History

Historical geography is the study of spatial patterns of the past and how these patterns have evolved over time.

List of Topics:

Territorial Evolution

This series of maps presents the history of the political boundaries in Canada. Boundaries are conceptualized for many different reasons. Boundaries can be used to demarcate changing climate zones, or economic regions, but most commonly we think of them as being lines on the land that delineate political jurisdictions.

Territorial Evolution, 1867

This map shows the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united in a federal state. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick retain their established boundaries, and Canada is divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. New provisional boundaries are assigned to northern Ontario.
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Territorial Evolution, 1870

Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory are acquired to form the Northwest Territories. The province of Manitoba is created. In 1877, boundaries of Manitoba are adjusted to conform to the Dominion Lands Survey System.
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Territorial Evolution, 1871

In 1871, British Columbia joins the federation as a province with the boundaries it attained in 1866. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1873

In 1873, Prince Edward Island joins the Confederation as the seventh province. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1876

The District of Keewatin is formed from part of the Northwest Territories in 1876. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1880

In 1880, Canada acquires title to the Arctic Islands that become part of the Northwest Territories. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1881

Manitoba is enlarged in 1881 by extending its boundaries westward, northward and eastward. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1882

The provisional district of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Athabaska and Alberta are created in 1882. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1886

The south-western boundary of Keewatin is adjusted in 1886 to conform to the boundaries of the districts created in 1882. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1889

In 1889, Ontario is enlarged west to Lake of the Woods and north to the Albany River. The southwestern boundary of Keewatin is adjusted to conform with boundaries of the districts created in 1882. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1895

Ungava, Mackenzie, Yukon and Franklin are established in 1895 as additional districts in the Northwest Territories. The districts of Athabaska and Keewatin are enlarged. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1897

Boundaries are changed in 1897 for the districts of Franklin, Keewatin, Mackenzie, Ungava and Yukon. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1898

The District of Yukon is separated from the Northwest Territories to become Yukon Territory with the boundaries as assigned to the district in 1895. The boundaries of Quebec are extended northward to the Eastmain River. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1901

The boundaries of Yukon Territory in 1901 are changed to those of today. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1905

In 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan are created as provinces with the boundaries they have today. The District of Keewatin is transferred back to the Northwest Territories.
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Territorial Evolution, 1912

In 1912, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are extended northward. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1920

The boundaries of the districts within the Northwest Territories are redescribed in 1920. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1927

In 1927, the boundary between Canada and Newfoundland is defined by the Imperial Privy Council. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1949

In 1949, Newfoundland enters Confederation as the tenth province with the boundaries as delimited in 1927. Canada’s long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate between eastern and western Canada.
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Territorial Evolution, 1999

Nunavut becomes Canada's third territory on April 1, 1999. For the first time since the entry of Newfoundland into Confederation fifty years before, the internal boundaries of Canada have changed. The boundaries of this new territory respect the traditional Aboriginal concept of territoriality.
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Territorial Evolution, 1867 to 1999

Canada had a relatively small area when created in 1867, but it then expanded greatly to become, by area, the second largest country in the world. This map is a composite of 18 Atlas maps which show territorial changes at specific times during the period 1867 to 1999. Not only did Canada as a whole expand over time, but also most of the provinces expanded their areas: only two provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) had their present boundaries as of Confederation (1867). The boundaries and names of the territories also changed over time; one of the three existing territories, Nunavut, was created as recently as 1999.
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Aboriginal Peoples circa 1630, 1740 and 1823

This series of maps show the changing distribution of the Aboriginal population in Canada prior to the creation of Indian Reserves. Each map in this series shows the location and distribution of ethnohistorical societies known to Europeans for three important time periods, circa 1630, 1740 and 1823. Individual ethnohistorical societies are classified into major linguistic families and mapped using graduated circles (to represent their estimated population). Major linguistic families are coded by colour, (for example, Algonquian), and subdivided into recognized groups of historically related peoples, (for example, Ojibwa).

Aboriginal Peoples circa 1630

The map shows the distribution of Aboriginal peoples early in the XVII century before the eastern population dislocations. Ethnohistorical societies are identified on the map by the major linguistic family to which they belong. Ethnohistorical societies are Aboriginal peoples that were known by name and location to Europeans early in the XVII century. Also mapped are the major archaeological sites current to 1980. A linguistic family code identifies each ethnohistorical society on the map and is used to reference specific information for each ethnohistorical society (refer to the Atlas of Canada's 5th Edition map Native Peoples 1630 for the information).
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Aboriginal Peoples circa 1740

This map shows the distribution of Aboriginal peoples early in the XVIII century after a hundred years of Aboriginal-European contact at the time of the French Regime. Ethnohistorical societies are identified on the map by the major linguistic family to which they belong. Ethnohistorical societies are Aboriginal peoples that were known by name and location to Europeans early in the XVIII century. A linguistic family code identifies each ethnohistorical society on the map and is used to reference specific information for each ethnohistorical society (refer to the Atlas of Canada's 5th Edition map Native Peoples 1740 for the information).
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Aboriginal Peoples circa 1823

This map shows the distribution of Aboriginal peoples at the height of British rule when the Hudson's Bay Company dominated the fur trade. Ethnohistorical societies are identified on the map by the major linguistic family to which they belong. Ethnohistorical societies are Aboriginal peoples that were known by name and location to Europeans early in the nineteenth century. A linguistic family code identifies each ethnohistorical society on the map and is used to reference specific information for each ethnohistorical society (refer to the Atlas of Canada's 5th Edition map Native Peoples 1823 for the information).
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Exploration

This series of maps shows extent of exploration during this period for Canada, and adjacent areas of the United States and Greenland; data depicted are the routes of explorers, extent of territory known to Europeans, and settlement by Europeans.

Exploration 1497 - 1650

Contained within the 5th Edition (1978 to 1995) of the National Atlas of Canada is a map that shows the extent of exploration during this period for Canada, and adjacent areas of the United States and Greenland; data depicted are the routes of explorers, extent of territory known to Europeans, and settlement by Europeans. Table gives details journeys of exploration and their motives.
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Exploration 1651 - 1760

Contained within the 5th Edition (1978 to 1995) of the National Atlas of Canada is a map that shows the extent of exploration during this period for Canada and adjacent areas of the United States and Greenland; data depicted are the routes of explorers, extent of territory known to Europeans, and settlement by Europeans. The table gives details on journeys of exploration and their motives.
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