The political map of Canada has undergone many changes, the last one taking place in 1949 when Newfoundland and its Labrador dependency became the tenth province.
The Dominion Government was established under the British North America Act in 1867. It was a confederation of three of the scattered British Colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the province of Canada. Since the name, Canada, was chosen for the whole country, Lower Canada and Upper Canada, respectively, became the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. In 1869, the Hudson's Bay Company relinquished its territorial rights and a government was provided for the Northwest Territories. In 1870, the province of Manitoba was established and admitted to confederation and the Northwest Territories transferred to the Dominion. In 1871, British Columbia became a province, followed by Prince Edward Island in 1873. In 1880, the Northwest Territories were enlarged to include all land to the north, over which Great Britain had any jurisdiction. After several shifts in district boundaries, the present provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were constituted in 1905. In 1912, the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec were enormously enlarged to take in all territory west of Hudson's Bay and south of 60° N. latitude and all of the territory east of the bay which was formerly known as Ungava. The boundary between Quebec and Labrador was fixed by a decision of the British Privy Council in 1927.
Newfoundland, although represented at the first discussions on Confederation in 1864, remained apart from it until after World War II when, as the result of a plebescite in 1948, it became a part of Canada in March, 1949.
The Northwest Territories, as defined in 1869 and in 1880, have undergone considerable revision apart from the area lost through provincial expansion. The district of Yukon, as it exists on present day maps, was defined in 1897 and, in 1920, the present outlines of the provisional districts of Mackenzie, Keewatin and Franklin came into force.
The consolidation of a scattered group of thinly populated British colonies into one great country has required only 82 years for its completion. Though still underpopulated and underdeveloped, its trading capacity, its proven military might in two world wars, and its political influence are far greater than might be expected of a nation of fourteen millions. Such achievements attest the wisdom of the Fathers of Confederation as well as the ability of the people.
Confederation took place in 1867, but the final delimitation of the various units took place at various times, some long before, and some, long after that date. Canada reached its most northerly extent in 1880, when given jurisdiction as far as the North Pole, but it attained its maximum area, only in 1949, with the inclusion of its most easterly province, Newfoundland.