Canada’s Monarchy throughout History

Every country has emerged out of a tangle of past histories, assorted land occupations by diverse peoples, climactic changes, colonization, the rise and fall of civilizations and an assortment of differing values. Every human being today stands on the shoulders and on the lands of those who have gone before.

Canada is no different, with its successive migrations from across the Bering Strait; quite possibly across the South Pacific and up from South America as well; and, centuries later, from the European continent. Historically, each new people brought with them their own complex society, whose ascendancy was in turn both displaced and absorbed by the next wave of newcomers.

Thanks to numerous discoveries by archaeologists and sociologists, we have come to understand that our Aboriginal ancestors knew both kingship—from Polynesia to the Americas—and a form of tribal leadership where local and some paramount chiefs occupied positions analogous to those of monarchs. Much later, the major European settler groups brought with them the ancient monarchies of France and of England, in whose name colonies were formed with their small populations gradually spreading across the land. Both these early and colonial monarchies frequently asserted that their authority derived from God, although this idea became extinguished over time.

Accordingly, ancient Latin American kings, tribal chieftains of Aboriginal peoples and the sovereigns of France and Britain were absolute monarchs, holding to power by virtue of tradition, leadership and brute strength. In time, however, peaceful evolution in Britain and bloody revolution in France brought about change, whereby the principal political leadership fell to someone chosen by will of the people.

But many nations still valued the symbol of a constitutional monarch, above the partisan fray and a constant reminder to those elected that the power to govern was only lent and must be executed within the rule of law, which—along with basic values—were alive in the person of a hereditary sovereign.

Therefore, it is along with 15 other Commonwealth realms, and many other countries owing allegiance to different sovereigns, that Canada has constantly reaffirmed and maintained its constitutional monarchy since Confederation in 1867.

A list of Canada’s Sovereigns

1485-1509 Henry VII    
1509-1547 Henry VIII 1515-1547 François I
1547-1553 Edward VI 1547-1559 Henri II
1553-1558 Mary I 1559-1560 François II
1558-1603 Elizabeth I 1560-1574 Charles IX
1603-1625 James I 1574-1589 Henri III
1625-1649 Charles I 1589-1610 Henri IV
1649-1660 (Cromwellian Era) 1610-1643 Louis XIII
1660-1685 Charles II 1643-1715 Louis XIV
1685-1688 James II 1715 - 1775 Louis XV
1688-1702 William III The Treaty of Paris (1763) marked the
transfer of French sovereignty in
North America to Britain
1688-1694 and Mary II (jointly)
1702-1714 Anne    
1714-1727 George I    
1727-1760 George II    
1760-1820 George III    
1820-1830 George IV    
1830-1837 William IV    
1837-1901 Victoria    
1901-1910 Edward VII    
1910-1936 George V    
1936 Edward VIII    
1936-1952 George VI    
1952 Elizabeth II