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Glossary

" A "

Acadian:
A person who comes from or lives in the French-speaking areas of the Maritime Provinces.

Arctic:
An area in the far north of Canada where the temperature is often very cold.

" B "

Boer War:
A war fought in South Africa from 1899-1902 between the Boers (people of Dutch descent) and the British. Over 7000 Canadians served in this war, which was the first time that Canada sent troops to an overseas war.

Bootlegger:
A person who makes or sells alcohol illegally.

Britain:
The group of countries comprised of England, Wales, Scotland and part of Ireland. In the past Britain created a great empire that explored and claimed land around the world as colonies. Some of the British colonies eventually became the provinces of Canada.

British North America:
After the United States broke away from Britain, the remaining British colonies in North America were together called British North America. These were the colonies that later came together to form Canada.

British North America Act:
When the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada joined in 1867 they first had to discuss how the new country would be run. They wrote up the rules for the new country in a document they called the British North America Act. The British Government approved of this Act on March 29, 1867. This led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. In 1982, the BNA Act was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.

" C "

Canadian Pacific Railway (Transcontinental railroad):
The first transcontinental railway in Canada, linking the east and west coasts. It was built to connect British Columbia with the eastern Canadian provinces. It was started in 1881 and took five years to build. It ended at Port Moody, B.C.

Charlottetown Conference:
The first meeting of leaders from the Province of Canada and the Maritime colonies to discuss the idea of Confederation. It took place at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in September of 1864. At first the meeting was meant only to talk about a union of the Maritime colonies, but leaders from Canada asked that they be able to propose a larger union.

Colony:
A settlement of people who leave their country to go live in a new land. The British and French governments both set up colonies in North America hundreds of years ago. The British won control of these colonies in the Seven Years War.

Confederation:
The coming together of the colonies in British North America. Three colonies were made into four provinces. These were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They became the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The other provinces and territories joined later.

Conference:
A meeting. There were many meetings necessary for all the colonies to agree to form Canada. The government of each colony wanted to get the best deal for its citizens.

" D "

Document:
Written information. For example, the British North America Act document set down the information on how the governments in Canada would work.

" E "

Economy:
The combined business and work done by a community. When people are buying a lot and businesses are getting richer, the economy is said to be good. At the time of Confederation, the fur trade, farming, logging, mining, shipbuilding and the railway industry all helped contribute to Canada's economy.

European:
Someone originally from the continent of Europe.

" F "

Fathers of Confederation:
The political leaders from the British North American colonies who went to the conferences to discuss Confederation.

Federal government:
The Government of Canada.

First Nations:
The Native peoples who have been living in North America before and since the Europeans came, except the Inuit. Europeans called them "Indians" at first because they had darker skin than the Europeans, and because the Europeans thought they had reached India.

Fur trade:
The fur trade started in the 1600s when Europeans began to trade their metal and cloth goods for the furs that the Native people had. Fur traders earned a lot of money when fur hats became popular in Europe.

" G "

Gold rush:
Rapid movement of people into an area where gold has been discovered. In the case of the Fraser River gold rush in British Columbia, and the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon, the population of both areas increased greatly in a very short period.

" H "

Hudson's Bay Company:
This company began in the fur-trading business in 1670, when the King of England gave it a huge area of land known as Rupert's Land. In 1870 the Government of Canada bought this land from the company. The land was divided to create the provinces of Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The company name still exists in "The Bay" department stores.

" I "

Independence:
A situation in which a country has its own government, and rules itself. The Americans fought a war of independence against Britain because they no longer wanted to be ruled by the British.

Industry:
The business of making goods, and selling those goods to make money. Some industries at the time of Confederation were shipbuilding, railway and canal construction, and the production of farming tools.

Intercolonial Railway:
A railway started shortly after 1867 and finished in 1876. It went from Truro, Nova Scotia, through northern New Brunswick to Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec. It was built to connect the Maritime Provinces with Quebec and Ontario.

Inuit:
Native people who live in the arctic regions of Canada, and in Greenland and Alaska.

" K "

Knight:
1. (noun) A man with the title "Sir" (e.g. Sir Paul McCartney).
2. (verb) To make someone a knight. This is done by a country's ruler as a reward for outstanding service.

" L "

Landlord:
Someone who owns property, and rents it out to others for money.

London Conference:
The last of the three Confederation Conferences. It took place in London, England in December of 1866. At this conference leaders from the Province of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia turned the rough draft of the Quebec Resolutions into the British North America Act. Once this was done Canada officially became a country on July 1, 1867.

Lower Canada:
In 1791 Britain divided its property in North America into two parts and named them Lower Canada and Upper Canada. Most of the people in Lower Canada were French speaking. In 1840 these two colonies were once again joined to form the Province of Canada. At the time of Confederation in 1867 the area that had been Lower Canada became the province of Quebec.

" M "

Maritime:
A word that means "connected to the sea", or "found near the sea". In Canada we call New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island the Maritime Provinces, or just the Maritimes. This is because of their closeness to the ocean.

Maritime colonies:
The British colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island before they became provinces of Canada. These three provinces together are now called the Maritimes.

Métis:
A person whose ancestors were both European and Aboriginal. In western Canada most of the Métis had ancestors who were Aboriginal people and French Canadians.

Missionaries:
People sent to another place to spread a religion or do social work.

" N "

Native people:
People who have lived in an area of land over a very long time. First Nations and Inuit people are the Native people of Canada. They have been living in this land for thousands of years -- long before Europeans came here.

Negotiations:
Discussions between people who try to come to an agreement on something.

Nervous breakdown:
A time of mental illness when a person cannot think clearly. It often happens after someone has been through a difficult or stressful time.

North America:
The continent that contains Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Bermuda and the French islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon.

North West Mounted Police:
A police force created in 1873 by the Government of Canada to keep law and order in the Northwest Territories. It came to be a symbol of Canada's control of the area. When gold was found in the Klondike in 1896 the North West Mounted Police helped Canada to police the Yukon. In 1919 the name of the police force was changed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Northwest Rebellion:
An armed uprising of Métis and other Native people who wanted the Canadian government to recognize their rights. It took place in what is now central Saskatchewan in 1885. Louis Riel was one of the Métis leaders of this rebellion.

North-Western Territory:
A huge area of land once owned by the British. It covered what is now the Yukon Territory, part of the Northwest Territories, and bits of northern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1870 Canada was given control of the North-Western Territory. It was combined with Rupert's Land to create the Northwest Territories.

" P "

Party:
In politics, "Party" means a group of people who share the same opinions, and who come together in order to get elected and form a government.

Premier:
The first in importance or rank, the chief. In the past the leader of a colony was called a premier. Today the leader of a province or territory is called a premier.

Province:
Some Canadian provinces were originally colonies of Britain. Eventually all the colonies joined Canada and became provinces. The provinces and the federal government share power. The provinces are responsible for things like schools, hospitals, local government and keeping highways in order. There are ten provinces in Canada.

Province of Canada:
In 1840 the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada were joined to form the Province of Canada. Upper Canada was mostly English speaking, while Lower Canada was mostly French speaking. After Confederation Upper Canada became the province of Ontario, and Lower Canada became the province of Quebec.

" Q "

Quebec Conference:
The second meeting where leaders from the Province of Canada, the Maritime colonies and Newfoundland came together to talk about Confederation. They met in Quebec City in October 1864 to create a document called the Quebec Resolutions. After this conference each colony brought these resolutions back to its legislative assembly to be voted on. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland turned down the agreement.

" R "

Rebellion:
A revolt against the government that is in power. Often a rebellion involves combat between the government's army and the rebels who have organized to fight the government.

Red River Rebellion:
An armed uprising against the Canadian government by the Métis of the Red River Colony who were afraid of losing their lands and their way of life when Canada acquired Rupert's Land in 1870. Louis Riel was the leader of this rebellion. It eventually helped lead to the creation of the province of Manitoba.

Responsible government:
A type of government in which political decisions are made by leaders who are elected by the people. The political party that has the most people elected makes up the government. Before Confederation many of the colonies were run in part by leaders the British put in power, or by a few powerful rich people. The first responsible government in British North America was in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia achieved responsible government in January 1848.

Rupert's Land:
A huge area of land once owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. It covered part of what is now northern Ontario and Quebec, as well as Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, and parts of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. In 1870 this land was sold to the Canadian government.

" T "

Territory:
A piece of land in Canada that is not a province. In the past, a territory was governed by someone named by the federal government. Later, this person governed together with a group of leaders elected by the people. Now, all the leaders are elected. There are now three territories in Canada: The Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut.

Treason:
A crime against the government of a country. When citizens of a country try to set up their own government and get rid of the government in power, they are often charged with treason.

" U "

Union:
When people or governments join for a common reason or purpose. Confederation was a union of British colonies that believed that they would be stronger together than apart.

Upper Canada:
In 1791 Britain divided its property in North America into two parts and named them Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Most of the people in Upper Canada were English speaking. In 1840 these two colonies were once again joined to form the Province of Canada. At the time of Confederation in 1867 the area that had been Upper Canada became the province of Ontario.