The colony of New France was established in 1534 and was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French defeat in the Seven Years' War.
Although the English had laid claims to it 1497 when John Cabot made landfall somewhere on the North American coast (likely either modern-day Newfoundland or Nova Scotia) and had claimed the land for England on behalf of King Henry VII, these claims were not exercised and England did not make any attempts at permanent colonization.
The inlets and valleys of the British Columbia Coast sheltered large, distinctive populations, such as the Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth, sustained by the region's abundant salmon and shellfish.
There are reports of contact made before the 1492 voyages of Christopher Columbus and the age of discovery between First Nations, Inuit and those from other continents.
The Norse, who had settled Greenland and Iceland, arrived around the year 1000 and built a small settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows at the northernmost tip of Newfoundland (carbon dating estimate 990 – 1050 CE) Under letters patent from King Henry VII of England, the Italian John Cabot became the first European known to have landed in Canada after the time of the Vikings.
Records indicate that on 24 June 1497 he sighted land at a northern location believed to be somewhere in the Atlantic provinces.