A Brief History of
The human history of the Calgary region begins,
as with all Alberta, with the native Canadians, over 12,000 years
ago. The last ice age which ended 10,000 years ago created a land
bridge between Asia and North America, which allowed early Homo
Sapiens to walk to this continent many years before whites came
over from Europe by boat. The cultures which existed during the
arrival of the European traders and settlers were the Blackfoot,
Blood, Peigan, Sarcee and Stoney.
These Indians now reside in a number of reserves
around the city. The first Europeans included David Thompson and
Peter Fidler in the 1780's and 1790's, both of whom were associated
with the fur trade.
The first settler and rancher in Calgary was Sam
Livingston who settled in the early 1870's after returning from
the California Gold Rush of 1849. The 1860s saw increasingly large
numbers of buffalo hunters to the region. These hunters were joined
in by whiskey traders who set up forts in which to trade their
"whisky" for furs from the local natives.
In response to the whisky-traders the "North West
Mounted Police", which later became the "Royal Canadian Mounted
Police", were established. In 1875 these early law enforcers built
Fort Calgary. Calgary was named by Col. James Macleod of the North
West Mounted Police after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull on the
Scottish west coast. The word Calgary is Gaelic for "clear running
By the early 1880's the railway reached Fort Calgary,
and the townsite that was to become known as Calgary was established
shortly thereafter. Calgary was incoporated as the first town
in Alberta in 1884 and ofically became a city in 1893.
During the 1970's, the oil industry boomed in Calgary.
The city's population grew from 325,000 in 1974 to 650,000 by
the early 1980s. Today, Calgary's population is over the 800,000
level, with slow and steady growth. The 1996-1998 gas exploration
boom, offsetting a relatively weak Eastern Canadian and B.C.
economy, has led to a large influx of new residents into the
city. The city has grown by an average of 20,000 people per
year over the past three years.