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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the present-day population of Canada, which totals 21.8 million (1971 estimate).

The Canadian population consists of two nations (natsii; nations in the historical sense)—French Canadians and English Canadians—a number of other nationality groups, and the Indian and Eskimo national minorities.

French Canadians make up about 30 percent of the entire population of the country and more than 80 percent of the population of the province of Quebec. The nucleus of the French-Canadian nation, which developed at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, consisted of the first European settlers in Canada (Frenchmen and Bretons), who founded the colony of New France during the first half of the 17th century. In 1763, New France became a British colony. In the struggle against British colonialism the French Canadians defended their language (French), which in 1968 became one of the country’s two official languages. In addition, they have preserved their national culture. The French Canadians have raised the issue of national self-determination. The majority of French Canadians are Catholics.

After Canada became a British colony, it was rapidly settled by emigrants from Great Britain and its colonies in America. The influx of new settlers created a numerical imbalance in which the English-speaking population outnumbered the French-speaking. The English Canadians occupied a dominant position in the country. The economic growth of the country, the struggle for independence from Great Britain, and the armed struggle against several attempts by the USA to annex Canada, as well as against economic domination by US monopoly capital, contributed to the growth of a sense of national identity among the English Canadians. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th the English-Canadian nation took shape. Representing about 44 percent of Canada’s present population, the English Canadians have created their own national culture. They include several ethnic groups: English, Scots, Irish, and assimilated settlers from continental Europe. Their language is English, with certain unique traits. The majority of religious English Canadians are Protestants of various denominations. Most of the Irish, however, are Catholic.

In addition to the two principal nations, the Canadian population includes numerous nonassimilated groups of recent (20th-century) settlers (about 25 percent of the population). The most important of them are Germans, Ukrainians, Italians, Jews, Poles, and Dutch. The Indians (more than 240, 000) and Eskimo (about 17, 000) are oppressed national minorities.


Narody Ameriki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959. (Contains bibliographies, pp. 621, 625.)
Berzina, M. Ia. Formirovanie etnicheskogo sostava naseleniia Kanady (Etnostatisticheskoe issledovanie).Moscow, 1971.
Ryerson, S. B. Unequal Union. [Toronto] 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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