For the French however, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula in 1534 and claimed the land in the name of Francis I establishing a region called Canada the following summer.
Permanent settlement attempts by Cartier at Charlesbourg-Royal in 1541, at Sable Island in 1598 by Marquis de La Roche-Mesgouez, and at Tadoussac, Quebec in 1600 by François Gravé Du Pont had all eventually failed.
The inlets and valleys of the British Columbia Coast sheltered large, distinctive populations, such as the Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth, sustained by the region's abundant salmon and shellfish.
There are reports of contact made before the 1492 voyages of Christopher Columbus and the age of discovery between First Nations, Inuit and those from other continents.
Starting in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions explored, colonized, and fought over various places within North America in what constitutes present-day Canada.
After 1497 Cabot and his son Sebastian Cabot continued to make other voyages to find the Northwest Passage, and other explorers continued to sail out of England to the New World, although the details of these voyages are not well recorded.
João Álvares Fagundes and Pêro de Barcelos established fishing outposts in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia around 1521 CE; however, these were later abandoned, with the Portuguese colonizers focusing their efforts on South America.
Although responsible government had existed in Canada since 1848, Britain continued to set its foreign and defence policies until the end of the First World War.
The passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 recognized that Canada had become co-equal with the United Kingdom.