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Winnipeg History, Manitoba

Winnipeg has a long and colorful history. Set in the far north of the globe, Winnipeg’s history stretches back to the Ice Ages of over 10,000 years ago. Through the years, Winnipeg’s history has its shares of up and downs, which ultimately led to what Winnipeg is now at present.

The Ice Age and pre-European settlers

Just after the last Ice age, aboriginals or American Indians started to occupy the area west of the great Canadian Shield, which is where the location of present-day Winnipeg is. In fact, Winnipeg is a Cree Indian word that means “muddy water.” For 6,000 years, only these Native Americans occupied Winnipeg and other areas in Northern and Southern America.

Arrival of the Europeans

The sole occupation of the Native Americans was interrupted when Captain Thomas Burton landed in 1612 and began exploring the area west of the Hudson Bay. Soon enough, European settlers began moving and making a living in the area, resulting into conflicts with the natives over buffalo meat. One such conflict resulted into an attack in 1816 in the Hudson Bay, resulting into the death of the government and 20 other people.

Winnipeg as a major industry center

Winnipeg became known to the world when traveling by rail was introduced. The city became the greatest grain centre. Thanks to its advantageous location that provided excellent railway connections to the United States and Eastern Canada, Winnipeg experienced a growth and ultimately became the center of the new West. Winnipeg officially became a town in 1873, and it experienced a surge of immigrants. Wheat prices also soared, and, as a grain center, Winnipeg reaped almost all of the benefits of this price hike. The introduction of advanced farming techniques to the town also helped improve the quality of grain that the town outputted into the market. In time, Winnipeg became the largest city in the western part of Canada.

Winnipeg’s history, as mentioned earlier, is not without its ups and downs. In fact, it is just one of the many cities in many countries that became affected by the Great Depression in the 1920s. Before that, Winnipeg’s wheat trade suffered due to a drastic drop in prices.

The interesting effect of Second World War

While the Second World War was nightmare to many countries, it ironically brought good times to Winnipeg. The city began recovering due to prairie towns being used as training grounds for fighter and bomber pilots. Business resumed as usual. Agricultural and manufactured products, staples of Winnipeg’s commerce, became in demand once again. Immigrants also began settling into Canada, including Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Today

Today, Winnipeg is the name of a unified city. It was created in 1972. Under it, 13 municipalities, towns, and cities were merged. Present-day Winnipeg enjoys economic prosperity, thanks to the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under the deal, Winnipeg’s products are traded via U.S. cities into Mexico.

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