Two British North American colonies or provinces (1791–1841). Following the American War of Independence (1775–83) many loyalists to the British crown came north into the British colony of Quebec. Pressure developed among the settlers in the west for separate status, which was granted by the Constitutional Act of 1791. Quebec was divided along the Ottawa River: the eastern area, with its predominantly French population was known as Lower Canada (now Quebec); the western part was called Upper Canada (now Ontario) and adopted English common law and freehold land tenure. Government in both provinces remained in the hands of a governor appointed by the British crown, advised by an appointed executive council and a legislature consisting of an appointed upper house and a lower assembly of elected representatives, who in fact wielded little power. In both provinces movements for reform developed in the 1830s and, on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, two abortive rebellions took place led by Louis Joseph Papineau (see Papineau's Rebellion) in Lower Canada and William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada. In the wake of the Durham Report of 1838, an Act of Union was passed (1840) by the British Parliament and the two provinces united to form United Canada, with a legislature in which Canada West and Canada East enjoyed equal representation. Cabinet government directly responsible to the legislature was achieved in 1848, under Lord Elgin.
Subjects: World History — History of the Americas.