Saskatchewan History

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

This information can help you determine significant culture, ecclesiastical, and political events in the history of Saskatchewan. You will need some understanding of the historical events that affected your family and the records about them. Learning about wars, governments, laws, migrations, and religious trends may help you understand political boundaries, family movements, and settlement patterns. Records of these events, such as land and military documents, may mention your family.

Your ancestors’ lives will be more interesting if you learn about the history they may have been part of. For example, in a history you might learn about the events that occurred the year your great-grandparents were married.

History[edit | edit source]

The first permanent European settlement was a Hudson's Bay Company post at Cumberland House, founded in 1774 by Samuel Hearne. In 1762 the south of the province was part of the Spanish Louisiana until 1802.
In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase transferred from France to the United States part of what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1818 it was ceded to the United Kingdom. Most of what is now Saskatchewan, was part of Rupert's Land and controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company. A seminal event in the history of what was to become Western Canada was the 1874 "March West" of the federal government's new North-West Mounted Police. Despite poor equipment and lack of provisions, the men on the march persevered and established a federal presence in the new territory.
The population grew and on September 1, 1905, Saskatchewan became a province, with inauguration day held September 4. The Dominion Lands Act permitted settlers to acquire one quarter of a square mile of land to homestead and offered an additional quarter upon establishing a homestead.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 1524-1529: All lands to the west in this continent are referred to as Nova Franca or Nova Gallia (New Gaul) on early maps.
  • 1668 Rupert's Land Act.[1]
  • 1670: Today’s Saskatchewan was a part of the territory given to the Hudson’s Bay Company. The early history of this province was linked closely to the fur trade.
  • 1754: Anthony Henday explored the Saskatchewan River.
  • 1763 Proclamation of 1763 gives the lands of the northwest to Quebec.
  • 1774: Cumberland House, the first trading post, was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
  • 1775: Île-à-la-Crosse is established.
  • 1783 Treaty of Versailles establishes new Canada-United States border.
  • 1792-1794 Peter Fidler explored and maps the Athabasca River and the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan River for the Hudson's Bay Company.
  • 1794: Jay's treaty negotiates United States - Canada border.
  • 1821: North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company were united.
  • 1846 Treaty of Oregon establishes 49th parallel as United States-Canaeda boundary in the plains region (southern Saskatchewan).
  • 1857-1860 Palliser, and Hind surveyed the southern prairie region for the Imperial Government defines the Palliser Triangle.[2][3][4]
  • 1870: July 15, 18709, Rupert’s Land was bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory organized into the North-West Territories.
  • 1870' Manitoba Act sees migraton of Métis to Saskatchewan area to claim lands.
  • 1871 Treaty 2 signed with Moose Mountan First Nations Saulteaux.
  • 1872 Canadian Pacific Act and Canada's Homestead Act- Dominion Lands Act: passed affecting transfer of land sales.
  • 1873 Fort Livingstone capital of the North West Territories.
  • 1873 Cypress Hills Massacre.
  • 1875: The North-West Territories were re-organized under the federal government.
  • 1876 Treaty 6 is signed with First Nations.[5]
  • 1878 Battleford the new capital of the North West Territories.
  • 1879 John Macoun exploration expedition claims southern Saskatchewan suitable for agriculture.[6]
  • 1882: The southern region of the North-West Territories was divided into four districts; three were named Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and Athabaska (or Athabasca). These provisional districts covered the area of today’s Saskatchewan with different boundaries to the east and west than the current province.[7][8]
  • 1884: Local improvement districts (LIDs) form to provide municipal infrastructure and fire guard services.
  • 1882: North West Mounted Police were headquartered at Regina.
  • 1885: The Northwest Rebellion outbreak was headed by Louis Riel.[9]
  • 1885: The Canadian Pacific Railroad was completed. Many immigrants began to settle in southern Saskatchewan.
  • 1897: Rural municipalities RMs are replacing local improvement districts, LIDs
  • 1899: More than seven thousand Doukhobors from the Crimea immigrated into southern Saskatchewan.
  • 1905: The Province of Saskatchewan was formed as part of the Dominion of Canada, Regina is named the capital city (the following year the "North-West Territories become the Northwest Territories without a hyphen). [10]
  • 1907: University of Saskatchewan was founded in Saskatoon. [11]
  • 1930: Saskatchewan acquired control over its natural resources.
  • 1932-33: The CCF Party was formed.[12]
  • 1946: The first public hospitalization plan in Canada was enacted in Saskatchewan.
  • 1956: Uranium was developed at Lake Athabasca.

Historical Sources[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has some published national, provincial, and local histories. See the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search under:

  • A Short History of Canada [13]
  • The Atlantic Provinces: The Emergence of Colonial Society, 1712–1857 [14]

Canadian Sources[edit | edit source]

Encyclopedias also include excellent articles on the history of Canada. Many books and articles on Canadian history are listed in these annotated bibliographies:

  • A Reader's Guide to Canadian History. I. Beginnings to Confederation. [15]
  • A Reader's Guide to Canadian History. II. Confederation to the Present. [16]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are some of the most valuable sources for family history research. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of early settlers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search.

Published histories of towns, counties, districts or other municipalities, and provinces often contain accounts of families. Many district, county, and town histories include sections or volumes of biographical information. These may give information on as many as half of the families in the area. A county history is also the best source of information about a county’s origin.

The Family History Library has about 300 district histories from the Prairie Provinces and fewer township and county histories from the rest of Canada. Similar histories are often at major Canadian public and university libraries and archives.

Bibliographies that list histories for some provinces are in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan GenWeb - Historical Timeline 16-Dec-2004. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  2. Hind, Henry Youle. dq=saskatchewan+historyhl=en sa=X ei=ZXMyUeDSIvDyyAHdloBI redir_esc=y#v=onepageq=saskatchewan%20historyf=false North-west territory: Reports of progress; together with a preliminary and general report on the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan exploring expedition, made under instructions from the provincial secretary, Canada. Publisher Printed by J. Lovell, 1859. Canada. Provincial secretary's office. Digitized by Google Books 20 Sep 2007. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  3. McInnis, Amy. The story of Palliser’s Triangle, the structf Saskatchewan soils, the realityofSaskatchewan weatherPrepared by Amy McInnis, May 2004, for the Winning the Prairie Gamble exhibit, North Battleford WDM.fckLR Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  4. Palliser, John. Papers relative to the exploration by Captain Palliser of that portion of British North America which lies between the northern branch of the River Saskatchewan and the frontier of the United States; and between the Red River and Rocky Mountains: presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty, June 1859. Issue 39119 of CIHM/ICMH Microfiche series. Command papers Great Britain. Parliament. Issue 39119 of CIHM/ICMH collection de microfiches. John Palliser. Publisher G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode, 1859.Original from Harvard University. Digitized 7 Oct 2008. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  5. Saskatchewan Timeline 1905-2005 Saskatoon Public School Online Learning Centre. OLC SPSD. February 26, 2008. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  6. Winkel, James. Exploration Trails Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center University of Regina. 2006. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  7. Fung, K.I. et al editors. Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millenium and 1969 Edition selected maps showing the evolution of Saskatchewan and ethnic bloc settlements. re-published online Julia Adamson at Saskatchewan Gen Web. 17-Jun-2001
  8. Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Web Project Maps Date accessed 21 Nov 2018.
  9. Sskatchewan Timeline - Sasktchewan History World Atlas. Graphic Maps. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  10. History of the Name of the Northwest Territories Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. PWNHC. March 8, 2009. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  11. Hall, David J. North-West Territories 1870-1905 - The Canadian Encyclopedia 2012. Historica-Dominion. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  12. Saskatchewan History - Centennial Timeline 1905-2005 Saskatchewan Archives Board. Saskatchewan Government. March 2, 2013. Date accessed March 3, 2013.
  13. Morton, Desmond. A Short History of Canada. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1983. FHL book 971 H2md.)
  14. MacNutt, W. S. The Atlantic Provinces: The Emergence of Colonial Society, 1712–1857. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1965. (FHL book 971.5 H2mws.)
  15. Muise, D. A., ed. A Reader's Guide to Canadian History. I. Beginnings to Confederation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. (FHL book 971 H23r v. 1)
  16. Granatstein, J. L., and Paul Stevens, eds. A Reader's Guide to Canadian History. II. Confederation to the Present. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. (FHL book 971 H23r v. 2)