QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-03 > 1111797945
Subject: Origin of the Name Canada
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:45:45 EST
How Canada Got Its Name
The Origin of the Name Canada
The origin of the name "Canada" comes from Jacques Cartier's expedition up
the St. Lawrence River in 1535. The Iroquois pointing out the route to the
village of Stadacona, the future site of Quebec City, used the word "kanata,"
the Huron-Iroquois word for village. Jacques Cartier used the word Canada to
refer to both the settlement of Stadacona and the land surrounding it subject to
By 1547, maps were showing the name Canada applied to everything north of the
St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence River was called the "rivière du
Canada" by Cartier, and the name stuck until the 1600s.
In the 1600s, the name Canada was often used loosely to refer to New France,
and as land opened up to the west and south in the 1700s, the name Canada was
applied to what is now the American midwest and as far south as present day
Louisiana. But it was not official.
In 1791, the Constitutional Act or Canada Act divided the Province of Quebec
into two - the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two
colonies were united again, this time as the Province of Canada.
At Confederation in 1867, the British North America Act officially joined the
Province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario) with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
to become "one Dominion under the name of Canada."
Canada wasn't the only name considered for the new dominion though. Other
names suggested at the time of Confederation were
* Tuponia (The United Provinces of North America)