Essay from Concise Atlas

Territorial Extent

Canada became a federal state in 1867, occupying far less area than it does today (Territorial Evolution, 1670-2001). It attained its present limits only in 1949, with the addition of Newfoundland and the Labrador coast. In the East, Canada evolved out of Quebec and Acadia - the old core of New France, which Britain had acquired by conquest (in 1760) and by treaty (in 1763). Additional pieces date from the Treaty of Paris (in 1783), following the American Revolution. Between 1818 and 1849, as the United States expanded westward, the 49th parallel was forced on Britain, in segments, as Canada's southern boundary west of Lake of the Woods. The northwestern boundary along the 141st meridian was established by negotiations between Britain and Russia in 1825. In 1867, Alaska was purchased by the United States, and the boundary line with British Columbia became a matter of contention that was not settled until 1903.

Internally, Canada's districts and provinces were shaped and reshaped as settlement proceeded westward and northward, their administrators each time demanding larger measures of local autonomy. The last territorial challenge remaining to Canada is to work out a just solution to the land claims of the Native people (Territorial Evolution, 1670-2001).

Printed Historical Atlas of Canada source:

Concise Historical Atlas of Canada, pp. 3.