Lower Canada

  Countries

Lower Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Province of Lower Canada
Province du Bas-Canada  (French)
1791–1841
Flag of Lower Canada
Civil ensign (1801 onward)
Évolution territoriale du Bas-Canada.gif
Status British colony
Capital Quebec City
Common languages FrenchEnglish
Government Château Clique oligarchy
under a
Constitutional monarchy
Sovereign
• 1791–1820
George III
• 1820–1830
George IV
• 1830–1837
William IV
• 1837–1841
Victoria
Lieutenant-Governor and Executive Council of Lower Canada
Legislature Parliament of Lower Canada
Legislative Council
Legislative Assembly
Historical era British Era
26 December 1791
10 February 1841
Area
1839[1] 534,185 km2 (206,250 sq mi)
Population
• 1839[1]
c. 700,000
Currency Canadian pound

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Province of Quebec (1763–1791)
Province of Canada
Colony of Newfoundland
Today part of

The Province of Lower Canada (Frenchprovince du Bas-Canada) was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (1791–1841). It covered the southern portion of the current Province of Quebec and the Labrador region of the current Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (until the Labrador region was transferred to Newfoundland in 1809).[2]

Lower Canada consisted of part of the former colony of Canada of New France, conquered by Great Britain in the Seven Years’ War ending in 1763 (also called the French and Indian War in the United States). Other parts of New France conquered by Britain became the Colonies of Nova ScotiaNew Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

The Province of Lower Canada was created by the Constitutional Act 1791 from the partition of the British colony of the Province of Quebec (1763–1791)[3] into the Province of Lower Canada and the Province of Upper Canada. The prefix “lower” in its name refers to its geographic position farther downriver from the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River than its contemporary Upper Canada, present-day southern Ontario.

Lower Canada was abolished in 1841 when it and adjacent Upper Canada were united into the Province of Canada.

Rebellion

Like Upper Canada, there was significant political unrest. Twenty-two years after the invasion by the Americans in the War of 1812, a rebellion now challenged the British rule of the predominantly French population. After the Patriote Rebellion in the Rebellions of 1837–1838[5] were crushed by the British Army and Loyal volunteers, the 1791 Constitution was suspended on 27 March 1838 and a special council was appointed to administer the colony. An abortive attempt by revolutionary Robert Nelson to declare a Republic of Lower Canada was quickly thwarted.

The provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada were combined as the United Province of Canada in 1841, when the Act of Union 1840 came into force. Their separate legislatures were combined into a single parliament with equal representation for both constituent parts, even though Lower Canada had a greater population.[6]

Constitution[edit]

Constitution of Lower Canada in 1791

The Province of Lower Canada inherited the mixed set of French and English institutions that existed in the Province of Quebec during the 1763–1791 period and which continued to exist later in Canada-East (1841–1867) and ultimately in the current Province of Quebec (since 1867).

Population

Lower Canada was populated mainly by Canadiens, an ethnic group who trace their ancestry to French colonists who settled in Canada from the 17th century onward.

Population of Lower Canada, 1806 to 1841
Year Census estimate[9]
1806 250,000
1814 335,000
1822 427,465
1825 479,288
1827 473,475
1831 553,134
1841 650,000

Transportation[edit]

Current route marker seen along the Chemin

Travelling around Lower Canada was mainly by water along the St. Lawrence River. On land the only long-distance route was the Chemin du Roy or King’s Highway, built in the 1730s by New France.[10] The King’s Highway was, in addition to the mail route, the primary means of long-distance passenger travel until steamboats (1815) and railways (1850s) began to challenge the royal road.[10] The royal road’s importance waned after the 1850s and would not re-emerge as a key means of transportation until the modern highway system of Quebec was created in the 20th century.

See also

LEAVE A COMMENT

fourteen − 6 =