Social studies 10: chapter one booklet colonies in the Wilderness

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Colonies in the Wilderness (1815-1840)
Upper and Lower Canada (circa 1815)

Upper Canada

Lower Canada


Up St. Lawrence River

Great Lakes Region


Down St. Lawrence River

Gulf of St. Lawrence Region







Roman Catholic

Political Structure

See handout: Constitutional Act, 1791

Changes to the Canadas (1815-1837)
1. Population Growth

  • Immigration to the Canadas in the early 19th century, included LOYALISTS

leaving the USA until the War of 1812 - but after the War of 1812, American settlers were no longer welcome in Upper Canada.

  • A wave of settlers from Great Britain (Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales) took their place. Historians call the period between 1815 to 1850, THE GREAT MIGRATION


  • Industrial Revolution

  • Potato Famine in Ireland

  • By 1860, the majority of English speaking people in Canada were of Irish descent.

  • In Lower Canada, a very high birth rate among French speaking people resulted in a doubling of the population in a very short period.

Year Pop.

1806 250 000

1841 717 000
2. Timber Trade

  • Pioneers began to use trees as a way of making a living.

  • By 1839, wood made up 80 percent of all goods exported from Upper and Lower Canada.

  • Timber was needed in Europe and the Eastern USA for building.

  • In the Maritimes, the SHIPBUILDING industry was very important to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in particular.

3. End of the Fur Trade

  • Depletion of resources (fur) by early 1800s in Lower Canada.

  • Voyageurs and native middlemen move westward to follow wild game.

  • 1821 - Amalgamation of two fur companies

Constitutional Act, 1791: Colonial Government and Discontent in the Colonies

Upper Canada:

  • Constitutional Act, 1791 gave both Upper and Lower Canada elected assemblies, but the real political power lay in the hands of the Governor and his appointed councils.

  • Constitutional Act set aside 1/7th of all public lands as CROWN RESERVES to be used by Governors as a source of money for government expenditures.

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