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Date > 1700 > 1780-1789

Subject > Politics and Society > War Art, Literature and Music

Lieutenant Esteban José Martínez Fernández y Martínez de la Sierra, Marina real, circa 1785

Type: Image

Martínez (1742-1798), shown here in the full dress uniform of a lieutenant in the Marina real (the Spanish navy) was a key figure in the Spanish exploration of the northwest coast of America. In 1774, he was second in command of the Spanish frigate Santiago, which made the first recorded contact with the Haida in the Queen Charlotte Archipelago. In 1790, Martínez was the officer who almost sent Spain and Great Britain to war with his conduct during the diplomatic standoff at Nootka. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

Military Bands

Type: Document

The British likely introduced the military band to Canada. These regimental musicians were paid for by individual units. Instrumentation favoured flutes, clarinets and percussion. The bands played a strong role in the social life of garrison towns throughout Canada.

Site: National Defence

Men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York settling in Johnstown in 1784

Type: Image

This contemporary watercolour shows a encampment of Loyalist veterans and their families at Johnstown (present-day Cornwall, Ontario) in 1784. Some of these men of the King's Royal Regiment of New York still wear their red coats. (Library and Archives Canada, C-002001).

Site: National Defence

Loyalist soldier, 1776-1783

Type: Image

Several corps of Loyalists connected with Canada wore this pattern of red uniform with green facings. Jessup's King's Loyal Americans, formed in 1776 to accompany General Burgoyne's expedition are noted in red faced green. The Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers, raised by Nova Scotia Governor Francis Legge were also recorded in these colours in 1783 by a German officer. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Entertainment

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, alcohol and prostitutes were not the only forms of entertainment available to British soldiers. Cards and dice were popular, as was singing and playing music. The army tried to encourage reading, and it set up schools for the illiterate majority.

Site: National Defence

Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada: A Multi-Purpose Structure

Type: Document

The site at Coteau-du-Lac represented a major point of transit for British military logistics efforts. Between 1781 and 1814, the army developed large-scale infrastructures on the site, which testify to the importance the colonial authorities attached to improving and protecting transportation and communications along the route linking Montréal and Kingston.

Site: Parks Canada

Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor General of Canada, circa 1770

Type: Image

Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-1791) served as Governor General between 1778 and 1784. He had to safeguard Canada while keeping the pressure on the Americans' northern frontiers just as his British garrison was being reduced. He therefore used German mercenary troops as garrisons while promoting raids deep into American territory by parties of Loyalists and Mohawk Indians. This portrait shows him in the uniform of a field officer of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot in the early 1770’s. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Fort Prince of Wales

Type: Image

This aerial view shows Fort Prince of Wales, just across the Churchill river from present-day Churchill, Manitoba. Its construction began in 1717. The fort was taken without a fight by a French expedition to Hudson Bay in 1782. It was said to be the only sizeable bastioned stone fort on the Arctic Ocean. Its walls were restored in the 1950s. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny (1724-1786)

Type: Image

Testard de Montigny was an officer in the Compagnies franches de la Marine. He distinguished himself in raids against New England in 1746-47, and then in Ohio and in the Great Lakes region during the Seven Years' War. He was made a Chevalier de Saint Louis in 1757.

Site: National Defence