The third wave of immigration to the Prairies happened between 1840 -1890. Around 1840, Métis made up most of the population on the Prairies. Rupert’s Land was an area around Hudson Bay that was owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company for 200 years (from 1670 – 1870). Canada gained control over this region in 1870 and began making decisions for this area.
The Hudson’s Bay Company owned Rupert’s Land for 200 years until the Canadian government gained control of it.
Dominion Lands Act
In 1872, the Canadian government started advertising 160 acres for free to farmers, but there was a $10 administration fee. The homesteads would be granted to any male settler over the age of 21 who intended to start a homestead on their very own farmland. This was called the Dominion Lands Act.
The government was advertising 160 acres of land for each new homestead.
The Dominion Land Acts policy changed in 1863, letting men who were 18 years old buy land. Women over 18 years old who were the sole head of a household became eligible to buy land in 1876. In 1919, widows of war veterans could also receive land.
Learn more about the Dominion Lands Act.
The Canadian government wanted the land to be farmed. They did not want people to buy the land only to sell it for a profit in a few years. They put rules in place for the homesteaders to follow. They had to:
- Clear 40 acres of the land
- Live on the land for at least six months each year
- Build a house within three years
People moved from Eastern Canada to Western Canada now that the government had a settlement plan for this area.