Canada Before Confederation

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 1113
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 1113, Canada Before Confederation, examines political, social, cultural, and economic themes in the history of Canada from pre-contact Indigenous societies to Confederation in 1867. Topics include the changing lives of Indigenous peoples; European exploration; the fur trade; political and economic evolution in New France and British North America; colonialism and patterns of settlement and immigration; social reform and the impact of education and religion; gender roles and family structures; imperialism, transnational and transborder influences and policies; and the emergence of regional and national cultures.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

1. Indigenous North America to 1491

2. Indigenous Peoples, Contact, and European Exploration

3. Indigenous Peoples, Missionization, and Settler Society in New France

4. Les Canadiens et Les Acadiens

5. The Anglo-French Struggle for the Continent

6. The Aftermath: Revolutions and Resistance

7. Loyalists and Colonists

8. Immigrants and Settlers in British North America

9. The Rebellions of 1837, Responsible Government, and Union of the Canadas

10. Social and Cultural Life in British North America

11. The Land Based Fur Trade, Métis Peoples and the Northwest

12. The Maritime Based Fur Trade and the Settling of British Columbia

13. Politics and Economics in mid-nineteenth-century British North America

14. Federation to Confederation

Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation, In-Class Work 15%

Seminar Presentation 15%

Primary Document Analyses 20%

Reading Notes / Reading Journals 15%

Research Essay or Research Project 15%

Midterm Exam 15%

Final Exam 20%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Bumsted, J. M. The Peoples of Canada: A Pre-Confederation History. 4th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Ducharme, Michel, Damien-Claude Belanger, and J. M. Bumsted, eds. Interpreting Canada’s Past: A Pre-Confederation Reader. 5th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Conrad, Margaret, Alvin Finkel, and David Fyson. History of the Canadian Peoples. Vol. 1, Beginnings to 1867. 6th ed. Toronto: Pearson Longman, 2015.

Thorner, Thomas, ed. “A Few Acres of Snow”: Documents in Pre-Confederation Canadian History. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Wardhaugh, Robert, et. al. Origins: Canadian History to Confederation. 8th ed. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2018.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 1113
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 101 (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 224 (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO HIST 110 (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HIST 110 (3)
Coquitlam College (COQU) COQU HIST 101 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 1113 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 1116 (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 112 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 101 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 1120 (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 135 (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 112 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) DOUG HIST 1113 (3) & DOUG HIST 1114 (3) = UBCV HIST 235 (3) & UBCV HIST 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 210 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 101 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 230A (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 111 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023

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New Westminster - North Bldg.
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