Next Episode of Canada: A People's History is
Canada: A People's History is a documentary series that tells Canada's story through the eyes of the people who lived it.
The opening episode of this 16-part documentary ranges across the continent, looking back more than 15,000 years to recount the varied history of the first occupants of the territory that would become Canada. From the rich resource of native oral history and archeology come the stories of the land's first people - how dozens of distinct societies took shape, and how they encountered a strange new people, the Europeans. Among the earliest of these epoch-making encounters is the meeting between Jacques Cartier and Donnacona, the Iroquoian chief whom Cartier first met on the Gaspé shore in 1534 and later kidnapped. Later on the Pacific coast, Nootka chief Maquinna encounters John Jewitt, the English sailor who became his captive and eventually his reluctant friend.
With the search for the Northwest Passage and the expansion of the Grand Banks fishery, the New World soon becomes a destination for permanent European colonies, in Newfoundland and along the St. Lawrence. Samuel de Champlain begins his legendary journeys, and the precarious beginnings of New France are established. It is an era of unprecedented alliances and devastating conflicts with native people, driven by the merchants' search for furs and the Jesuits' quest for souls. After a half-century of struggle, with the colony on the verge of extinction, Louis XIV takes personal control, sending French soldiers to defend the struggling outpost and eligible young women, the "filles du roi," to become their wives.
A small French settlement in New France builds a flourishing society and stakes a claim to a massive continent between 1660 and 1750. New France's populace includes shop keepers, artisans, farmers and landlords, as well as fur-trading expansionists like Governor Frontenac and his commercial partner, Robert Cavelier de La Salle, who build a network of Indian alliances and extend French trading posts to the Gulf of Mexico. But this fast-paced growth brings New France into ever more bitter conflict with the wealthier and more numerous - but less venturesome - British colonists to the south. The story culminates with the heartrending deportation of more than 10,000 French Catholic Acadians as the struggle to possess North America enters its final, decisive phase.
A period of a little more than two decades in the mid-18th century changes the destiny of North America. England and France battle each other in the Seven Years' War, a conflict that begins as a clash between les Canadiens and land-hungry American settlers in the Ohio Valley and becomes a world war that engulfs the continent. Fortress Louisbourg, symbol of the French empire, is the target of 27,000 soldiers and sailors in the greatest naval invasion in North America's history. In 1759, General James Wolfe leads the assault against Quebec but the citadel withstands a devastating siege and bombardment. With winter soon arriving, Wolfe forces the commander of the French troops, Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, into one last desperate encounter. The battle for North America unfolds on an abandoned farmer's field, the Plains of Abraham, just outside the city's walls. When war ends in 1763, 70,000 French colonists come under British rule, setting in motion the ever-evolving French-English dynamic in Canada.
At the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775, American rebels invade Canada but despite the efforts of rebel spies to entice Quebec to join the revolution, les Canadiens refuse to take up arms against British rule, and the invasion ultimately fails. The mass migration of Loyalists that follows - more than 40,000 people in all - creates an English-speaking Canada virtually overnight. Over the next 30 years, the colony continues to develop. When the next American invaders arrive in 1812, they are fought to a stand-still at the battles of Queenston Heights, Chateauguay and Lundy's Lane, setting boundaries that remain today. The cast of characters includes the audacious military commanders General Isaac Brock and Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry; Hannah Ingraham and her dispossessed Loyalist family; Benedict Arnold, the notorious traitor to the American Revolution; visionary Indian leader Tecumseh; Pierre Bédard, brilliant tactician of an emerging colonial democracy; and Canadian traitors who are publicly executed near Hamilton, Ontario.
Looks like something went completely wrong!
But don't worry - it can happen to the best of us,
- and it just happened to you.
Please try again later or contact us.