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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 617 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CANADIAN FORCES 77. In the earliest European settlements in Canada, the necessity of protection against Indians caused the formation of a militia, and ,in 1665 companies were raised in every parish. The military history of the Canadian forces under French rule is full of incident, and they served not only against Indian raiders but also against the troops of Great Britain and of her North American colonies. Six militia battalions took part in the defence of Quebec in 1759, and even the transfer of Canada from the French to the British crown did not cause the disbandment of the existing forces. The French Canadians distinguished themselves not less than the British settlers in the War of American Independence, and in particular in the defence' of Quebec against Montgomery and Arnold. In 1787 an ordinance was made whereby three battalions of the militia were permanently embodied, each contingent serving for two years, at the end of which time a fresh contingent relieved it, and after this a succession of laws and regulations were made with a view to complete organization of the force. The brunt of the fighting on the American frontier in the war of 1812 was borne very largely by the permanent force of three battalions and the fresh units called out, all these being militia corps. Up to 1828 a distinction had been made between the British and the French regiments: this was then abolished. The militia was again employed on active service during the disturbances of 1837, and the " Active Militia " in 1863 had grown to a strength of 25,000 men. The Fenian troubles of 1864 and 1866 caused the embodiment of the Canadian forces once more. In 1867 took place the unification of Canada, after which the whole force was completely organized on the basis of a militia act (1868). A department of Militia and Defence with a responsible minister was established, and the strength of the active militia of all arms was fixed at 40,000 rank and file. Two years later the militia furnished 6000 men to deal with the Fenian Raid of 187o, and took part in Colonel (Lord) Wolseley's Red River expedition. In 1871 a permanent force, serving the double purpose of a regular nuclgus and an instructional cadre, was organized in two troops of cavalry, two batteries of artillery and one regiment of infantry, and in 1876 the Royal Military College of Canada was founded at Kingston. In 1885 the Riel rebellion was dealt with, and the important action of Batoche won, by the militia, without assistance from regular troops. In the same year Canada contributed a force of voyageurs to the Nile expedition of Lord Wolseley; the experience of these men was admittedly of great assistance in navigating the Rapids. The militia sent contingents of all arms to serve in the South African War, 1899–1902, including " Strathcona's Horse," a special corps, recruited almost entirely from the Active Militia and the North-west Mounted Police. The latter, a permanent constabulary of mounted riflemen, was formed in 1873. After the South African War an extensive scheme of reorganization was taken in hand, the command being exercised for two years (1902–19o4)by Major-General Lord Dundonald, and subsequently by a militia council (Militia Act 1904),similar in constitution to the home Army Council. For details of the present military strength of Canada, see the article CANADA.
End of Article: CANADIAN

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