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MANITOBA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 585 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MANITOBA, one of the western provinces of the Dominion of Canada, situated midway between the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts of the Dominion, about 1090 m. due west of Quebec. It is bounded S. by the parallel 49° N., which divides it from the United States; W. by rot° 2o' W.; N. by 52° 5o' N.; and E. by the western boundary of Ontario. Manitoba formerly belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company, and after the transfer of its territory to Canada was admitted in 187o as the fifth province of the Dominion. At that time the infant province had an area of 13,500 sq. M., and some 12,000 people, chiefly Indian half-breeds. In 1881 the limits were increased as above, and the province now contains upwards of 73,956 sq. m., extending 264 M. from north to south and upwards of 300 from east to west. The old district of Assiniboia, the result of the efforts in colonization by the earl of Selkirk in 1811 and succeeding years, was the nucleus of the province. The name Manitoba sprang from the union of two Indian words, Manito (the Great Spirit), and Waba (the " narrows " of the lake, which may readily be seen on the map). This well-known strait was a sacred place to the Crees and Saulteaux, who, impressed by the weird sound made by the wind as it rushed through the narrows, as simple children of the prairies called them Manito-Waba, or the " Great Spirit's narrows. The name, arising from this unusual sound, has been by metonymy translated into " God's Voice." The word was afterwards contracted into its present form. As there is no accent in Indian words, the natural pronunciation of this name would be Man-i-to-ha. On this account, the custom of both the French and English people of the country was for years before and for several years after 187o to pronounce it Man-i-to-ba, and even in some cases to spell it " Manitobah." After the formation of the province and the familiar use of the provincial name in the Dominion parliament, where it has occupied much attention for a generation, the pronunciation has changed, so that the province is universally known from ocean to ocean as Man-i-to-bi . Physical Features.—The drainage of Manitoba is entirely north-eastward to Hudson Bay. The three lakes—whose greatest lengths are 26o, 122 and 119 M. respectively—are Winnipeg, Winnipegosis and Manitoba. They are all of irregular shape, but average respectively 3o, 18 and 10 m. in width. They are fresh, shallow and tideless. Winnipegosis and Manitoba at high water, in spring-time, discharge their overflow through small streams into Winnipeg. The chief rivers emptying into Lake Winnipeg are the Winnipeg, the Red and the Saskatchewan. The Assiniboine river enters the Red river 45 m. from Lake Winnipeg, and at the confluence of the rivers The Forks ") is situated the city of Winnipeg. The Winnipeg, which flows from the territory lying south-east of Lake Winnipeg, is a noble river some 200 m. long, which after leaving Lake of the Woods dashes with its clear water over many cascades, and traverses very beautiful scenery. At its falls from Lake of the Woods is one of the greatest and most easily utilized water-powers in the world, and from falls lower down the river electric power for the city of Winnipeg is obtained. The Red river is at intervals subject to freshets. In a century's experience of the Selkirk colonists there have been four " floods." The highest level of the site of the city of Winnipeg is said to have been under 5 ft. of water for several weeks in May and June in 1826, and 21 ft. in 1852, not covered in 1861; only the lowest levels were under water in 1882. The extent of overflow has thus on each occasion been less. The loose soil on the banks of the river is every year carried away in great masses, and the channel has so widened as to render the recurrence of an overflow unlikely, The Saskatchewan, though not in the province, empties into Lake Winnipeg less than half a degree from the northern boundary, It is a mighty river, rising in the Rocky Mountains, and crossing - eighteen degrees of longitude. Near its mouth are the Grand Rapids. Above these steamers ply to Fort Edmonton, a point upwards of 800 m. north-west of the city of Winnipeg. Steamers run from Grand Rapids, through Lake Winnipeg, up Red river to the city of Winnipeg, important locks having been constructed on the river at St Andrews. The surface of Manitoba is somewhat level and monotonous. It is chiefly a prairie region, with treeless plains of from 5 to 40 M.extent, covered in summer with an exuberant vegetable growth, which dies every year. The river banks, however, are fringed with trees, and in the more undulating lands the timber belts vary from a few hundreds of yards to 5 or io m. in width, forming at times forests of no inconsiderable size. The chief trees of the country are the aspen (Populus tremuloides), the ash-leaved maple (Negundo aceroides), oak (Quercus Alba), elm (Ulmus Americana), and many varieties of willow. The strawberry, raspberry, currant, plum, cherry and grape are indigenous. Climate.—The climate of Manitoba, being that of a region of wide extent and of similar conditions, is not subject to frequent variations. Winter, with cold but clear and bracing weather, usually sets in about the middle of November, and ends with March. In April and May the rivers have opened, the snow has disappeared, and the opportunity has been afforded the farmer of sowing his grain. June is often wet, but most favourable for the springing crops; July and August are warm, but, excepting two or three days at a time, not uncomfortably so; while the autumn weeks of late August and September are very pleasant. Harvest generally extends from the middle of August to near the end of September. The chief crops of the farmer are wheat (which from its flinty hardness and full kernel is the specialty of the Canadian north-west), oats, barley and pease. Hay is made of the native prairie grasses, which grow luxuriantly. From the richness and mellowness of the soil potatoes and all tap-roots reach a great size. Heavy dews in summer give the needed moisture after the rains of June have ceased. The traveller and farmer are at times annoyed by the mosquito. Area and Population.—The area is 73,956 sq. M., of which 64,066 are land and 9890 water. Pop. (1871), 18,995; (1881), 62,26o; (1891), 152,506; (1901), 254,947 (138,332 males, 116,615 females); (1906), 365,688 (205,183 males and 160,505 females). The principal cities and towns are: Winnipeg (90,153), Brandon (10,408), Portage la Prairie (51o6), St Boniface (5119), West Selkirk (2701), and Morden (1437). In 1901, 49,102 families inhabited 48,415 houses, and the proportion of the urban population to the rural was 27.5 to 72.5. Classified according to place of birth, the principal nationalities were as follows in 19o1: Canada, 180,853; England, 20,392; Scotland, 8099; Ireland, 4537; other British possessions, 490; Germany, 2291; Iceland, 5403; Austria, 11,570; Russia and Poland, 8854; Scandinavia, 1772; United States, 6922; other countries, 4028. In -1901 the Indians numbered 5827; half-breeds, 10,372. Of the Indian half-breeds, one half are of English-speaking parentage, and chiefly of Orkney origin; the remainder are known as Metis or Bois-brules, and are descended from French-Canadian voyageurs. In 1875 a number of Russian Mennonites (descendants of the Anabaptists of the Reformation) came to the ' English NIilei O ]O ]O 3O q!l 5O '.2' —«. country. They originally emigrated from Germany to the plains of southern Russia, but came over to Manitoba to escape the conscription. They number upwards of 15,000. About 4000 French Canadians, who had emigrated from Quebec to the United States, have also made the province their home, as well as Icelanders now numbering 20,000. During the decade ending 1907 large reserves were settled with Ruthenians often known as Galicians, Poles and other peoples from central and northern Europe. Some 30,000 of these are found in the province. The remainder of the population is chiefly made up of English-speaking people from the. other provinces of the Dominion, from the United States, from England and Scotland and the north of Ireland. Religion.—Classified according to religion, the various de-nominations were, in Igor, as follows: Presbyterians, 65,310; Episcopalians, 44,874; Methodists, 49,909; Roman Catholics, 35,622; Baptists, 9098; Lutherans, 16,473; Mennonites, 15,222; Greek Catholics, 7898; other denominations, 9903; not specified, 638. Government.—The province is under a lieutenant-governor, appointed for a term of five years, with an executive council of srx members, responsible to the local legislature, which consists of forty-two members. It has four members in the Canadian Senate and ten in the House of Commons. Education.—The dual system of education, established in 1871, was abolished in 189Q, and the administrative machinery consolidated under a minister of the Crown and an advisory board. This act was amended in 1897 to meet the wishes of the Roman Catholic minority, but separate schools were not re-established; nor was the council divided into denominational committees. There are collegiate institutes for more advanced education at Winnipeg, Brandon and Portage la Prairie, with a total of 1094 pupils enrolled. There is also a normal school at Winnipeg for the training of teachers. Higher education is represented by the provincial university, which teaches science and mathematics, holds examinations, distributes scholarships, and grants degrees in all subjects. It has affiliated to it colleges of the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Methodist denominations, with medical and pharmaceutical colleges. The arts colleges of the churches carry on the several courses required by the university, and send their students to the examinations of the university. A well-equipped agricultural college near Winnipeg is provided for sons and daughters of farmers. Agriculture is the prevailing industry of Manitoba. Dairy-farming is rapidly increasing in importance, and creameries for the manufacture of butter and cheese are established in almost all parts of the province. Large numbers of horses, cattle, swine and poultry are reared. The growth of cereals is the largest department of agriculture followed. The following statistics are interesting: The enormous development of the wheat-growing industry shown by these and the following statistics: Wheat inspected in Winnipeg. 1883. 189o. 1894. 1901. Bushels. Bushels. Bushels. Bushels. Wheat . . 5,686,355 14,665,769 17,172,883 50,502,085 Oats . 9,478,965 9,513,443 11,907,854 27,796,588 Barley 1,898,40 2,069,415 2,981,716 6,536,155 Flax No statistics collected. 366,000 266,420 Rye . . „ „ 59,924 62,261 Peas 18,434 16,349 Potatoes . 2,035,336 4,797,433 Other roots 1,841,942 2,925,362 1902 51,833,000 bushels 1903 40,396,650 1904 39,784,900 1905 55,849,840 1906 66,636,390 585 maintains an experimental farm of 67o acres at Brandon. The fisheries are all fresh-water, principally white-fish, pickerel and pike. Large quantities of fresh fish caught in lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba are exported to all parts of the United States. Communications.—The region of the Red River and Assiniboine valleys was opened up by the fur traders, who came by the water-ways from Lake Superior, and afterwards by the water communication with Hudson Bay. While these early traders used the canoe and the York boat,' yet the steam-boat played an important part in the early history of the region from L868 till 1885, when access from the United States was gained by steamers down the Red River. The completion of the St Andrew's Rapids canal on Red River, and the Grand Rapids canal on the Saskatchewan river will again give an impetus to inland navigation on the tributaries of Lake Winnipeg. Lake Manitoba also affords opportunity for inland shipping. The broad expanse of prairie-land in the western provinces of Canada is well suited for the cheap and expeditious building of railways. The first connexion with the United States was by two railways coming down the Red River valley. But the desire for Canadian unity led the Dominion to assist a transcontinental line connecting Manitoba with eastern Canada. The building of the Canadian Pacific railway through almost continuous rocks for 800 miles was one of the greatest engineering feats of modern times. Immediately on the formation of the Canadian Pacific railway company branch lines were begun at Winnipeg and there are eight radial lines running from this centre to all parts of the country. Winnipeg is thus connected with Montreal on the east, and Vancouver on the west, and is the central point of the Canadian Pacific system, having railway yards and equipment equalled by few places in America. In opposition to the Canadian Pacific railway a southern line was built from Winnipeg to the American boundary. This fell into the hands of the Northern Pacific railway, but was purchased by the promoters of the Canadian Northern railway. This railway has six radiating lines leaving the city of Winnipeg, and its main line connects Port Arthur on Lake Superior with Edmonton in the west. The Canadian Northern railway has a remarkable network of railways connecting Winnipeg with every corner of Manitoba. The Great Northern railway has also three branch lines in Manitoba and one of these has Winnipeg as its terminus. The grand Trunk Pacific railway, the great transcontinental line promoted by the Laurier government, passes through Manitoba north of the Canadian Pacific, coming from the east deflects southward to pass through Winnipeg, and then strikes northward in a direct line of easy gradients to find its way through the Rocky Mountains to its terminus of Prince Rupert on the north coast of British Columbia. History.—The first white settlement in Manitoba was made by Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye (d. 1749), who, gradually pushing westward from Lake Superior, reached Lake Winnipeg in 1733, and in the following year built a fort not far from the present Fort Alexander. In October 1738 he built another at Fort Rouge, at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, where is now the city of Winnipeg. After the British conquest of 1763 the west became the scene of a rapidly increasing fur trade, and for many years there was keen rivalry between the Hudson's Bay Company, with its headquarters in England, and the North-West Company of Montreal. French and Scottish farmers and fur-traders gradually settled along the Red River, and by their frequent marriages with the Indians produced a race of metis or half-breeds. From 1811 to 1818 Lord Selkirk's attempted colonization greatly increased the population; from the time of his failure till 1869 the settlers lived quietly under the mild rule of the Hudson's Bay Company. In that year the newly formed Dominion of Canada bought from the company its territorial and political rights. A too hasty occupation by Canadian officials and settlers led to the rebellion of the Metis under Louis Riel, a native leader. The rebellion was quieted and Sir Garnet Wolseley (now Lord Wolseley) was sent from Canada by the lake route, with several regiments of troops—regulars and volunteers. The Manitoba Act constituting the province is was passed by the Canadian parliament in 187o. (See RED
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