Chronology of Canadian Military History Canadian Military History, Colonial Period, New France, First Peoples, Seven Years War, French Indian War Canadian Military History, British North America, American Invasion, War of 1812, Dominion of Canada, Riel Rebellion, South African War Canadian Military History, World War 1 History, 1914-1918, Canadian Armed Forces, conscription Canadian Military History, World War 2, 1939-1945, Battle of the Atlantic, conscription, invasion, Dday, Normandy, Germany, axis, allies, Hong Kong, Dieppe 1946-today
Canada within the Empire
NAC/ANC C-18,737
British North America
The War of 1812: Invasion Repelled
The War of 1812: Canada Saved
Fortifying Canada
Rebellions in the Canadas
The Fenian Raids
Confederation and Expansion
Creating a Standing Army
Developing the Canadian Nation
The Northwest Campaign
Canada and Imperialism
The South African War
Military Reform



Canada organized permanent militia units and repelled raids by the American-based Fenian Brotherhood.

In 1855, Canada passed a Militia Act creating cavalry, infantry, and artillery units, made up of volunteer, part-time soldiers. Strained Anglo-American relations during the American Civil War (1861-65) led Britain to send 11,000 troops to protect its North American colonies.

Following the Civil War, the Fenian Brotherhood, largely composed of Irish-American veterans, sought to achieve Ireland’s independence from Britain by capturing Canada as a hostage. Between 1866 and 1871, they raided Canadian territory from New Brunswick to Manitoba. During the largest raid, in June 1866 along the Niagara frontier, the Fenians defeated a small Canadian force at Ridgeway. The Fenians returned to the United States before Canadian and British reinforcements arrived. Every other Fenian raid ended in failure, and the movement collapsed after 1871.

Fenian Brotherhood, Militia Act

NAC/ANC C- 18,737

Canadian War Museum
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