||A Land of Hope
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 7 Rebellion and Reform
In the early 19th century, the fur trade was in trouble. However, a new economic sector was in full bloom in Upper and Lower Canada - the lumber industry. Around 1800, England began importing wood from Canada. In 1806, when Napoleon's embargo prevented Great Britain from accessing supplies in Europe, the country increased imports from its colonies. In a few years, the lumber industry underwent major expansion in Canada. In fact, lumber drove the economy. Entire forests in the St. Lawrence valley, the Ottawa region and in New Brunswick were razed, and Quebec became a major shipbuilding center.
At the end of the Napoleonic wars, a wave of immigrants poured into Canada. Thousands left Europe in search of a better life. Nearly 30,000 immigrants, mostly from the British Isles, disembarked annually at Quebec. Since almost all the land in Lower Canada was already occupied, most immigrants undertook the long journey to Upper Canada, which was then experiencing the strongest demographic growth in the British empire.
Numbering approximately 500,000 inhabitants, Lower Canada remained the most populous colony in British North America. By this time, French Canadians had lived along the shores of the St. Lawrence and its tributaries for almost two hundred years. Demographic growth combined with scarcity of available land caused tension between inhabitants and seigneurs. The latter were less influential than they had been. They had been replaced by a new elite: the French-Canadian bourgeoisie, the most influential of whom sat in the Assembly of Lower Canada.
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