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Today Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It has an area of almost 10 000 000 square kilometres, and is made up of ten provinces and three territories. Canada became a country in 1867, but the story of the people and the land that would become Canada is much older. Many events over the last five hundred years have shaped the way Canada looked at the time of Confederation.
In the 1500s explorers from Europe came to North America to claim lands. They realized that this land was rich in resources. Soon settlement began, with people seeking a new life in the new world. The two European countries that figured the most in North America were Britain and France. They met Aboriginal Nations that had been living for thousands of years in what is now Canada. These First Nations and Britain and France often had difficult relations. They often went to war with each other but sometimes they were friends.
When the Seven Years War ended in 1763, France had to surrender its land in North America to Britain. From this time on Britain had control of most of North America.
At the time of the war with France most of Britain's colonies in North America were in what we now call the United States. However, these thirteen colonies were angry at the way Britain had been treating them, so in 1775 they began a war with Britain for their independence. The Americans won the war and the British were forced to recognize the United States as its own country. Because of the war Britain lost much of its land, and had a bad relationship with the United States. The land left over was called British North America. This would become Canada almost 100 years later.
In the 1860s there were many British colonies in what is now Canada: British Columbia, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Province of Canada. At this time the idea of all the colonies joining to make a new country became popular. But what were the reasons behind this move towards Confederation?