physical, economic, and social. Native populations were pushed aside in the frenzy to take up huge areas of ‘empty’ land. The new technology of the railway revolutionized...


    • An Immigrant Population
      (pp. 21-32)

      In the period 1791-1851 the population of what is now Canada (including Newfoundland) grew from an estimated 260 000 to over 2.5 million. These figures, though approximate, give a reasonable impression of the general population increase. That increase was the result of two important processes – external migrations and natural increase. In the igth century a massive out-migration from the British Isles was part of the larger phenomenon of population transfer that brought Europeans to many distant parts of the world. Between 1815 and 1850 the arrival of almost a million people in Canada from Great Britain and Ireland immediately...

    • Expanding Economies
      (pp. 33-55)

      Voltaire had dismissed Canada as ‘a few acres of snow and ice,’ but by the beginning of the 19th century this was far from the case: the lands and waters of the Atlantic coast and the Great Lakes-St Lawrence basin were yielding a rich variety of resources. Indeed, the production of fish, furs, timber, and crops was developing into a distinctive economic system. The nature of this resource base and the evolution of an appropriate system of exploiting it are central to an interpretation of this period.

      The close of the 18th century is an appropriate point for opening any...


    • Forging the Links
      (pp. 57-76)

      At the close of the American Revolution British North America already extended across the North American continent, even though the possession of a Pacific frontage was still in doubt. However, British North America had no internal centre of unity or internal focus for its economic activity. Instead, all the varied parts looked to London. The many waterways of Canada – the shores of Hudson Bay, the St Lawrence, all the embayments along the Atlantic, and even the northeastern United States – provided passageways which led directly to London, where all the organizational threads were collected and knit together. The central...

    • The People
      (pp. 77-94)

      The population of British North America doubled from 2.5 million in 1851 to 5 million by 1891. The four original provinces that formed Canada in 1867 – Canada East (Québec), Canada West (Ontario), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia – had a combined population of 2.3 million in 1851; 40 years later Canada had three more provinces and a territory – Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Rupert’s Land – and its population reached 4.8 million. The geographical distribution of the population confirms the westward progression already apparent in 1851 (pl 29). In 1891, 51% of Canadians were living west...

    • Economies in Transition
      (pp. 95-114)

      Agriculture dominated Canada’s economic activity in the latter part of the 19th century, providing somewhere around 30% of its Gross National Product) (GNP) (table 1). The manufacturing and service sectors vied with one another for second place; both grew in their share of the GNP through the period, virtually matching agriculture by 1890. A large part of both the manufacturing and service sectors, however, continued to rely heavily upon the processing of primary resources. In 1870, for example, grist milling accounted for 18% and the wood-products industries for at least 14% of all manufacturing. Forest-based production, so firmly established in...

    • Urbanization and Manufacturing
      (pp. 115-132)

      Towns have been a part of the European occupation of the land since the first permanent settlement in what was to become Canada. By the beginning of the 19th century urban life at St John’s, Québec, and Montréal, among other places, was well established. The creation of new urban foundations was to be one of the most characteristic activities of the century. The old habit of anchoringe th frontier with a town continued as settlement pushed beyond the narrow band of Maritime shorelines and the St Lawrence–Great Lakes littoral: from the Maritime interior to peninsular Ontario, the Prairies, and...

    • A Changing Society
      (pp. 133-152)

      In the 19th century Canadian society moved on from the fragmentation and disorder of the frontier to the cohesiveness and stability of long-term settlement. Inevitably the process featured major differences from place to place. In 1860, for example, backwoods districts such as Ontario’s Haliburton County possessed a pace and style of life that contrasted vividly with the cosmopolitan bustle found on Montréal’s St James Street. Moreover, not all Canadians were destined to enjoy a common experience. Some, like those of native or African ancestry, would be denied the opportunity to share what contemporaries liked to call progress. Others, for example...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 153-185)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 186-186)