The Rupert’s Land Act
For 200 years, the Hudson’s Bay Company had “owned” the vast expanse of North America that drains into Hudson Bay. In 1868, Britain purchased the territory and transferred ownership to the new Dominion of Canada pursuant to the Rupert’s Land Act. It was the largest land purchase in Canadian history, comprising most of what are now the Prairie provinces and parts of northern Quebec, northern Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Canada secured a new frontier for settlement; the company received £300,000 and 20 percent of the territory’s arable land. In 1870, the transfer became official and title to Rupert’s Land (and the adjacent North West Territory) passed to Canada. The Inuit, First Nations and Métis who lived in this vast region were not consulted in the matter. The Red River Métis, who were the most immediately affected, took up arms under the leadership of Louis Riel.
Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.