A Decade of Turbulence

The Northwest Expedition

Trouble On the Red River

A Métis, a member of Louis Riel's troops in Manitoba, in 1869

Caption: A Métis, a member of Louis Riel's troops in Manitoba, in 1869

In 1869 the government of Canada recovered vast lands from the Hudson's Bay Company in the West. The following year it created the province of Manitoba, the most populous region of which was the Red River area. No one seems to have worried about the fate of its 10,000 inhabitants, most of whom were French Canadians who had to varying degrees intermarried with Amerindians, until they sent their new lieutenant-governor back to Ottawa and proclaimed a provisional government led by their chief, Louis Riel. English Canadians in Manitoba tried twice to overthrow the Métis, who unfortunately executed one of them, Thomas Scott. When it learned the news, a furious Ontario demanded a punitive expedition to avenge Scott's death and the opening up of Manitoba to colonization and "civilization."

Additional Images

Lower Fort Garry, 1870