A Brief History of
Canada may have been populated as early as 10,000 years ago, according to carbon-dating of remains found by archeologists. It is believed that travel between Asia and Alaska took place during an ice age when a land bridge formed through the Bering Strait. Many diverse ethnic and cultural indigenous groups formed throughout Canada, the most well-known being the Inuit Indians of the Arctic region. Other indigenous groups include the Iroquois, the Huron, the Cree, the Bella Coola, and the Kwakiutl.
The various cultures also had numerous languages and are usually grouped into common language families, from the Salish-speaking peoples of western Canada to the Iroquoian peoples of the east. Each culture also had unique social systems, ranging from bands of a few related families of the Inuit to the Iroquois Confederacy that united five separate tribes.
The American Indian population in Canada was decimated following the arrival of Europeans; in the mid-1980s they made up only 1% of the entire population. By the 1990s, however, the indigenous population had risen to 1.5%, and it is believed that this trend will continue.
Vikings are believed to have landed in Canada in the 10th century. In 1497, John Cabot reached Newfoundland and claimed for Britain a large portion of the Atlantic seaboard. Cabot was followed by French explorer Jacques Cartier, who landed at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in 1534 and claimed the Gaspe Peninsula for France. Canada's early history was dominated by the rivalry between France and Britain.
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