The Canadas

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The Canadas is the collective name for Upper Canada and Lower Canada, two British colonies in Canada. They were both created by the Constitutional Act of 1791 and abolished in 1841 with the union of Upper and Lower Canada.

Their names reflected their positions relative to the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River, the same relationship between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt:

  • Lower Canada covered the south-eastern portion of the modern-day Province of Quebec, Canada, and (until 1809) the Labrador region of the modern-day Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Upper Canada covered what is now the southern portion of the Province of Ontario in Canada, and the lands bordering Georgian Bay and Lake Superior.
  • The northern part of the current provinces of Ontario and Quebec were at this time part of Rupert's Land.


The British colony of the Province of Quebec was divided by the Constitutional Act of 1791 into two separate provinces, with the Ottawa River forming a part of the border.

The creation of Upper Canada was in response to the desire expressed by recently arrived United Empire Loyalist settlers for British institutions and laws, especially British laws of land tenure.

The political structure of the colonies was changed after Lord Durham's 1838 Report on the Affairs of British North America recommended they be merged into a single colonial province.

Lower Canada, Upper Canada and their legislatures were abolished by the British Act of Union 1840 of July 23, 1840 (which came into force in early 1841) and united as one political entity, the Province of Canada.

Current territory  ·   Former territory
* now a Commonwealth Realm  ·   now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations

18th century
1708–1757  Minorca
since 1713  Gibraltar
1763–1782  Minorca
1798–1802  Minorca

19th century
1800–1964  Malta
1807–1890  Heligoland
1809–1864  Ionian Islands

20th century
1921-1937  Irish Free State

17th century
1607–1776  Virginia
1610–1907  Newfoundland
since 1619  Bermuda
1620–1691  Plymouth Colony
1629–1691  Massachusetts Bay Colony
1632–1776  Maryland
1636–1776  Connecticut
1636–1776  Rhode Island
1637–1662  New Haven Colony
1663–1712  Carolina
1664–1776  New York
1665–1674 and 1702-1776  New Jersey
1670–1870  Rupert's Land
1674–1702  East Jersey
1674–1702  West Jersey
1680–1776  New Hampshire
1681–1776  Pennsylvania
1686–1689  Dominion of New England
1691–1776  Massachusetts

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