The History of Ontario covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Before the arrival of Europeans, the region was inhabited both by Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes, a French explorer Étienne Brûlé explored part of the area in 1610–12. Permanent French settlement was hampered by their hostilities with the Iroquois five leagues, the British established trading posts on Hudson Bay in the late 17th century and began a struggle for domination of Ontario. The 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years War by awarding nearly all of Frances North American possessions to Britain, the region was annexed to Quebec in 1774. The first European settlements were in 1782–1784 when 5,000 American loyalists entered what is now Ontario following the American Revolution, from 1783 to 1796, Britain granted them 200 acres of land and other items with which to rebuild their lives. John Graves Simcoe was appointed Upper Canadas first Lieutenant-Governor in 1793, American troops in the War of 1812 invaded Upper Canada across the Niagara River and the Detroit River but were defeated and pushed back by British forces, local militia and Native American forces. The Americans gained control of Lake Erie at the Battle of Lake Erie, the British had to flee on foot, and the American William Henry Harrison caught up and decisively defeated them at the Battle of the Thames. The Americans also killed Tecumseh, leader of the anti-American First Nations military force, during the Battle of York Americans occupied the Town of York in 1813. After losing their general Zebulon Pike and having a time holding the town. After the War of 1812, relative stability allowed for increasing numbers of immigrants to arrive from Britain and this deliberate immigration shift was encouraged by the colonial leaders. However, many arriving newcomers from Europe found frontier life difficult, population growth far exceeded emigration in the decades that would follow. Canal projects and a new network of plank roads spurred greater trade within the colony and with the United States, Ontarios numerous waterways aided travel and transportation into the interior and supplied water power for development. Canals were capital-intensive infrastructure projects that facilitated trade, the Oswego Canal, built in New York 1825–1829, was a vital commercial link in the Great Lakes–Atlantic seaway. It linked into Ontarios Welland Canal in 1829, the newly fashioned Oswego–Welland line offered an alternative route to the St. Lawrence River and Europe, as opposed to the Erie Canal which terminated in New York City. Opponents called it the Family Compact, but its members avoided the term, in the religious sphere, a key leader was John Strachan, the Anglican bishop of Toronto. Strachan was opposed by Methodist leader Egerton Ryerson, the Family Compact consisted of English gentry who arrived before 1800, and the sons of United Empire Loyalists, who were exiles who fled the American revolution. The term family was metaphorical, for they generally were not related by blood or marriage, there were no elections and the leadership controlled appointments, so local officials were generally allies of the leaders. The Family Compact looked for the model to Britain, where landed aristocrats held power
Upper Canada in orange.
A poster from 1878 encouraging immigration to Ontario