Today we observe the creation of the province of Canada by the Act of Union on July 23, 1840.
And on a personal note, I’d like to apologize to our neighbors to the north for knowing almost nothing about the history of Canada. Assuming it had sprung full-blown on our northern border sometime after the revolutionary war, I was astounded to learn that it wasn’t the Canada we know until about 1870.
As late as 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador were a Dominion equal to Australia and Canada. But they gave up their status and joined Canada as a province.
So, not only was Canada not cooked until 1949, its national flag – the Maple Leaf flag – wasn’t adopted until 1965.
Anyway, the Canada created in 1840 looked like this:It consisted of Upper and Lower Canada, one part English- speaking and one French-speaking, the orange and green bits. Clearly, Canada still had a long way to go.
One of the nicest things about Canada is the way the aboriginal peoples are all referred to as ‘First Nations.’ The First Nations include Blackfoot, Micmac, Cree, Iroquois, Wyandot, Algonkian, Salish, Tlingkit, Sarsi, Haida, Chipewyan and many others. All aboriginals except Inuit and Metis are First Nations. That they were particularly well-represented in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics was not a token appearance – they have always had a larger cultural presence in Canada than in the U.S., and much less violent history.
Canada’s name, in fact, is an Iroquoian word (kanata) meaning settlement or village; use of the word began with Jacques Cartier and gradually became universally used.
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Today is Haile Selassie’s birthday. He ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 until 1974. Also known as Ras Tafari Makonnen, he is worshipped by Rastafarians as Jesus incarnate. He was heir to a dynasty that dated to the 13th century and was said to be a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He died in questionable circumstances after a military coup in 1975.