Red River Rebellion in Canada 1869-1870

(First Riel Rebellion)

[ 1869 - 1870 ]

When the Hudson Bay Company transferred land it owned in what is now southern Manitoba to the Canadian government in 1869, French-Canadians of Indian ancestry, called metis, feared they would lose their traditional rights to the Red River settlements in the area. Louis Riel (1844-85), of French and metis parentage, led an armed revolt and seized Fort Garry (Winnipeg) in November 1869. There the Metis set up a provisional government with Riel as president. Fighting occurred between Riel's followers and the English settlers in the region. British regulars under Colonel Garnet J. Wolseley (1833-1913) were dispatched to suppress the rebels, who gave up Fort Garry without a fight on August 24, 1870. Riel fled the country. The disputed area became part of the province of Manitoba in 1870, and many of the rights Riel demanded, such as separate French schools for the Metis, were guaranteed.

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