Canada's Monarchy throughout HistoryEvery 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.