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HIST 1121: Canadian History to 1867

Students are provided a general chronological overview of Canadian history in the pre-Confederation era, including an introduction to major political, economic, and social events and developments that shaped Canada in that period. Students explore such themes as the relationship between European and First Nations populations; French-English relations; the changing relationship between colonies and their mother countries; the changing structure of the economy; the growth of political, economic, and social institutions; and, at the end of this period, the Confederation of the British North American colonies into one political unit, Canada.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and analyze the major events and issues in pre-Confederation Canadian history.
  • Compare historians' views about these major events and issues.
  • Analyze the effects of the contact with the Europeans upon native people and characterize the European-native relationship in pre-Confederation Canada.
  • Explain the origins of French-English conflict in Canada and analyse the evolution of this conflict up to 1867.
  • Explain the growth of political, social, and economic institutions in New France and British North America.
  • Characterize the nature of the relationship between colonies and their mother countries.
  • Comment on the role of gender and the relationship between men and women in shaping the development of pre-Confederation Canada.
  • Analyze the growth of the diverse provincial societies and explain how they were able to join together in Confederation in 1867.

Course topics

HIST 1121: Canadian History to 1867 includes the following fourteen units:

Unit One: Approaches to Canadian History

Unit Two: Aboriginal Canada before Contact

Unit Three: Europe in the Age of Contact

Unit Four: The Beginnings of New France

Unit Five: First Peoples and Second Peoples

Unit Six: Conflict, Conquest, and Consequences

Unit Seven: British North America in the Age of Revolution (1763-1818)

Unit Eight: Rupert's Land and the Northern Plains: Western Encounters

Unit Nine: The Economy of BNA, 1818-1867

Unit Ten: The British North Americans to 1867

Unit Eleven: Toryism, Reform, Rebellion, and Responsible Government

Unit Twelve: Shadow Histories

Unit Thirteen: West of the Rockies, East of the Pacific

Unit Fourteen: Confederation

Required text and materials

Belshaw, John Douglas. Canadian History: Pre-Confederation. Vancouver: BCcampus, 2015.
Type: Textbook.

The textbook for this course is offered for free online at the BCcampus website. You can read it in your internet browser window, or download it in a number of e-book file formats.

If you prefer a print version of the textbook, you may print the readings on your own computer or purchase a printed copy of the textbook from BCcampus at

Additional requirements

Computer with Internet access.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final mandatory examination and 50% overall. It is recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the course. The total mark will be determined on the following basis:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 20%
Assignment 4 25%
Final exam * 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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