In the new year of 1894, Calgary was designated as a city in the Northwest Territories of Canada. While that may sound like the beginning of the story for this important Canadian city, the history of Calgary actually dates back thousands of years. Whether an individual has lived in the city for years, or family is moving to Calgary, it's important for everyone to have an understanding of this community's rich and storied past.
The Calgary Region and the First Nations Tribes
Life in Calgary can be traced back at least 11,000 years. Pre-Clovis people as well as First Nations tribes have long called this region home. The rich and fertile land that was filled with opportunities for hunting, farming and fishing made the Calgary region the ideal place for tribes to live and work together. Some tribes who lived in the area included Blood, Peigan, Sarcee, Blackfoot and Stoney tribes. For thousands of years, these tribes were able to roam the land and settle as needed, without the interruption of Europeans looking to monetize the land. The first recorded European visitor was a fur trader who was working with the Hudson's Bay Company, who arrived in the region in 1787.
European Settlement in Calgary
While European frontiersmen discovered the Calgary region and began to trade with the tribes who called it home in the late 18th century, it would be nearly 100 years before Europeans would attempt to settle the land. Historical records show that the first settler was a man by the name of John Glenn, who arrived in 1873. Within two years, Fort Calgary was built where the Bow and Elbow River meet. In 1877, the native tribes who were living in the region gave up their land to the Canadian government, and were given reservation land as a result.
Calgary and the Oil Industry
One could say that the contemporary era for Calgary began when the railroad connected this community to the rest of the country. At this point, the population began to grow exponentially. Within the first few years of the 20th century, the population grew from 30,000 residents to more than 80,000 residents. Calgary, being rich in oil, quickly became a major player in the oil industry. The oil boom in the late 1970s and early 1980s caused the population in Calgary to almost double. While the ebbs and flows of the oil industry have had its impact on the local economy, oil remains a prominent industry in the region.
Modern Life in Calgary
Today, the population of Calgary is close to 1.1 million people. While people are not coming to the city at the same rates they did at the dawn of the 20th century or in the late 1970s, it is still a community that enjoys steady growth from year to year. Those who live in Calgary will find that in addition to the oil industry, the tourism industry as well as the technology industry are thriving. Calgary has long been a place of opportunity, and it continues to live up to its reputation to this day.
The history of Calgary plays an important role in modern daily life. Those who live in Calgary often find that their lifestyles today are tied to the past, and that the work of generations before them have allowed them to enjoy contemporary conveniences in this Canadian community.