kids encyclopedia robot

British North America facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
British North America

Flag of British North America
Capital Administered from London, England
Common languages English, French, Scottish Gaelic
Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Presbyterianism, Seventh-day Adventism, Salvationist, Methodism, Pentecostalism, Protestantism, Judaism
• 1783–1820
George III
• 1820–1830
George IV
• 1830–1837
William IV
• Rupert's Land Act
• British North America Act, 1871
• British Columbia Terms of Union
• Adjacent Territories Order
Currency Pound sterling
Made Beaver
Canadian pound
Newfoundland dollar
Nova Scotian dollar
New Brunswick dollar
Prince Edward Island dollar
British Columbia dollar
Canadian dollar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
British America
Dominion of Canada
Dominion of Newfoundland
Today part of Bermuda
United States
  1. Colony thenceforth grouped for convenience with British West Indies

British North America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire in North America from 1783 onwards. English colonisation of North America began in the 16th century in Newfoundland, then further south at Roanoke and Jamestown, Virginia, and more substantially with the founding of the Thirteen Colonies along the Atlantic Coast of North America.

The British Empire's colonial territories in North America were greatly expanded in connection with the Treaty of Paris (1763), which formally concluded the Seven Years' War, referred to by the English colonies in North America as the French and Indian War, and by the French colonies as la Guerre de la Conquête. With the ultimate acquisition of most of New France (Nouvelle-France), British territory in North America was more than doubled in size, and the exclusion of France also dramatically altered the political landscape of the continent.

The term British America was used to refer to the British Empire's colonial territories in North America prior to the United States Declaration of Independence, most famously in the 1774 address of Thomas Jefferson to the First Continental Congress entitled: A Summary View of the Rights of British America.

The term British North America was initially used following the subsequent Treaty of Paris (1783), which concluded the American Revolutionary War and confirmed the independence of Great Britain's Thirteen Colonies that formed the United States of America. The terms British America and British North America continued to be used for Britain's remaining territories in North America, but the term British North America came to be used more consistently in connection with the provinces that would eventually form the Dominion of Canada, following the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report.

The Dominion of Canada was formed under the British North America (BNA) Act, 1867, also referred to as the Constitution Act, 1867. Following royal assent of the BNA Act, three of the provinces of British North America (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (which would become the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec)) joined to form "One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom," on July 1, 1867, the date of Canadian Confederation.

The Atlantic island of Bermuda (originally administered by the Virginia Company and, with The Bahamas, considered with North America prior to 1783), was grouped with the Maritime provinces from 1783 until formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, and thereafter generally with the colonies in the British West Indies (although the Church of England continued to place Bermuda under the Bishop of Newfoundland until 1919).

Over its duration, British North America comprised the British Empire's colonial territories in North America from 1783 to 1907, not including the Caribbean. These territories include those forming modern-day Canada, as well as all or large parts of six Midwestern U.S. states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the northeastern part of Minnesota), which were formed out of the Northwest Territory, and large parts of Maine, which had originally been within the French territory of Acadia.

Political divisions

In 1775, on the eve of the American Revolution, the British Empire included 20 territories in the Western Hemisphere northeast of New Spain. These colonies were:

Britain had acquired Quebec from France and East and West Florida from Spain by the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ended the Seven Years' War.

The United States of America, upon acknowledgement of their sovereignty, acquired the part of Quebec south of the Great Lakes by the Treaty of Paris (1783); at the same time Spain gained West Florida and regained East Florida.

Nova Scotia was split into modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1784. The part of Quebec retained after 1783 was split into the primarily French-speaking Lower Canada and the primarily English-speaking Upper Canada in 1791.

After the War of 1812, the Treaty of 1818 established the 49th parallel as the United States–British North America border from Rupert's Land west to the Rocky Mountains. Britain gave up Oregon south of the 49th parallel, which was part of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia District, under the Oregon Treaty of 1846.

The boundary of British North America with Maine was clarified by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

The Canadas were united into the Province of Canada in 1841.

On 1 July 1867, in an action known as Confederation, an act of the British Parliament called the British North America Act formed the Dominion of Canada from the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The former Province of Canada was split back into its pre-1841 parts, with Canada East (Lower Canada) renamed Quebec, and Canada West (Upper Canada) renamed Ontario. These were the original four provinces of Canada.

In 1870, Rupert's Land was annexed to Canada as the Northwest Territories (NWT) and the new province of Manitoba. British Columbia, the British colony on the west coast north of the 49th parallel, joined as Canada's sixth province in 1871, and Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. The boundary of British Columbia with Washington Territory was settled by arbitration in 1872, and with Alaska by arbitration in 1903.

The Arctic Archipelago was ceded by Britain to Canada in 1880 and added to the Northwest Territories. Subsequently, large sections of the NWT were split off as new territories (Yukon, 1898; Nunavut, 1999) or provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan, both in 1905), or were added to existing provinces (Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, in stages ending in 1912).

In 1907 the sole remaining British North American colony, Newfoundland, was granted dominion status, although starting in 1934 it returned to British administration under the Commission of Government. In 1949 the island of Newfoundland, and its associated mainland territory of Labrador, joined Canada as the tenth province.

Although semi-independent from 1867, and fully sovereign on foreign affairs with the Statute of Westminster 1931, the last vestiges of Canada's constitutional dependency upon Britain remained until Canadians agreed on an internal procedure for amending the Canadian Constitution. This agreement was implemented when the British Parliament passed the Constitution Act of 1982 at the request of Parliament of Canada.

British North America colonies

The colonies that existed before the signing of the 1846 Oregon Treaty:

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Norteamérica británica para niños

kids search engine
British North America Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.