The War of 1812: The fight for Canada
Once Napoleon Bonaparte had been defeated at sea in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) the British Royal Navy had dominion over the oceans, while the French still held much of Europe. The British prevented American ships selling goods to the French, and this led to the United States in retaliation attempting to invade Canada in June 1812.
Canadian volunteers and First Nations people fought alongside British soldiers to successfully defend the country. A number of battles were fought and lost by the Americans, including one at Queenston Heights, close to Niagara Falls. In 1813, 4000 American soldiers were repelled by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Salaberry and a force of 460 predominantly French Canadien soldiers at Chateauguay, south of Montreal. In 1813 US forces managed to reach York (now Toronto) and burn down the Parliament buildings and government house. In revenge for this, Major General Robert Ross, in 1814, marched on Washington DC and burned down the White House and other public buildings.
It soon became apparent that the British system of defences in Canada, which included Citadels at Quebec City and Halifax, Fort Henry at Kingston, and the naval dry dock at Halifax, were too strong for US forces. The 1812 war is partly responsible for the line of the border between Canada and the USA today, and established beyond doubt that Canada is an independent nation.