Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a municipality within the Province of Ontario. Located in the Ottawa Valley in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, the city lies on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, a major waterway forming the local boundary between the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
The Ottawa region was long the residence of the Odawa or Odaawaa First Nations people. The Odawa are an Algonquin people who called the river the Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi, unrelated to Mississippi, meaning "Great River".
The Algonquin people never relinquished any land claims to the Government of Canada. In 2008 the Algonquins made a land claim to the federal government asserting that they have ownership to the Ottawa River watershed in Ontario and its natural resources.
The first settlement in the region was led by Philemon Wright, a New Englander from Massachusetts who, in 1800, brought his own and five other families along with twenty-five labourers to start an agricultural community on the north bank of the Ottawa River at the portage to the Chaudière Falls.
Wright discovered that transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Montreal was possible, and the area was soon booming based almost exclusively upon the timber trade. Liked by many European nations for its extremely straight and strong trunk, the White Pine was found throughout the valley.
In the years following the War of 1812, in addition to settling some military regiment families, the government began sponsored immigration schemes which brought over Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants to settle the Ottawa area, which began a steady stream of Irish immigration there in the next few decades. Along with French Canadians who crossed over from Quebec, these two groups provided the bulk of workers involved in the Rideau Canal project and the booming timber trade, both instrumental in putting Ottawa on the map.