British Empire
Living in the British empire - North America
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Cartoon published in 1887 commenting on new railways in Canada
(HIP/Topfoto, Punch, 15 October 1887)
  • As you have seen in this case study, parts of Canada gained self-rule in the 1840s. In 1867 most Canadian regions became part of a self governing Dominion within the British Empire.
  • Although Canada was basically independent, the links with Britain remained very strong. In fact, economic ties between Britain and Canada got stronger.
  • This cartoon is commenting on the opening up of the western regions of Canada by the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is called the new North West Passage because many ships had tried to sail around the north of Canada in the past and failed because of ice. Now there was no need to try - the railway would carry goods and people across the continent.
  • British investment in railways helped Canada's economy to develop. Building railways also brought jobs for thousands of workers. This included Native Americans, who developed particular skills in working on high structures such as bridges. However, on the whole, Native Americans probably lost out as a result of railways, which brought more white settlers.
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