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British North America consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.
At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British Empire included 20 territories north of Mexico: Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the 13 colonies that became the United States, the new formerly Spanish possessions of East and West Florida, and the recently acquired Province of Quebec (formerly New France). Quebec was ceded by France and East and West Florida were ceded by Spain to Britain in the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years' War. Quebec became Lower Canada in 1791 as a partner colony to the newly formed Upper Canada, which was created to accommodate the United Empire Loyalists then fleeing revolutionary America. The Floridas were ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819.
After the War of 1812, the Treaty of 1818 established the 49th parallel as the United States–British North America border from Rupert's Land west to the Rocky mountains. At that time, the Red River Colony was ceded to the United States, and joint occupation of Oregon Country commenced. Britain ceded occupation of the Pacific coast south of the 49th parallel, known as Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia District under the Oregon Treaty of 1846.
The Canadas were joined with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on July 1, 1867, by an Act of the British Parliament called the British North America Act, forming the Dominion of Canada. In 1871, British Columbia joined with Canada; Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. In 1949, the sole remaining British North American colony, Newfoundland, joined Canada. Although internally autonomous from 1867, and a separate kingdom with the Statute of Westminster 1931, the last vestiges of constitutional dependency upon the United Kingdom were not severed until the Constitution Act of 1982 was passed by the British Parliament over the objections of Quebec.
The term British North America (B.N.A.) was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report. Formally, the British Colonies in North America were known as "British America" and the "British West Indies" until 1783, and after that, "British North America" and the "British West Indies".
- British colonization of the Americas
- British North America Acts
- British overseas territories
- British Arctic Territories