The Province of Lower Canada (French: Province du Bas-Canada) was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (1791–1841). It covered the southern portion of the modern-day Province of Quebec, Canada, and the Labrador region of the modern-day Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (until the Labrador region was transferred to Newfoundland in 1809).
The Province of Lower Canada was created by the Constitutional Act of 1791 from the partition of the British colony of the Province of Quebec (1763–91) into the Province of Lower Canada and the Province of Upper Canada. The prefix "lower" in its name refers to its geographic position farther downriver from the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River than its contemporary Upper Canada, present-day southern Ontario.
Lower Canada consisted of part of former French colony of New France, populated mainly by French Canadians, which was ceded to Great Britain after that empire's victory in the Seven Years' War, also called the French and Indian Wars in the United States. Other parts of New France ceded to Britain became the Colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Like Upper Canada, there was political unrest and a rebellion challenged the British rule of the predominantly French population. After the Patriote Rebellion was crushed by the British army and Loyal volunteers, the 1791 Constitution was suspended on March 27, 1838 and a special council was appointed to administer the colony.
The provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada were combined as the United Province of Canada in 1841, when The Union Act came into force. Their separate legislatures were combined into a single parliament with equal representation for both constituent parts, even if Lower Canada had more population.
Constitution of Lower Canada in 1791
The Province of Lower Canada inherited the mixed set of French and English institutions that existed in the Province of Quebec during the 1763–91 period and which continued to exist later in Canada-East (1841–67) and ultimately in the current Province of Quebec (1867–).
Population of Lower Canada, 1806 to 1841
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