March 1869 Of the 12,000 settlers in the Red River area of Rupert's Land, near present-day Winnipeg, over 80% are Metis, persons of mixed white (usually French) and Indian ancestry. The Hudson Bay Company agree to sell Rupert's Land to the Canadian government for 300,000 pounds, with the transfer effective on December 1..
October 11, 1869 The presence of a Canadian survey team in the Red River area angers local residents, and Louis Riel is chosen to confront the team. He takes up the cause of protecting the interest of Metis settlers.
October 30, 1869 William McDougall, chosen by Ottawa as the Lt. Governor to manage the new land, arrives at Pembina, near the Canadian border, after travelling through the United States (there are no roads or raillines through Canadian territory to the area.) McDougall receives a letter from Riel notifying him that he is not welcome in the North-West Territory.
November 2, 1869 Riel and an army of a few hundred Metis capture Fort Garry without meeting resistance.
December 10, 1869 Riel announces the formation of a provisional government, headed by himself.
February 10, 1870 A convention of forty delegates, twenty French/Metis and twenty English, formally elects Riel as president of the provisional government.
March 4, 1870 Thomas Scott, a hot-headed Orangeman imprisoned at Fort Garry, is executed by order of a Metis court-martial after assaulting and threatening Riel. As a result of the execution, the Province of Ontario becomes outraged at Riel and his supporters. Scott and Riel become symbols to English and French-speaking Canadians.
June 1870 After weeks of discussion in Ottawa, Father Noel-Joseph Ritchot (representing Riel's government) and the Canadian government reach agreement on a plan for the Red River settlement becoming part of Canada. The region will be added as a new province, Manitoba, and guarantees are made for a future Metis land reservation and amnesty for participants in the Metis uprising.
August 1870 As 12,000 Canadian troops arrive in Manitoba and the promised amnesty has not been confirmed in writing, Riel crosses the border to the Dakota Territory.
June 1873 Riel leaves St. Paul, Minnesota, where he had been living and returns to the Red River settlement to seek election as a member of Parliament.
November 1873 Riel is elected to the House of Commons, but goes into hiding in New York, faced with an outstanding $5,000 reward for his capture, offered by the Ontario provincial goverment.. (The reward is based on Riel's participation in the execution of Thomas Scott, an Englishman, during the tenure of his provisional government in 1870.)
April 1874 After Riel wins re-election to the House of Commons, the House votes to expel him.
February 1875 The Canadian government grants an amnesty to all Metis, except Riel, who participated in the 1869-70 turmoil. A grant of amnesty to Riel is conditioned on him accepting a five-year banishment from Canada.
December 1875 Riel meets with President Ulysses S. Grant. He complains of Canadian treatment of the Metis and asks for money and a promise that the United States will not let Canadian troops cross over U. S. land. Grant, not wanting to aggravate relations with Canada, refuses and suggests that Riel seek U. S. citizenship. A few days later, while attending mass in Washington, D. C., Riel feels the Holy Spirit speaks to him and he begans seeing himself as the "Prophet of the New World."
March 1876 After friends report Riel's strange behavior (e.g., crying in public, imagining himself to be King David, taking off all his clothes and tearing them up), Riel is admitted to an asylum near Montreal.
January 1878 After spending two years in Quebec asylums, Riel is released. He soon heads west, spending time in St. Paul before eventually settling...