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Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1840

Type: Image

The leader of the Patriote movement is shown in this 1840 lithograph. At this time he was in France, having fled Canada at the start of the 1837 Rebellion. (Library and Archives Canada R9266-P2601)

Site: National Defence

Assertion of Canadian Identity

Type: Document

The development of a Canadian army overseas promoted the growth of a Canadian identity that was separate from the British model. Canada's military independence on the battlefield would be succeeded, over the decades, by gradual political independence.

Site: National Defence

Corruption Causes Hardship

Type: Document

In 1756, the graft of Canadian-born François Bigot, Intendant (and chief financial minister of New France) made a bad situation worse. His theft and corruption led to rampant inflation in New France, which impoverished many officers, particularly the French-born ones without local incomes.

Site: National Defence

Quebec Surrenders

Type: Document

In 1759, both the British and French generals were fatally wounded during the battle of the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe died on the field, and Montcalm the next day. Before dying, Montcalm ordered the French army to surrender the city and retreat to Montreal.

Site: National Defence

Mutual Dislike Between Colonial and Metropolitan Officers

Type: Document

Both General Montcalm and Governor Vaudreuil wrote to their respective superiors in the fall of 1756, complaining of the other's behaviour. The officers of New France had split into two hostile camps: Canadian-born (led by the Governor) and French-born (led by Montcalm).

Site: National Defence

Harsh Terms of Surrender

Type: Document

Since the fortifications of Montreal were too weak to withstand a siege by the British in September 1760, French commanders Vaudreuil and Lévis were forced to surrender. The terms were harsh, with the defenders being refused the honours of war.

Site: National Defence

Reluctant Canadian Politicians

Type: Document

In 1849, responsible government came to Canada, and Canadian politicians now made many decisions, instead of the British Governor-General. The Canadians preferred to leave the cost of defence up to Britain, but did appoint a commission to study militia reform in 1854.

Site: National Defence

Canadians Presume Continued British Garrison

Type: Document

Canada became an independent state within the British Empire in 1867, but Canadian politicians assumed that Britain would continue to keep military forces in Canada, and pay for them as well. Britain, on the other hand, wanted the Canadians to pay for any troops.

Site: National Defence

The Tide Turns Against New France

Type: Document

In 1758, French attempts to halt General Forbes' British army were not enough to hold the Ohio Valley, and Fort Duquesne had to be blown up. Earlier that summer, Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario had been taken by Americans. Calls for help fell on deaf ears in France, in trouble in Europe.

Site: National Defence

Command of the Militia

Type: Document

From 1867 to 1904, the militia system was commanded by British General Officers who were often in conflict with Canadian Defence Ministers over matters of appointments, budgets, and the role played by Canada’s forces in the Empire. During this period small improvements were made in the staff system and the training of officers.

Site: National Defence