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Kids' Glossary

The first people to inhabit Australia, Tasmania and other nearby islands. Although they share a common identity as Aborigines, they encompass many diverse societies, with different cultural traditions, languages and ways of living.

An area which originally included the colonies of New France in south-eastern Quebec, eastern Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It was taken over by the British in 1713.

The part of the British military that controls the Royal Navy.

Originally, a Native nation that lived in the thick forest areas on either side of the upper Ottawa River in present-day Ontario and Quebec. They lived in villages and practised farming. The Algonquin nation was almost completely wiped out by the Iroquois and by European diseases.

A person who works under a master of a certain kind of trade (such as carpentry or shoemaking) so that they can learn about that trade.

The scientific study of the remains of past human life and activities. A person who studies archaeology is called an archaeologist.

Originally, a Native nation that spread across parts of present-day Montana, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. As part of the Plains culture of the prairies, they hunted buffalo. It is believed that the Assiniboine nation can trace its roots to the Sioux nation.

A scientist who studies celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets and galaxies) and events (such as solar eclipses) that exist outside Earth's atmosphere.

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A small sailing ship with three masts and square sails.

Battle of Copenhagen:
Sea battle that occurred in 1801, during the French Revolution. The British attacked and defeated the Danish fleet near its home harbour.

Battle of Malplaquet:
Land battle that occurred in 1709, during the Spanish War of Succession.

Battle of Seven Oaks:
A battle between the employees of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company at Seven Oaks, in what is now southern Manitoba. It resulted in the death of 20 people from the Hudson's Bay Company.

Battle of Trafalgar:
A great sea battle between Britain and France in 1805, during the Napoleonic War. The British, led by Admiral Horatio Nelson, won the battle.

A native nation that once lived on the island of Newfoundland. They are now extinct.

A scientist who studies plants. Botanists are interested in many different things about plants, such as their structure, reproduction, medicinal uses, growth and ecology. Botany is one of the oldest sciences.

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A boat made from a wood frame, covered with birch bark and made waterproof with resin (sap) from pine or balsam trees. It was very light and manoeuvrable.

Commanding officer of any ship, or the next rank after commander in the American and Commonwealth navies. It is also a rank in the army, above lieutenant and below major.

A type of sailing ship common in the 15th to 17th centuries. The most famous caravels are the Nina and the Pinta, which sailed with Columbus on his trip to the New World.

A type of sailing ship common in the 15th and 16th centuries. Columbus' flagship Santa Maria may have been a carrack.

A person who prepares and draws geographic maps. Cartography is the entire process required to make geographic maps.

Originally, a Native nation that lived in modern-day northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Circumnavigate: To travel all the way around an island, country or globe by boat, ship or plane.

To establish a colony.

Columbus, Christopher:
Explorer and navigator who made the first recorded European contact with the Americas in 1492. Born in 1451; died in 1506.

Originally, a major Native nation that spread from Hudson Bay to Lake Athabaska in Alberta. Historically, there were two kinds of Cree: Woodland Cree, who lived in the forests, and Plains Cree, who lived on the prairies. Today's Cree form the largest First Nations group in Canada.

Cumberland House:
The house and trading post built by Samuel Hearne of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1774. It was the first major trading post so far inland.

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Dirigible (or airship):
A cigar-shaped aircraft that is filled with a gas that is lighter than air. The Goodyear Blimp is a small dirigible.

Domagaya and Taignoagny:
The sons of Donnacona, a chief of the Laurentian Iroquois Nation. They went with Jacques Cartier to France after his first voyage, learned to speak French and became translators.

Dog sled:
A sled pulled by dogs. It was once the main way that Inuit and Montagnais moved heavy loads across snow in the Arctic. The sleds are generally about 30 centimetres wide and two to three metres long, and pulled by four to ten dogs. They are still used today.

A chief of the Laurentian Iroquois Nation. Jacques Cartier first met him in the Bay of Gaspé. He was forced to go to France with Cartier and died there.

Any person or thing that comes from the country called the Netherlands, which is also known as Holland.

First Mate:
The second-in-command of a ship, a rank just below the captain.

First Nations:
All the groups of Native people in North America, except the Inuit and Métis. Europeans called them "Indians" at first because, like Indians, they had darker skin than the Europeans, and because the Europeans thought they had reached India.

Fool's gold:
A mineral called iron pyrite. It looks like gold, but is worthless.

François I:
King of France from 1515 to 1547. Born 1494, died in 1547.

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A type of ship common in the 16th to 18th centuries. The English ships against the Spanish Armada were mostly galleons.

A person who studies the science of geography. Geography is the study of the surface of the earth and everything on it, such as mountains, rivers, cities, etc.

Great Lakes:
The lakes in east-central North America, including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. They make up the largest area of fresh water in the world.

(Champlain's) habitation:
The settlement built by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. It was the start of what is now the city of Québec.

Henry VII:
King of England from 1485 to 1509. Born in 1457, died in 1509.

"Her Majesty's Ship" or "His Majesty's Ship," depending on whether there is a king or queen at the head of British government. All ships in the British Royal Navy have this before their name (e.g., HMS Victory).

An Iroquois village that was once where Montréal is now. About 200 people lived there in the time of Jacques Cartier; 100 years later, it was gone.

Hudson's Bay Company:
Canada's oldest company. Formed in 1670 under English King Charles II. In the past it mainly traded furs. As that trade died, it slowly changed into the present-day department store, the "Bay."

A Native nation that lived along the St. Lawrence River at the time of Jacques Cartier. By the middle of the 17th century, they had been defeated by the Iroquois, and scattered.

A disease in which the victim often becomes nervous and sweaty, and has a racing heart. In serious cases, it can lead to death.

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A people who live in the north of Canada and Greenland. Traditionally, they live from animals and fish. When there is only one person, she or he is called an Inuk.

A powerful group of Native nations in the northeast of North America, which came to include the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora. The Iroquois Confederacy was most powerful around 1680. After that, war and European diseases gradually weakened them.

1. (noun) A man with the title "Sir" (e.g., Sir Paul McCartney).
2. (verb) To make someone a knight. This is done in Britain as a reward for outstanding service.

A location on Earth north or south of the Equator. Latitude is measured in degrees, which are marked with the symbol º, and counted from a starting point (0º) at the Equator. The highest latitude north of the Equator is 90º N (at the North Pole); the highest latitude south of the Equator is 90º S (at the South Pole).

Lead poisoning:
Lead can come into the body in a number of ways: through water that goes through lead pipes, through badly canned food and through small pieces of paint. Victims of lead poisoning may get headaches, dizziness, confusion and problems seeing. They may also become slowly paralyzed, starting with the hands. In very serious cases, it can cause death.

1. A deputy or substitute acting for a superior.
2. A junior naval officer above the rank of midshipman and below the rank of commander.
3. An army officer one below the rank of captain.

A location on Earth east or west of the Prime Meridian (a line that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole). Longitude is measured in degrees, which are marked with the symbol º, and counted from a starting point (0º) at the Prime Meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England. The highest longitude east of the Prime Meridian is 180º E; the highest longitude west of the Prime Meridian is 180º W.

Lunar calculation: A method of telling the time by observing the movement of the moon. The moon moves like a hand on a watch as it travels through the sky.

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Magnetic North Pole:
The spot on Earth to which the north arrow on a compass points. It moves a little bit every year. The magnetic North Pole is not the same as the true North Pole, which is at 90º N latitude. (Earth spins around the true, or geographical, North Pole, which never changes.)

A rank (no longer used) between midshipman and lieutenant.

A person of mixed Native and European ancestry.

The lowest rank of naval officer; used for naval officers in training.

A Native nation living in Prince Edward Island, parts of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec and Maine.

A Native nation that was originally part of the Iroquois Confederacy.

A Native nation living in what is now central and northern Quebec. They were originally nomadic, following the animals they hunted in winter and coming to the coast in summer. The Montagnais now refer to themselves as Innu.

An open revolt against authority, especially by soldiers and sailors against their officers.

A person who studies nature (including plants and animals) and natural history (how plants and animals evolve).

Anything to do with the navy, or war at sea.

The science and skill of sailing from one place to another. The navigator of a ship is the person who makes sure the ship goes where it is supposed to go and who can tell what the ship's position is.

New France:
The territory in North America controlled and settled by France before the British won control in 1763. After this, part of the area became known as Quebec.

Northeast Passage:
The water route over Europe connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through arctic seas. It was thought to be another possible way to get to Asia without having to go around Africa or South America.

Northwest Passage:
The water route through the islands north of Canada which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In the past, many explorers tried to find this passage in the hopes that it would be a useful shortcut to Asia. They failed because of the ice until Roald Amundsen finally made it through in one try in 1905.

North West Company:
A fur trading company that was once the main rival of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). It was formed in 1783, and merged with the HBC in 1821.

A female member of a religious order. Nuns take vows (a special kind of promise to God) and usually live in convents.

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A member of the military holding a rank above that of cadet or midshipman.

A kind of rock made up of different minerals that might contain useful metals, such as gold, iron, or silver. If there are useful metals in the rock, it is crushed and the metals are taken out using heat, electricity or chemicals.

Oregon Treaty:
Signed on June 15, 1846 between Britain and the United States, the treaty determined the boundary between Canada and the United States west of the Rockies.

Parasitic disease:
A disease caused by a parasite. A parasite is a small organism that lives and reproduces in someone's body. Malaria is a type of parasitic disease that is spread to humans by mosquitoes.

A small sailing ship. They usually carried oars as well as sails, so they could travel even in calm weather.

British money.

Level or hilly grassland that is found in the centre of North America. In Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta contain large areas of prairie.

A person who owns a ship and has a licence from the ruler of a country to attack the ships of other countries. In peacetime, it is a form of legal piracy.

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An instrument once used by astronomers and sailors to measure the angle of the stars and planets in the sky. They could use this information to find their location on the earth.

Part of a river with fast-moving, shallow water. The rocks and roughness of the water make it dangerous or impassable for all kinds of water transportation. Canoes are usually carried past rapids on land.

To make something, like a ship, ready for further use by repairing and re-equipping it.

An object interesting because of its age or association.

On a ship, the system of cordage (ropes) attached to the sails and the spars (solid beams).

Royal Society:
Royal Society of London, a society founded in 1662 to promote scientific discussion.

Sandwich Islands:
Old name of the Hawaiian Islands, named in 1778 after England's Earl of Sandwich by Captain James Cook.

A disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. This vitamin is most often found in fruits and vegetables.

A sailor below the rank of petty officer and officer.

A French title of respect for a man, meaning "sir" in English.

A vehicle on runners for transportation over snow, pulled or pushed by one or more persons or drawn by horses, dogs or reindeer.

The snowshoe is strapped to the bottom of a person's boots or shoes in winter and makes it possible to walk over deep snow. It is made from an oval frame of wood held together with leather straps. The criss-cross of the leather straps in the middle keeps the wearer from sinking into the snow.

Spanish Armada:
A great fleet sent by King Phillip II of Spain in 1588 to invade England. It had 130 ships and 19,000 soldiers. The English and Dutch fleets defeated it and saved England from invasion.

An Iroquois village that was once on the site of present-day city of Québec.

A high part of a ship's hull, at the back end.

A way to make measurements of large things, like pieces of land. It is used to build roads and buildings, as well as to mark borders between property and countries. Someone who does surveying for a living is called a surveyor.

A large island southeast of Australia.