Today marks 144 years of Canadian Autonomy!
On 1 July 1867, the British North America Act went into effect, granting Canada its virtual independence (with a few strings attached.)
The Brits, having learned from the bitter pill of American independence, decided that their other North American holdings would be better managed from within as an autonomous part of the British Empire and Commonwealth (in large part, they didn’t want the trauma of being forcibly deprived of another of their North American holdings, either by internal revolt, or by outright conquest by the US, who had a very large, very experienced, and very well-equipped military machine at hand in the wake of the ending of the Civil War.) Throughout the early 1860’s, there had been growing sentiment and agitation within Canada for greater autonomy, and for once such a radical result was achieved without revoltion or warfare.
It is worth noting that what constituted Canada in 1867 was not completely what we know as Canada today; not all of Britain’s colonial holdings in North America joined in at the start. The West and some of the maritimes joined in during the 1870’s and 1880’s. In fact, the last part of Canada to join in, Labrador, did so in 1949!
So Happy Canada Day to our northern neighbors. Sometimes great things can be accomplished reasonably peacefully!
There already is a kinder, gentler America. It’s called Canada.
– Margaret Atwood