As with California, settlement of British Columbia received a tumultuous boost from a series of gold rushes (1858–64). After these petered out, the economy depended upon mining, lumber and fishing. The colonization of the Canadian mid-West expanded after the Dominion Lands Act (1872), granted free 160-acre tracts for homesteads. Formation of the North West Mounted Police (1873) provided security, and completion of the Pacific Railroad (1885) revolutionized accessibility. Immigration to the prairies was often in ethnically denominated blocs. The Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, sought ‘stalwart peasants in sheep-skin coats, born on the soil’. Significant numbers came from Romania and Hungary. A major influx of Mennonites arrived, fleeing persecution in Ukraine, and of Icelanders, escaping a series of volcanic eruptions in the 1870s.The scale of immigration provoked a rebellion by the Metis, the offspring of natives and European settlers, in Manitoba in 1885.
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