Canadian History Timeline


c. 40 000 - 10 000 B.C.Early descendants of Canada's aboriginal people cross the Beringia land bridge from east Asia into North America.
c. 900 - 1 000 A.D.Early Viking explorers are believed to be the first Europeans to visit North America.
c. 1400sFoundation of the Iroquois Confederacy, considered the high point of "pre-contact" aboriginal civilization.
Jun 24, 1497Italian explorer John Cabot claims island of Newfoundland for England.
Jul 24, 1534French explorer Jacques Cartier sails into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and claims Gaspé Penisula for France. Early attempts to found permanent settlements fail.
1604Explorer Samuel de Champlain establishes first French settlement on St. Croix Island. In 1605, the colony is relocated to Port-Royal.
May 13, 1607British explorer Christopher Newport establishes Jamestown as first permanent British colony in North America.
Jul 3, 1608Founding of Quebec City on the St. Lawrence River heralds first permanent French settlement in North America.
May 17, 1642Montreal, then known as Ville-Marie, is founded by Paul de Chomedey Sieur de Maisonneuve.
Sep 24, 1663New France becomes a royal colony of the French Empire.
May 2, 1670The Hudson's Bay Company is founded by King Charles II. The company is given control of a vast new territory known as Rupert's Land, comprising much of northern North America.
1702 - 1713Queen Anne's War / War of the Spanish Succession: French and British forces battle for control of Acadian colonies on the east coast of North America.
Jul 13, 1713Treaty of Utrecht ends Queen Anne's War. France cedes Newfoundland, Acadia and its Hudson's Bay settlements to England.
1755British expel French colonists from Acadia.
September 14, 1752The British Empire begins using the Gregorian calendar, abandoning the old Julian calendar.
1756 - 1763Seven Years War / French and Indian War: France and England battle for control of New France.
Sep 13, 1759The decisive Battle of the Plains of Abraham results in British victory in the Seven Years War.
Feb 10, 1763Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years War. France surrenders New France, now known as Quebec, to Britain.
Oct 7, 1763Royal Proclamation of King George III establishes general procedures for obtaining British control of aboriginal land.
Jun 22, 1774The Quebec Act permits the the continuation of the French language, legal system and Catholic religion in the former New France.
Jul 1, 177613 British colonies in New England successfully revolt against Crown rule and form an independent country known as the United States of America. Loyalists flee to Quebec and Britain's Maritime colonies.
Dec 26, 1791Constitution Act divides Quebec into two colonies: Upper Canada (English) and Lower Canada (French).
Jul 22, 1793British explorer Alexander Mackenzie crosses the Rocky Mountains and claims the Pacific coast of North America for England.
1805British explorer Simon Fraser founds Fort McLeod as the region's first permanent white settlement.
1812 - 1815War of 1812: Britain and the United States battle for control of eastern North America.
Dec 24, 1814The Treaty of Ghent ends the war of 1812. Both Britain and the United States agree to re-establish the "status quo ante bellum" and return to the pre-1812 state of affairs.
Aug 28, 1833London passes the Slavery Abolition Act, emancipating all slaves within the British Empire.
Mar 6, 1834The City of Toronto is incorporated.
Feb 4, 1839In response to growing unrest in the Canadian colonies, Governor General Lord Durham releases the Durham Report, which recommends the merging of Upper and Lower Canada.
Feb 10, 1841Act of Union unites Upper and Lower Canada into the United Province of Canada with a single parliamentary-style government.
Feb 19, 1858The British Crown Colony of British Columbia is established on the Pacific coast.
Sep 1, 1864Charlottetown Conference sees politicians from the United Province of Canada and Britain's Maritime colonies begin talks over a possible political union.
May 22, 1867The British North America Act passes the British Parliament, uniting the former United Provinces (Quebec and Ontario) plus Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a new self-governing colony, the Dominion of Canada.
Jul 1, 1867The British North America Act takes effect, and John A. MacDonald is inaugurated as the first prime minister of Canada.
Nov 19, 1869Negotiations between Canada, Britain, and the Hudson's Bay Company conclude with the HBC signing a "deed of surrender" that transfers control of their massive Rupert's Land and North West Territories to Canada.
Jul 15, 1870Manitoba is carved from the Rupert's Land territory to become the fifth province of Canada. The remaining land becomes known as the Northwest Territories.
May 8, 1871Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Washington, solidifying peace between their nations and removing all remaining British troops from North America.
Jul 25, 1871British Columbia becomes the sixth province of Canada.
Jul 1, 1873Prince Edward Island becomes the seventh province of Canada.
May 23, 1873The Northwest Mounted Police, precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are founded.
Apr 12, 1876The Indian Act is passed by the Parliament of Canada, founding the modern system of aboriginal reservations.
Feb 15, 1881The federal government authorizes the construction of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway.
Dec 21, 1883The Royal Canadian Regiment is founded as the first permanent regiment of what will become the Canadian Army.
Nov 7, 1885The "last spike" is driven in Craigellachie, British Columbia, completing the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Apr 6, 1886The city of Vancouver is incorporated.
1889 - 1902Canadian troops are sent to fight for the British in the South African Boer War.
Jun 13, 1898The Yukon is separated from the Northwest Territories to become Canada's second territory.
Sep 1, 1905Alberta and Saskatchewan are separated from the Northwest Territories to become the eighth and ninth provinces of Canada.
Apr 27 - Oct 31, 1908Canada sends a national team to the Olympics for the first time.
May 4, 1910The Naval Service Act founds the Royal Canadian Navy.
1914 - 1918Canadian troops fight under British command during World War I.
May 24, 1918Women are granted the right to vote in Canadian federal elections. Provinces follow suit at different times between 1916 and 1940.
Nov 11, 1918World War I ends with the signing of an armistice between the allied powers and Germany.
Jan 10, 1920Canada becomes one of the founding members of the League of Nations.
Apr 1, 1924The Royal Canadian Air Force is established.
Oct 29, 1929A stock market crash in the United States triggers the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Dec 11, 1931The Statute of Westminster grants Canada near-complete political independence from Britain, including the right to an independent foreign policy.
Sep 10, 1939Canada declares war on Germany and sends troops to fight in World War II.
Jun 1940 - Dec 1941Canada declares war on the various other countries allied to Nazi Germany: Italy (Jun 10, 1940), Finland, Romania, Hungary (Dec 7, 1941), and Japan (Dec 8, 1941).
Jun 6, 1944Canadian troops participate in the decisive D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.
May 8, 1945V-E Day: World War II ends with the surrender of Germany.
Nov 9, 1945Canada is one of the founding members of the United Nations.
1946The Canadian Army is founded, incorporating previous militias and regiments under a single land force command.
Apr 1, 1949Newfoundland becomes the 10th province of Canada.
1949Changes to the Supreme Court of Canada Act end the right of Canadians to make legal appeals to the British House of Lords. The Supreme Court of Canada becomes Canada's highest judicial body.
1950 - 1953Canadians fight in the Korean War under United Nations command.
Feb 28, 1952Vincent Massey is sworn in as the first Canadian-born governor general of Canada.
Dec 10, 1957Lester Pearson becomes the first Canadian to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his work mediating the Suez Canal crisis in Egypt.
May 12, 1958Canada and the United States co-found the North American Aerospace Defense Command to jointly protect the security of North American airspace.
Jun 22, 1960The election of Liberal Jean Lesage as prime minister of Quebec heralds the beginning of Quebec's "quiet revolution" of secularization and modernization.
1963American nuclear weapons are stationed in Canada for the first time.
Feb 15, 1965The Maple Leaf becomes Canada's official flag.
Jul 1, 1967Canada celebrates its centennial.
Sep 9, 1969The passage of the Official Languages Act makes Canada an officially bilingual country with French and English as Canada's two official languages.
Oct 16, 1970Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau evokes the martial law powers of the War Measures Act to crack down on separatist terrorists in Quebec following the assassination of vice-premier Pierre Laporte.
Apr 1, 1975Canadian weather measurements officially switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius, the first of many important dates in Canada's gradual switch to the Metric system.
Jul 17, 1976Montreal becomes the first Canadian city to host the Olympic games.
Nov 15, 1976The separatist Parti Quebecois party is elected to power in Quebec for the first time.
May 20, 1980Quebec voters reject a referendum on separation from Canada.
Apr 17, 1982Queen Elizabeth II signs the Canadian Constitution Act, transferring control of the former British North America Act to Canada. The revised version contains a new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Jun, 1984The last American nuclear weapons are removed from Canada, ending a denuclearization phase.
Oct 4, 1984Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in outer space.
Oct 3, 1987A free trade agreement between Canada and the United States is approved.
1991Canadians participate in the first Persian Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait.
Mar 29, 1993Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island becomes the first woman to be elected premier of a Canadian province.
Oct 30, 1995Quebec voters narrowly reject a second referendum on separation from Canada.
Apr 1, 1999Nunavut is separated from the Northwest Territories to become Canada's third territory.
Mar, 1999Canada participates in NATO air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Feb 3, 2002Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Canadian troops are deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban regime and Islamic terrorists.
Jul 7, 2011Canada ends its combat mission in Afghanistan.