Dominion of Canada (North American War)
Major cities: London, Berlin, Ottawa, Winnipeg
Provinces: Ontario, Manitoba, Northern Territory
Independence from Great Britain: July 1, 1867
The separation of the Maritime provinces from the other former British North American colonies in 1867 left the two Canadas: Upper Canada (also known as Quebec) and Lower Canada (also known as Ontario). From the back rooms of the Charlottetown Conference came the decision to create two independent Canadas, both constitutional monarchies headed by governors-general. This separation was fuelled by a recognition of the cultural differences between Lower Canada, populated mainly by a mix of British and American settlers and their descendants, and Upper Canada, an individual blend of French and British cultures. Initial pressure from American immigrants to join one of the American unions to the south was counterbalanced after Lower Canada's independence by the sizable, decidedly monarchist community of British extraction. Canadian independence, then, has since been a happy medium between these two groups: a nation independent of its southern neighbours through a decidely British culture and political system yet with close social and economic ties to the Americans.
Canadian expansion westward after the 1869 purchase of the Rupert's Land territory from the Hudson's Bay Company caused the local Metis (French and aboriginal mixed-race people) to rise up in rebellion under their leader Louis Riel. Outrage among white Canadians at the death of settler Thomas Scott led to a dramatic crackdown on the rebellion, the first military excercise carried out by any former British North American colony since independence. Riel was arrested and executed, but in a placating gesture to the Metis Rupert's Land was admitted into Canada as the province of Manitoba. In 1873 the territories north of the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba were purchased from Britain. Skirting the southern and western edges of Hudson's Bay and extending north to the Arctic Ocean, they were admitted to the Dominion of Canada as the Northern Territory.
The Dominion of Canada is ruled from Toronto by a two-house legistlature headed by a prime minister (leader of the majority political party). The official head of state is the monarch of Great Britain, represented by a governor-general. The Dominion consists of two provinces, Ontario and Manitoba, and one territory, the Northern Territory. The provinces are ruled by their own legistlatures, headed by premiers (leaders of the majority provincial political parties) and with lieutenant-generals representing the monarch; the Northern Territory is administered by the federal government through a commissioner residing within the territory and approved for office by a council representing the territory's residents.
The population of Canada is predominantly a mix of peoples of British extraction and American immigrants; sizable minorities of Metis and French-speakers of European extraction reside in southern Manitoba and along the eastern border of Ontario respectively; a large aboriginal community also resides in the northern parts of the provinces and in the southern half of the Northern Territory, and Eskimos inhabit the far northern parts of the Northern Territory. English, however, is the only official language, and Metis, natives, and Eskimos are often neglected by government policies.