• John Paxton
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


HISTORY. The territories which now constitute Canada came under British power at various times by settlement, conquest or cession. Nova Scotia was occupied in 1628 by settlement at Port Royal, was ceded back to France in 1632and was finally ceded by France in 1713, by the Treaty of Utrecht; the Hudson’s Bay Company’s charter, conferring rights over all the territory draining into Hudson Bay, was granted in 1670; Canada, with all its dependencies, including New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, was formally ceded to Great Britain by France in 1763; Vancouver Island was acknowledged to be British by the Oregon Boundary Treaty of 1846, and British Columbia was established as a separate colony in 1858. As originally constituted, Canada was composed of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They were united under the provisions of an Act of the Imperial Parliament known as ‘The British North America Act, 1867’, which came into operation on 1 July 1867 by royal proclamation. The Act provides that the constitution of Canada shall be ‘similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom’; that the executive authority shall be vested in the Sovereign, and carried on in his name by a Governor-General and Privy Council; and that the legislative power shall be exercised by a Parliament of two Houses, called the ‘Senate’ and the ‘House of Commons’. The present position of Canada in the British Commonwealth of Nations was defined at the Imperial Conference of 1926.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Paxton

There are no affiliations available

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