Louis Riel

Métis leader in Canada (1844–1885)

Louis David Riel (22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885, pronounced /ˈluːi riːˈɛl/ (Loo-EE Ree-EL) in English) was a Canadian politician who helped found Manitoba and was a leader of the Métis people in the Canadian Prairies.[1] He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald.

Louis David Riel
Member of Parliament
for Provencher
Preceded byGeorge-Étienne Cartier
Succeeded byAndrew Bannatyne
Personal details
Born(1844-10-22)22 October 1844
Red River Colony, Rupert's Land
Died16 November 1885(1885-11-16) (aged 41)
Regina, District of Assiniboia
Spouse(s)Marguerite Monet dit Bellehumeur (1881–1885)
ParentsLouis Riel Sr.
Julie Lagimodière

Riel tried to preserve Métis rights and culture. However, he was until recently usually regarded as an outlaw since he fought the Canadian government in 1870, when his people took prisoners.

One of the prisoners was a man named Thomas Scott, who disobeyed and disrespected Riel's men by assaulting one of them.

Riel had enough, and Scott was put on trial to a jury that contained several of Riel's most trusted men including Elzéar Goulet, a Métis leader who supported Riel. The court found Scott annoying, and he was sentenced to death by firing squad.

Riel fled to the United States but in 1885 returned to fight against the Canadian government again.

English-speaking Canadians, especially in Ontario, considered Riel a murderer of Scott. That caused a war party, the Wolsely Expedition, to be sent to put the resistance and eventually captured Riel. He was put on trial and then hanged in Regina, which is now in Saskatchewan.

French-speaking Canadians caused a riot in Montreal, Quebec, after his execution and still consider him as a hero.


  1. "Louis Riel". A database of materials held by the University of Saskatchewan Libraries and the University Archives. Archived from the original on 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2007-09-23.