Knowing 400 Years of Canada’s History helps to give a perspective on God’s providence in dealing with His people. You can spot trends and cycles of human behaviour and God’s grace and compassion on His people. History is made when… God uses PEOPLE to create EVENTS and EVENTS show up on the timelines of History.
Do you know 400 years of History? WHY should I, you ask? For Six (6) Reasons.
- BECAUSE… in the final analysis, History is God’s story. God recounts history in terms of hundreds of years.
For example, Israel was in Egypt for just over 400 years. Scripture says, ‘At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt’ (Ex. 12:41).
Daniel Chapter 2:19-45 shows how Daniel’s prophecy (the world kingdoms being destroyed by ‘the stone cut with no hands’ and the mountain growing to cover the earth) was a prediction of Christ’s first coming and setting up His everlasting kingdom in the days of the Romans about 500 years later.
2. BECAUSE in a nutshell, there were… approx. 1500 years (AD) before Francis I of France came to the throne
– about 500 years (BC) between Daniel’s prediction and Christ’s birth during the Roman Empire,
– about 500 years (AD) between the Roman Empire and the French ousting the Romans from France, and
– about 500 years (AD) before little kingdoms / duchies amalgamated under one king
– about 500 years (AD) until Francis I came to the throne of France.
3. BECAUSE in the next 200 years of French History (Between Francis I and Louis XIV ) Canada was established by the French (see the marble frieze over the left doorway of the House of Commons on this page)
It was during that period of history – between Francis I and Louis XIV– also that the worst persecution of Protestants happened. It probably compares favourably to the persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire in terms of its intensity and ferocity.
4. BECAUSE from the time of settlement of Acadia and New France under Henry IV in 1604 to the British conquest of New France in 1763 there are 159 years.
5. BECAUSE from the British conquest in 1763 to Confederation in 1867 there are 104 years.
6. BECAUSE from Confederation in 1867 to 2023 there are 156 years.
When you do the math, we are looking at 419 years from the first French settlements in Acadia and New France (1604) to 2023.
Recounting History – From God’s Perspective
Canada’s history began with the history of the French foray into Canada.
My research began in earnest while I was auditing my husband’s MDiv courses on Church History and & Reformation History in his seminary years in Pittsburgh between 2016 and 2018. I learned how Roman roads took the gospel across Europe… and to France. I heard about the Huguenots of the French Reformation, of the Counter Reformation and the Jesuit named Cardinal Richelieu. The name Richelieu sounded familiar to me because of places and buildings named after him in Quebec.
Many years before, I had heard about the French Protestants (Huguenots) who came to New France and had become curious about them. I started researching/ reading trying to figure out how Canada fitted into this hodge podge of information I had been collecting for many years. I asked myself, what is God’s story?
In 2018 I returned to Canada from Pittsburgh. Plans for the renovations of the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings were underway. I squeezed in a few last tours with others, and took many photos. In my photos, I noticed a marble frieze over the left doorway of the House of Commons. I had already gathered some history about the French in Quebec, but the image of Francis I (1515) on the left and Louis XIV (1715) gave proof of the relevance of a period of Canadian history that I had only just begun to learn about. Many have never heard about that part of our history.
This curiosity to understand how Canada fitted into the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy gave rise to the course, ‘The French Connection’, with other courses in various stages of preparation: The British Connection, The Native Connection etc.
To put our story in the context of God’s unfolding history, I needed to investigate God’s model for recording history. And I realized that God recounted the History of Israel from the time of Abraham in chunks of HUNDREDS of years.
In the books of the Kings & Chronicles He recorded history by verifiable events – factual accounts of who the rulers were in the various countries both IN Israel and SURROUNDING Israel. If you add up the years of concurrent rule of the various Kings, Israel inhabited the Promised Land for somewhere between 325 and 350 years before being scattered throughout Mesopotamia. They spent 70 years in slavery before being returned. That is just over 400 years of history.
God records history over hundreds of years and by events which people can look back at and verify thousands of years later.
For example, Scripture says, Israel was in Egypt for just over 400 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:41)
Canada… Hundreds of Years after Daniel Chapter 2.
Many Christians know the story of Nebuchadzzar’s dream & Daniel’s interpretation.
Daniel told the king his dream and its interpretation in Daniel Chapter 2: 19-45. But he also said to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 46, ‘A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
The verses which refer to Christ are: And in the days of those kings (Romans) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people.
It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold (Verses 44,45)
CHRIST CAME – He set up God’s Kingdom- a kingdom not made with hands, while the Romans built roads.
The Roman roads helped to spread the gospel because of ease of travel during persecution. Rome spread its influence across Europe to France. Remember, from Daniel’s dream, to Rome when Christ came, it is approximately 500 years. The Franks (French) defeated Rome 486 AD (Almost 500 years after Christ died).
For approximately the next 500 years France continued to appear Roman in terms of administration, language and learning with many little kingdoms. Monasteries were established as the nobility adopted Orthodox Christianity from Byzantine Rome. During that time the Franks repelled Muslim invasions under Charles Martel, various kings vied for power in the area, until Pope Pius appointed Charlemange as the unifying power over all the little kingdoms. Eventually the king from whom Francis I descended (Hugh Capet) ascends the throne in 987 (almost 1000 years after Daniel’s prophecy) .
Francis I was born in 1494 – almost 1000 yrs after the Franks defeated Rome.
It is my view that Roman rule extending into France was all in God’s Plan. That the Reformation fires would burn in France at the beginning of Francis I’s reign until Louis XIV’s reign was also part of His plan.
That Henry IV’s mother (Francis I’s niece would lead the French Reformation was also His plan. That Henry would be on the throne long enough to give the Huguenots relief from persecution so that they could explore and establish Acadia and New France, was God’s plan for Canada.
Did things turn sour in the treatment of the Natives by subsequent settlers? ABSOLUTELY!!! But God is not finished with Canada’s story as yet.
God’s View of History
It is not enough to know and recount history if it is not done from God’s perspective. In Judges 11:12-28, we read of the story of Jephthah. He was going out to defend Israel against the Ammonites. He asked them, “What do you have against me that you have attacked my country?” The king proceeded to recount how Israel took their lands (from the Arnon to the Jabbok) 300 years before and demanded that their lands be returned peaceably.
Jephthah corrected him by telling him about the wrongs they suffered under the hands of the then Amorite king and how God dealt with the injustice on behalf of Israel. He caused Israel to defeat the Amorites and gave the land (from the Arnon to the Jabbok) to His people.
The Ammonites knew their history – From Man’s Perspective.
The Israelites knew their history – From God’s Perspective.
Jephthah and his forebears had obviously been practicing the recitation of God’s goodness to Israel, as Moses recounted just before he died… 7 And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them. 8 We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. 9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do (Deut. 29: 7-9).
Timeline of Factual, Verifiable Events
- Francis I sent Cartier (1534, 1535/36, 1541/42). No permanent settlement were made.
- Henry IV sent De Tonnetuit, De Chaste, then Du Gua, Champlain, Du Monts (All French Protestants).
The first and longest standing building in Canada was built in Tadoussac in 1600.
In 1604, Pierre du Gua de Monts together with Samuel Champlain, built the first settlement in Acadia. That location is now part of Maine.
In 1605, the settlement was rebuilt in Port Royal Nova Scotia.
In 1608, Du Gua got a monopoly for fur trading in New France (Quebec City) and he put Samuel Champlain in charge of his fur trading monopoly in Quebec.
Champlain’s other responsibility was as the royal cartographer, to map out the land in an effort to find the Northwest Passage to India.
257 Years From Henry’s Assassination (1610) to Confederation (1867)
In 1610, Henry IV was assassinated. Huguenots were kicked out of the King’s court and replaced with Roman Catholic favourites. Du Gua was only able to support Champlain with goods to exchange until 1615.
- After Henry IV died, Louis XIII & Richelieu began sending Jesuit missionaries in 1625.
- Louis XIV sent Viceroys / Filles du Roi (1663-1673)
- In 1713 Britain conquered Acadia (Nova Scotia & New Brunswick)
- In 1763, the British conquered New France / Upper and Lower Canada which eventually became Ontario & Quebec
- In 1867, two of Britain’s other colonies (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) joined with Upper and Lower Canada to become the Dominion of Canada.
From 1713, with the arrival of the British, to just after 1776, other Protestant denominations arrived. This was not allowed before.
So you no longer should think of history in the abstract. From 1610-1867 257 years are represented. From 1867 to 2023 there are 156 years. When you do the math, we have 403 years of history.
So think of the PEOPLE, explore their stories and the EVENTS they triggered. Take note of the year, and observe the continuum. Explore the patterns of human behaviour. You CAN learn 400 years of history in no time… and from God’s perspective too!
We can help you explore these stories in our course on The French Connection.
May you be inspired to become curious enough to understand how you fit into the grand unfolding story of Canadian history from God’s perspective.
Author’s Note: Lynette is the owner of ChristianRoots Canada. Blogger. Publisher. Course Creator. Passionate about Canadian History from the perspective of God’s Providence.
Remember, I am NOT the last word on History. I am just a compass pointing you in the right direction. Be a Berean. Do your own research. Follow links. Challenge everything.