1497 - Italian-born navigator John Cabot reaches the coasts of Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

1855: Settlement of Bytown rechristened Ottawa

1534 - Jacques Cartier explores the St Lawrence river, claims the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence for France.

1583 - Newfoundland becomes England's first overseas colony.

1600s - Fur trade rivalry between the French, English and Dutch; the Europeans exploit existing rivalries between Indian nations to form alliances.

1627 - Company of New France established to govern and exploit "New France" - France's North American colonies.

1670 - Hudson's Bay Company established by London traders. The company holds trading rights for regions whose rivers drain into Hudson Bay.

1701 - Thirty-eight Indian nations sign a peace treaty near Montreal with the French, ending 20 years of diplomacy.

1756 - Seven Years' War begins, between New France and the larger and economically-stronger British colonies. After early French successes, the settlement of Quebec falls in 1759 and the British advance on Montreal.

1763 - Under the Treaty of Paris, Britain acquires all French colonies east of the Mississippi including New France, which becomes the colony of Quebec.

1774 - The Quebec Act recognises the French language and the Roman Catholic religion in the colony.

1776 onwards - Loyalist refugees from the American War of Independence settle in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario.


Vancouver[Named after British explorer George Vancouver


1783 - Fur traders in Montreal set up the North West Company. The company builds up a network of trading posts across the west and north; its expeditions reach the Pacific coast.

1791 - Quebec divided into Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present-day Ontario).

1800s - Immigration picks up. Thousands of newcomers from England, Scotland and Ireland arrive each year.

1812-14 - War of 1812 between the US and Britain, largely over the effects on the US of British blockades of French ports. Action includes naval battles in the Great Lakes and a US attack on York (present-day Toronto). But the US fails to realise its plans to invade Canada.

1821 - Hudson's Bay Company and North West Company merge, after years of bitter rivalry descend into bloodshed.

1841 - Formation of the United Province of Canada reunites Canada East (Lower) and Canada West (Upper) Canada.

1867 - British North America Act unites Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the Dominion of Canada.

1870 - Manitoba becomes fifth province, followed by British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

1885 - Canadian Pacific railroad is completed.

1898 - Gold rush along the upper Yukon River; Yukon Territory given separate status.

1905 - Alberta and Saskatchewan become provinces of Canada.

1914 - Outbreak of World War I. Canada fights on the side of Britain and France. Some French-speaking Canadians are wary of the move.

Autonomy from Britain

1931 - Statute of Westminster grants British dominions complete autonomy.