British Subjects In the late 19 th & early 20 th century most Canadians were of recent British extraction. They felt a strong kinship to Great Britain.
British Subjects Canada was an integral part of this world empire. We were British subjects and proud of it.
British Subjects During the 19 th century, Great Britain had the largest fleet in the world, maintaining a 2 power standard – her fleet was larger than the next two national fleets combined. Britain was committed to “Splendid Isolation” – staying out of international commitments and only committing when Britain could force the balance of power in Britain’s interests. British Canadians felt pride in British power
British Subjects British subjects were enormously proud of the size of the British Empire – which was between 1/6 & 1/5 of the world’s land mass and contained a similar proportion of the world’s people. Like Americans today, the British saw themselves as tremendously powerful.
Canadiens French Canadians felt no such connection to things British. They had been isolated from Europe since before “the Conquest”, beginning in 1759.
Canada First Of course there were some English Canadians who wanted an independent Canada. However, this “Canada First” movement was small in number and resentful of the Canadiens – the only other group who supported a distinctly Canadian nationalism. Charles Mair – of Canada First
Imperial Federation At the end of the 19 th century there was even a movement to strengthen ties with Britain. In 1884 the Imperial Federation League was founded in Britain. Proponents wanted to strengthen, not loosen, ties between Britain and its colonies.
Imperial Federation The idea was to create a single federal Imperial state, with a super-Parliament in London. The Colonies would be mere provinces within this.
A British Nation The overwhelming bulk of Canada’s population and particularly the controlling elite, felt themselves British through and through.
Even as a self-governing dominion within the British Empire, there was the danger of getting caught up in conflicts with little or nothing to do with Canada. After all, a global empire had to maintain itself. –Against rebels. –Against other imperial powers.
Sudan, 1885 In 1881 a religious leader in the Sudan, Mohammad Ahmed, declared himself the Mahdi – the messiah of Islam. He set out to clear his country of foreign influences – including the Egyptians, who he saw as impure Moslems – and their allies, the British.
Gordon of Khartoum A British force, under the command of General Charles Gordon, was under siege at Khartoum. Britain called on its colonies to contribute to a force to put down the radical Islamic forces.
Sudan, 1885 Sir John A. Macdonald understood that though British Canada might support sending troops, Quebec would be strongly opposed. The conflict ended before any Canadian commitment was needed. (Though Australian forces were sent.)
The Anglo-Boer War - Origins Another Imperial crisis arose in Southern Africa. In the late 19 th century a three power struggle took place there between: –The British –The Boers –The Zulu
Anglo-Boer War - Origins Shaka Zulu led the most powerful African military force to ever emerge. After initial set-backs – like the complete annihalation of the British 24 th regiment at Isandlhwana - British firepower eventually broke the Zulu, who had conquered much of southern Africa.
Anglo-Boer War - Origins British supremacy in Southern Africa irked the Boers (Afrikaaners) – descendants of early Dutch settlers who had trekked out of the Cape area to escape British rule. In 1880-1881 the Boers won the right to self- government – though theoretically under British oversight.
Anglo-Boer War - Origins In 1885 gold was discovered in Transvaal, one of the Boer republics. Uitlanders flooded in, as did British investment. The Boers feared being swamped by the newcomers and restricted their voting rights. They also heavily taxed the gold business. Investors and British residents of the Transvaal hoped Britain would intervene.
Anglo-Boer War - Origins In 1895 a British businessman, Cecil Rhodes, financed an attempt to seize control of the Transvaal, in what came to be known as the Jameson raid. It failed, but convinced the Boers that the British would try again – possibly using the British army in Cape Colony and Natal. After all, Lord Milner, the British Governor of the Cape publicly favoured annexation.
Anglo-Boer War - Origins The Afrikaaner republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State spent heavily on modern armaments, buying mainly from Germany.
Anglo-Boer War In 1899 it looked as though the British were seeking war. The Boers struck first. On October 11, the Boers invaded Cape Colony and Natal. Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberly were encircled. The British suffered one setback after another.
Anglo-Boer War Britain called on the Empire to help. Prime Minister Laurier was torn between two impossible positions: –Support Britain and lose all support in Quebec. –Avoid committing Canada and enrage British Canada. British Canadian view of Laurier’s dithering
Anglo-Boer War Laurier had to compromise. He decided to send volunteers, providing that Britain paid their expenses. 7,000 Canadian soldiers (including 12 female nurses) served in Southern Africa over a 3 year period.
Anglo-Boer War In 1900 the tide of battle turned. British forces took control of most Boer territory. Superior British forces forced the Boers to turn to guerilla tactics. From September, 1900 to the end of the war, in may, 1902, a nasty guerilla struggle drained both sides. Three generations of Boer guerilla fighters
Anglo-Boer War The Boers threw off their uniforms and fought asymmetrical warfare. The British adopted a tactic of denying the Boers food and supplies. Blockhouses defended rail and telegraph lines.
Anglo-Boer War More controversially, the British forced Boer civilians into “Concentration Camps,” so that the countryside could be a free-fire zone for British forces and Boer farms were burned down to deny the guerillas supplies.
Anglo-Boer War Poor supply systems and the continuing war meant camp conditions were often poor. Women and children were often short of food and medicine. A report after the war concluded that 27,927 Boers and 14,154 Blacks – 25% and 14% respectively – died of starvation and exposure.
Anglo-Boer War Opposition to the war in Canada was strongest in Quebec. Henri Bourassa, a former Laurier supporter and Liberal MP, resigned over the war and was re-elected as an independent. In his newspaper “Le Devoir” he opposed the war and argued for a nationalist policy for the country.
Anglo-Boer War The war ended with the Treaty of Veeriningen. 22,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives – the majority through disease. Between 6,000 and 7,000 Boer fighters died and around 28,000 civilians. A direct result of the war was the founding of South Africa – a country that came to be dominated by the large Boer population. Jan Smuts, a former Boer commander, became Prime Minister of the Country.
The Anglo-Boer War Canadian volunteers for South Africa on board SS. Monterey ca. 1901 Canadian soldiers returned from the war, many receiving land grants in recognition of their efforts. The Thomas Nye House, in North Vancouver. Returning veterans, the Nyes were given large parcels in North Vancouver, including much of Lynn Valley.
The Anglo-Boer War The Boer war revealed how isolated Britain was in the world. Opposition to British action came from virtually all countries. German hostility was particularly strong. Britain forged an alliance with Japan to reduce her Pacific commitment. Britain sought friends elsewhere too. German Kaiser Wilhelm II – who opposed British action in South Africa
The Alaska Boundary Dispute Britain’s Commitment to Canada
The Alaska Boundary Dispute The Klondike gold rush of 1896 made the exact location of the border between B.C. and Alaska a pressing issue. This boundary and the ownership of territory along the coast had been unclear since the United States’ Alaska purchase, from Russia, in 1867. Possession of the land at the head of deep inlets would have allowed Canada access to B.C. across the Alaska panhandle.
The Alaska Boundary Dispute Canadians believed that the boundary followed the summit of the mountain ranges near the coast. The Americans claimed a line which followed the configuration of the coast but included the heads of the inlets. By moving troops to the region the American president, Teddy Roosevelt, forced the issue to a resolution.
The Alaska Boundary Dispute In 1903, an arbitration tribunal, comprised of three Americans, two Canadians and one British representative, was appointed to end the dispute. Lord Alverstone the British chief justice represented Imperial interests. Great Britain had no wish to annoy the Americans over the issue and Lord Alverstone was instructed to side with them. Lord Alverstone
The Alaska Boundary Dispute Territory gained by the United States as a result of the 1903 boundary settlement.
The Alaska Boundary Dispute The decision was heavily weighted in the American favor and Canada lost all access to the Pacific across the Alaska panhandle. What would Britain do to support Canada in future disputes with the United States? Some worried about the implications of Britain’s decision. US President Theodore Roosevelt
In 1906, Britain launched HMS Dreadnought, a new class of warship, more powerful than anything seen before. However, it also made existing British battleships obsolete. When Germany began launching similar vessels, a naval arms race followed.
Laurier’s “Tin-Pot” Navy Britain’s colonies, recognizing the need to maintain naval supremacy, committed themselves to help. Australia, and New Zealand both paid for battleships to be added to the Royal Navy. In Canada, a Naval Aid Bill was proposed by the Conservatives to send money directly to Britain – like the other colonies. Laurier’s compromise was the the Naval Service Bill of 1910 which created a small Canadian navy comprised of two ships.
Laurier’s “Tin-Pot” Navy II Laurier’s navy was intended to be placed at Britain’s disposal in time of war. English Canadians scoffed at the prospect of Canada’s navy being of much assistance to the British. French Canadians led by Henri Bourassa were outraged at the thought of Canada helping Britain in any Imperial conflict.
Borden’s Failure In the election of 1911, Wilfrid Laurier lost to Borden – in no small measure due to his lukewarm support of Britain in the Naval Arms Race. Borden proposed to build a battleship for Britain in a Canadian shipyard, and man it with Canadian sailors. Winston Churchill pointed out that no Canadian shipyard was capable of handling the job. Borden had the bill passed in the House of Commons, but the Senate rejected it, killing the project. Canada’s contribution remained puny. HMS New Zealand – a powerful big-gunned Indefatigable Class Dreadnought.
Conclusion Before World War I Canada was a colony of Great Britain. –It was self-governing internally, and could even make some decisions regarding policy. –Bigger military and foreign policy decisions were reserved for Britain
Conclusion Some Canadians wanted an independent Canada that need not risk involvement in Britain’s Imperial struggles. –Few were Anglophones. –Most were Quebecois Nationalistes.
Conclusion Most Canadians, particularly in British Ontario, were rabidly British. If there was a Canadian nationalism, it was nowhere near the mainstream in English Canada – though it might be becoming so in Francophone Quebec.
A Different Canada- Chapter 1 Do Activity Sheet 1-1 “British Empire Map” Know the timeline on page 5 Do the following Activities: -Page 9: 1-3 -Page 13: 1-4 -Page 16: 1-4