It is believed that the name “Canada” likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement.” In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to kanata; they were actually referring to the village of Stadacona, the site of present-day Quebec City. Cartier used the word “Canada” to refer not only to that village, but the entire area controlled by its chiefdoms.
The name “Canada” appeared on a map for the first time in 1547. In the early 1600s, the French established the colony of Canada, with Quebec City as its capital. In 1759, the British defeated the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City. As a result of the Seven Years’ War, which ended in 1763, France ceded all its North American territories, including Canada, to Britain.
The British divided their new acquisitions into two colonies, separated by the Hudson Bay: Rupert’s Land in the west and the colony of Quebec in the east. The term “Canada” was then increasingly used to refer to the colony of Quebec. In 1791, the British Parliament passed the Constitution Act, which divided the colony of Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. The name “Canada” became official when the British Parliament passed the Constitution Act of 1867, which united Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one dominion called Canada.
Aboriginal people have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years. They used the land to support their families and communities. They hunted game, fished in rivers and lakes, and gathered plants for food, medicine and materials. Over time, they developed rich and complex cultures, with their own languages, traditions and beliefs.
The first Europeans to arrive in Canada were the Vikings, who settled in Newfoundland around 1000 AD. They were soon followed by the Basques, who established fisheries off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the early 1500s, Europeans began to explore the North American continent in earnest.
The first French explorer to visit Canada was Jacques Cartier, who arrived in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1534. He was followed by other French explorers, who established settlements along the St. Lawrence River. In the 1600s, the English began to establish their own settlements in Canada, in Newfoundland and along the Hudson Bay.
Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, the French and British competed for control of Canada. In 1759, the British defeated the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City, and Canada became a British colony. The British Parliament passed the Constitution Act in 1867, which united the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one Dominion called Canada.
Today, Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a federal state. It is made up of ten provinces and three territories. Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The population of Canada is about 35 million people.