Within Rupert's Land -- the North American area claimed by The Hudson's Bay Company at the site of present day Winnipeg, lay a settlement called Red River, made up of Scottish settlers, some former trappers, and the Métis the descendants of mixed race marriages between the British and French, and the native population.
Although the settlement had been growing for more than half a century, Red River had never established a government. It existed on Hudson's Bay Company land, and therefore fell outside the jurisdiction of the British colonies.
In 1869, the new government of Canada pressured the Hudson's Bay Company to relinquish Rupert's land to the dominion, in return for a great deal of land and a large cash settlement. But when a team of Canadian government surveyors arrived in Red River, they encountered a firestorm. Afraid of losing their land and their homes, to which they had no official title, the Métis had organized a militia under the command of Louis Riel.
The Canadian government ultimately sent in troops to restore the peace. Riel was banished into exile, with the help of the Hudson's Bay Company. He fled to Montana but remained alive in the consciousness of the followers he left behind in the Red River.
Watch a movie clip about the site of the Red River Rebellion in RealVideo.
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