timeline

Fenian Raids

The Fenians were a secret society of Irish patriots who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. Some North American members of this movement were intent on taking Canada by force and exchanging it with Britain for Irish independence. From 1866 to 1871 the Fenians launched a series of small, armed incursions of Canada, each of which was put down by government forces — at the cost of dozens killed and wounded on both sides.

Battle of Ridgeway

April 09, 1866

Fenian Raids 

Michael Murphy Arrested in Cornwall

Tavern-keeper and Fenian leader Michael Murphy was arrested in Cornwall, Canada West. Fenians were Irish patriots in Canada and the United States who wanted a North American revolutionary movement for Irish independence. Canadian officials believed Murphy planned raids with his American counterparts. He was charged with treason, but escaped to the US.

May 31, 1866

Battle of Ridgeway

Fenian Raids 

Fenians Occupy Fort Erie

About 800 Fenians crossed the Niagara River at Buffalo into Canada, occupying Fort Erie.

June 02, 1866

Battle of Ridgeway

Fenian Raids 

Fenian Raid at Ridgeway

Canadian forces under Alfred Booker were driven back by the Fenians at Ridgeway, Canada West.

June 07, 1866

Fenian Raids 

Fenians at Pigeon Hill

About 1000 Fenians crossed the Canadian border and occupied Pigeon Hill in Missisquoi County, Canada East.

April 07, 1868

Thomas D'Arcy McGee

Fenian Raids 

D'Arcy McGee Assassinated

Thomas D'Arcy McGee, an MP and Father of Confederation, was shot and killed by suspected Fenian James Patrick Whelan while returning to his Ottawa home in one of Canada's few political assassinations.

May 22, 1868

Fenian Raids 

Dominion Police Force Created

Established following the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, the Dominion Police was created to guard the Parliament Buildings, provide bodyguards for government leaders, and operate an intelligence service — which successfully infiltrated the Fenian Brotherhood. The Dominion Police was active until 1920, when it was absorbed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

May 25, 1870

Fenian Raids 

Battle of Eccles Hill

Canadian militia and volunteers clashed with Fenian raiders near Frelighsburg, Québec. The Battle of Eccles Hill was one of the last Fenian raids. The Fenians were Canadian and American Irish patriots hoping to foment revolution for Ireland’s independence. They attacked Canada to provoke England. The Canadians successfully repulsed the invaders.

May 06, 1882

Fenian Raids 

Fenians Murder Cavendish

Fenians murdered Irish chief secretary, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and T.H. Burke, Irish under-secretary, in Phoenix Park, Dublin.