Canada History

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Royal Proclaimtion | Quebec Act | American Revolution | Loyalists | Attack on Quebec

The American Revolution pitted brother against brother, father against son and husband against wife. Some estimate that about 1/3 of the colonists supported the revolution, 1/3 supported the British cause and 1/3 were neutral. As the war progressed those supporting the British cause became know as loyalist and they became increasingly anxious about their future as it became apparent that the cause of independence was going to win. Many of them began to contemplate sailing for Britain while many others considered alternative British Colonies as destination for re-settlement.

The Canada's and the Maritimes were the closest and easiest destinations to travel to and a large migration of loyalists began as the war drew to a close. It is estimated that approximately 34,000 loyalists when to Nova Scotia, 2,000 to PEI, 10,000 to Ontario and Quebec. These colonies began to absorb the majority of new loyalist immigration and rapid growth occurred for the next 10 years. Although the newly independent United States did intimidate a percentage of British immigrants that would have migrate to the US with hesitation, a large number considered the still British colonies of the Maritimes and the Canada's as a safer, friendlier alternative.

On November 9 1789, the governor of Quebec,  Lord Dorchester, gave the title United Empire Loyalist to those that had arrived from the 13 colonies. This was later shortened to UE on the end of the name.

The British also began to assert themselves on the west coast of North America with the epic voyages and exploration of Captain James Cook in the 1770's and Captain George Vancouver in the 1790's. The Hudson Bay Company was very active in the mapping and exploration of the interior of present day Canada in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with a chain of trading posts to back their claim to the areas.