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Canada is a nation located in the northern part of North America.
Pre-Confederation The land which would become Canada was inhabited by Native Americans for centuries before the coming of the colonial powers. However, once the first European explorers entered Canadian waters, these peoples would go into decline. Over the next few hundred years, disease, war with the Europeans and a series of poorly-negotiated treaties reduced the number of the Native Americans, deprived them of their political power and reduced their sovereign territory to a collection of scattered reservations.
The French initially colonized the area which would become Quebec and New Brunsick, as well as parts of Nova Scotia. However, the British Empire embarked on a series of military campaigns to capture these territories. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were the first to fall under British domination. The British deported the French in New Brunswick, the Acadians, to numerous other colonies, breaking the only potential resistance. Later, Quebec itself would fall to the British.
During the American Revolution, the Canadian territories remained loyalist. Although it was hoped by the Patriots that Quebec, a largely anti-British territory, would join their cause, the Quebecqois trusted the Americans and democracy even less then they did the British colonial regime. Many loyalists from the south, fleeing the successful takeover of the country by the American Patriots, settled in Ontario, which soon became the largest British Colony in North America, rivalled only by Quebec itself.
In the War of 1812, the United States attempted to conquer Canada. Although militarily superior in numbers, the Americans proved themselves incapable of occupying the country. After several mishaps, including the capture of the Detroit area without firing a shot by General Isaac Brock (the territory was later returned) and a raid in which the White House was burned to the ground, the Americans sought peace with the British. The border was remarkably unchanged by the war.
Confederation After the end of the American Civil War, the British Canadian territories where in crisis. Economical troubles had hit the country, which where slightly allivated when the British sold British Columbia to the United States. This decision, however, was unpopular, as the Canadian populace greatly feared American "manifest destiny". An American militia group, whose primary cause was to liberate Ireland from the British, had invaded parts of Canada in the recent past, and although it had been defeated fear of American invasion was high.
The case for confederation was strong. The British, tired of supporting their colony, supported it. Ontario and Quebec where largely in favour of it, as were New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, who badly needed the construction of the proposed Trans-Canada railroad which would provide much needed economic support and strengthen their borders with the United States.
On 1867, the Dominion of Canada was formed with the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Three years later, the Province of Manitoba was absorbed into the state, a move which was accompanied by the British handing over the Northwest Territories. In 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the nation. In 1905, two new provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, joined Canada. Newfoundland, refusing to join a united Canada, would become an independent state. The Dominion of Newfoundland and Labrador would join in 1949.
Canada has been an ally of Britain in nearly every war it has fought. Canadian soldiers intervened in the Boer Wars, World War I and World War II on the side of their mother country. Canadian forces, although often overlooked by history, where viewed at the time as a great asset to the Allies. Canadian and Newfoundland "Shock Troopers", as they became known, were feared by Axis and Central forces. Two famous Canadian victories are Vimmy Ridge and Juno Beach.
In 1995, the Canadian Province of Quebec held a referendum on whether or not to secede from Canada and form an independent nation. This motion was narrowly defeated, by roughly 1%.