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Canadian military tradition can be traced back to the 17th century
with the "Beaver Wars" or "Iroquois Wars" which were part of
"King William's War" (1688-1699). This first intercolonial war
between the French and English in North America saw the rise
of Canadian militias. One of the very first battles occurred
in 1689 when soldiers from the French Carignan-Salieres
regiment and militia units fought the Mohawks at Courcelles,
New France following the Lachine Massacre.
The next series of battles were part of the French and Indian wars
which pitted the colonies of British America against those of
New France during the mid 1750's. At the 1763 peace conference
the British received the territories of Canada from France and Florida
from Spain. This also opened up the westward expansion of the American colonies.
The American revolution of 1775-1783 saw the expulsion of British troops and United Empire Loyalists and their families to Canada. These same soldiers and militia units came to the defense of Upper and Lower Canada during the War of 1812.
The short-lived 1837 rebellion marked yet another series of military actions.
The incursions of American military forces came to an end with the Anglo-Canadian victory over the Fenian Brotherhood raiders between 1866-1871.
The 2nd Boer War (1899-1902) was Canada's first foreign war in South Africa. This war was the first time Canadian troops distinguished themselves in battle overseas. Although only 270 Canadians died in South Africa, it sparked a sense that Canada could stand apart from the British Empire but it did expose the French-English divide in our citizens.
The 20th century saw Canadian forces involved in the First and Second War, the Korean war, Afghanistan and Peacekeeping around the globe. We currently have military forces fighting against ISIL in the middle east. Canadian men also died (1500+) during the unsanctioned participation in the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939) and the Vietnam War ( 30,000 volunteers). During the October Crisis of 1970 in Quebec, Canadian forces were sent to restore calm following the actions of the FLQ. At the end of the Vietnam conflict in 1973 Canada contributed peacekeeping forces after the Paris Accords to that area too.
The Canadian military is owed a large measure of gratitude by us all.
Lest We Forget
The Fighting Canadians makes a good source book for the history of Canadian regiments. Published in 2008 it is still available through Amazon.
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