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Lower Canada

Province of Lower Canada
British colony



Map of Lower Canada (green)
Capital Quebec
Languages French, English
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Constitutional monarchy
 -  1791–1820 George III
 -  1837–1841 Victoria
Lieutenant-Governor and Executive Council of Lower Canada See list of Lieutenant-Governors
Legislature Parliament of Lower Canada
 -  Upper house Legislative Council
 -  Lower house Legislative Assembly
Historical era British Era
 -  Constitutional Act of 1791 26 December 1791
 -  Act of Union 1840 10 February 1841
 -  1839[1] 534,185 km² (206,250 sq mi)
 -  1839[1] est. 700,000 
     Density 1.3 /km²  (3.4 /sq mi)
Currency Canadian pound
Today part of  Canada
- Quebec
-  Newfoundland and Labrador

The Province of Lower Canada (French: province du Bas-Canada) was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (1791–1841). It covered the southern portion of the modern-day Province of Quebec, Canada, and the Labrador region of the modern-day Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (until the Labrador region was transferred to Newfoundland in 1809).[2]

Lower Canada consisted of part of former French colony of New France, populated mainly by French Canadians, which was ceded to Great Britain after that Empire's victory in the Seven Years' War, also called the French and Indian Wars in the United States. Other parts of New France ceded to Britain became the Colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The Province of Lower Canada was created by the "Constitutional Act of 1791" from the partition of the British colony of the Province of Quebec (1763–91) into the Province of Lower Canada and the Province of Upper Canada. The prefix "lower" in its name refers to its geographic position farther downriver from the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River than its contemporary Upper Canada, present-day southern Ontario.

The Colony/Province was abolished in 1841, when it and the adjacent Upper Canada were united into the Province of Canada.


  • Rebellion 1
  • Constitution 2
  • Population 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Like Upper Canada, there was significant political unrest. 22 years after the invasion by the Americans in the War of 1812, a rebellion now challenged the British rule of the predominantly French population. After the Patriote Rebellion in the Rebellions of 1837-1838 were crushed by the British Army and Loyal volunteers, the "1791 Constitution" was suspended on 27 March 1838 and a special council was appointed to administer the Colony. An abortive attempt by revolutionary Robert Nelson to declare a Republic of Lower Canada was quickly thwarted.

The provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada were combined as the United Province of Canada in 1841, when The Union Act of 1840 came into force. Their separate Legislatures were combined into a single Parliament with equal representation for both constituent parts, even if Lower Canada had more population.[3]


Constitution of Lower Canada in 1791
Part of a series on the
Territory of Quebec
Quebec portal

The Province of Lower Canada inherited the mixed set of French and English institutions that existed in the Province of Quebec during the 1763–91 period and which continued to exist later in Canada-East (1841–67) and ultimately in the current Province of Quebec (1867–).


Population of Lower Canada, 1806 to 1841
Year Census estimate[4]
1806 250,000
1814 335,000
1822 427,465
1825 479,288
1827 473,475
1831 553,134
1841 650,000

See also


  1. ^ a b "The emigrant's handbook of facts concerning Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Cape of Good Hope, &c". Open Library. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "LABRADOR-CANADA BOUNDARY". marianopolis. 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2008. Labrador Act, 1809. – An imperial act (49 Geo. III, cap. 27), 1809, provided for the re-annexation to Newfoundland of 'such parts of the coast of Labrador from the River St John to Hudson's Streights, and the said Island of Anticosti, and all other smaller islands so annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Proclamation of the seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three (except the said Islands of Madelaine) shall be separated from the said Government of Lower Canada, and be again re-annexed to the Government of Newfoundland.' 
  3. ^ "Canadian Encyclopedia: Act of Union". 
  4. ^ Censuses of Canada. 1665 to 1871, Statistics of Canada, Volume IV, Ottawa, 1876

Further reading

  • Robert Christie. A History of the Late Province of Lower Canada, Quebec City: T. Cary/R. Montreal: Worthington, 1848–1855 (Internet Archive: All 6 volumes)
  • François-Xavier Garneau. History of Canada : from the time of its discovery till the union year, Montreal : J. Lovell, 1860 (Internet Archive: All 3 Volumes)

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of Lower Canada at Wiktionary
  • The Canadian EncyclopediaLower Canada from

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