Wars of Canada

1837, 1869, 1885
Canadian government — versus — Rebels

French-Canadian Uprising — 1837      Riel's Rebellions — 1869 and 1885     


One really has to dig to find battles fought within Canada after its conquest by the British. There were in fact, two rebellions worthy of note, that involved a small amount of actual fighting. For the most part however, Canadian men who desired to do battle needed to serve His Majesty's government overseas, as they honorably did in the Boer Wars and The Great War.

French-Canadian Uprising : 1837

At the time of the French-Canadian Uprisings of 1837-38, Canada was not a unified country, but consisted of two independent provinces: French-speaking "Upper Canada" (now Quebec), and English-speaking "Lower Canada" (now Ontario). The Uprising occurred primarily in Upper Canada, but a smaller rebellion occurred the following year in lower Canada. At issue was the monarchal form of Government which in both provinces led to rule by an elite cadre of those closely associated with the British government. In the years after the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, ideals of republican self-government spread all over Europe, and naturally influenced the thinking of both upper and lower Canadians. The actual rebellions, which required the institution of marital law, were fairly easily put down, but most of the demands of the rebels were later agreed to, and as a result, Canada was reorganized with "responsible government", (the British term for a parliamentary style government), answerable to the electors, rather than the monarchy).

DateBattle Summary
Battle of St. Charles (French-Canadian Rising ) Loyalists victory
Fought 1837, between the Loyalists, under Colonel Wetherall, and the Canadian rebels. The latter were defeated.
Battle of St. Denis (French-Canadian Rising ) Rebels victory
Fought 1837, between the Canadian rebels, and a force of British and Canadian troops, under Colonel Gore. The rebels were victorious, but the results of their victory were unimportant.
Battle of St. Eustache (French-Canadian Rising ) Loyalists victory
Fought 1837, between the rebels, under Girod, and the Government troops, under Sir John Colborne. The rebels were completely defeated, and the rebellion was suppressed.

Story Links
Book Links
Growth of Canada  in  Canada: Peeps at History  by  Beatrice Home
Dominion of Canada  in  Growth of the British Empire  by  M. B. Synge

Riel's Rebellions : 1869 and 1885

Riel's Rebellion was an uprising among the Metis people of Manitoba, in reaction to problems that had arisen do to settlements in the region by white farmers. The Metis were a unique ethnic group in Canada, composed largely of peoples of mixed Indian, French, and British heritage, and their culture, although Indian-like, in most respects, also contained much European influence. Since the seventeenth century, they had occupied much of the central region of modern Canada and in 1869 resisted the settlement of the Red River region, by Scottish settlers. During these rebellions their leader Louis Riel, fled to America, and lived in Montana. He remained there until the Metis were again threatened by white Canadian settlers, disturbing their haunts in Saskatchewan. Again an armed rebellion took place. This time Riel was captured and executed.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Fish Creek (Riel's Rebellion ) Rebels victory
Fought April 24, 1885, when General Middleton, with 400 Canadians, attempted to drive the rebels, 280 strong, from a strong position near Fish Creek. After losing 50 men, Middleton withdrew. The rebels lost 29 killed and wounded.
Battle of Batoche (Riel's Rebellion ) Canadians victory
Fought May 9 to 12, 1885, when 750 Canadians under General Middleton gradually drove back and finally defeated Riel's force of half-breeds and Indians, with a loss of 224. The Canadians lost only 54 killed and wounded. Riel surrendered on the 15th.

Short Biography
Louis Riel Leader of the Metis tribes of Manitoba and Saskatchewan who fought for their rights.

Story Links
Book Links
Red River Settlement  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Louis Riel  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall