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Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Manitoba (1870)

Manitoba became the first province added to the Dominion of Canada following confederation in 1867. Carved out of Rupert’s Land, the province was initially just 14,000 square miles around the settlement of Red River [see Maps; and The Challenge of Red River and the Manitoba Act]. The Manitoba Act, passed in 1870, was a compromise between the demands of the provisional government led by Louis RIEL and the federal government in Ottawa [see Relations with First Nations and the Métis]. The act guaranteed bilingualism in the government and the courts, certain rights for the Métis, and separate Roman Catholic and Protestant schools, a matter that would prove particularly contentious [see The Manitoba School Question]. Adams George ARCHIBALD, the first lieutenant governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, had to contend with lingering discontent following the rebellion:

“Archibald proclaimed the new government of Manitoba on 6 September, but he had difficulty finding suitable candidates to sit on his council. The natural leaders among the Métis had nearly all been implicated in the uprising. The degree of antagonism toward them was clearly illustrated on 13 September when Elzéar Goulet*, a member of the court martial that had condemned Thomas Scott*, drowned in the Red River while attempting to escape from pursuers. This incident involved soldiers from the 1st (Ontario) Battalion of Rifles, who until their withdrawal in June 1871 willingly took part in attacks on the Métis. The identity of those soldiers involved was well known, yet local pressure prevented any charges from being laid. Archibald resisted repeated demands that he issue warrants for the arrest of Riel and other Métis leaders, but his attempts at reconciliation were badly compromised by the failure of the British government to issue an amnesty for those involved in the rebellion.”

To learn more about the creation of Manitoba, consult the biographies in the following lists.


The Red River Rebellion
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