The Royal Navy, Ruler of the Seas

The Red River Volunteers

First Nations: True Masters of the Plains

The presence of regular troops in garrison in the Canadian West in the first half of the nineteenth century was limited to these exceptions. In reality, the 49th parallel as a border between Canada and the United States all the way to the Rocky Mountains, beginning in 1818, crossed vast expanses, the true masters of which were neither British nor American, but Plains Amerindians. The proud nomadic nations, whose warriors were fierce fighters and outstanding riders, were confronted first with the inexorable advance of the American soldiers and colonists, whom they opposed. But they do not appear to have been threatened by the white men who occupied the Hudson's Bay Company post further to the north, because these white men apparently sought only to trade with them, and not to colonize the land. Relations were generally smooth and there was no need for troops. And since the Royal Navy protected access to Rupert's Land by sea, the security of this vast area was assured.