Fish, Hamilton, 1808-93, American statesman, b. New York City, grad. Columbia, 1827; son of Nicholas Fish (1758-1833). He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1830.

Named for his father's friend Alexander Hamilton, and heir to the Federalist tradition, Fish naturally gravitated to politics as a Whig. He served as U.S. Representative (1843-45) and was elected lieutenant governor of New York in 1847 and governor, for a two-year term, in 1848. From 1851 to 1857, Fish was a U.S. Senator, serving on the foreign relations committee in 1855-57. A moderate antislavery man, he opposed both abolitionist and proslavery excesses and deplored the breakup of the Whigs as a national party. Slow to join the new Republican party, he lost his national political standing but became prominent in civic activities in New York.

Fish was one of many to lionize the victorious Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant, but his appointment (Mar., 1869) as Grant's Secretary of State, to succeed the grossly miscast Elihu B. Washburne, came as a surprise. He accepted reluctantly and expected to hold the office for only a few months, but actually remained in the cabinet longer than any other member, serving through both of Grant's administrations.

Fish was one of the ablest of U.S. Secretaries of State. Grant was much impressed with Fish's character and ability, and he called upon Fish's aid in the administration of domestic affairs as well. Fish's greatest achievement as Secretary was bringing about the treaty (see Washington, Treaty of) that paved the way for settlement of the Alabama claims and other long-standing disputes with Great Britain. This was accomplished amid great difficulties, especially those offered by the vigorously anti-British chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Charles Sumner.

The period was one of constant trouble with Spain, arising out of the Ten Years War, and Fish was hard pressed to persuade Grant not to recognize the belligerency of Cuba. Under Fish's vigilant eye filibustering expeditions from the United States to Cuba were kept to a minimum, but the Virginius affair in 1873 nearly brought the nation, long sympathetic to the Cuban cause, to war with Spain. To secure Grant's support of other policies Fish supported without enthusiasm the President's unsuccessful project to annex the Dominican Republic.

See A. Nevins, Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration (1936, repr. 1957).

Fish, Hamilton, 1849-1936: see Fish, family.
Fish, Hamilton, 1888-1991: see Fish, family.
Fish, Hamilton, 1926-96: see Fish, family.
Hamilton, Alexander, 1755-1804, American statesman, b. Nevis, in the West Indies.

Early Career

He was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton (of a prominent Scottish family) and Rachel Faucett Lavien (daughter of a doctor-planter on Nevis and the estranged wife of a merchant). Orphaned and impoverished at around the age of 12, the brilliant, ambitious youth arrived in the North American colonies late in 1772 and studied (1773-74) at King's College (now Columbia). In the troubled times leading to the American Revolution, he wrote articles and pamphlets espousing the colonial cause so well that the works were popularly attributed to John Jay.

In the war he became a captain of artillery, attracted George Washington's notice, and, as Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp, performed invaluable services. Desiring more active duty, he left Washington's staff in 1781 and performed brilliantly in the field at Yorktown. His marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of Gen. Philip J. Schuyler, connected him with an old and powerful New York family. He practiced law in New York City and was a member of the Continental Congress.

Federalist Leader

By 1780 Hamilton had outlined a plan of government with a strong central authority to replace the weak system of the Articles of Confederation, and as delegate (1782-83) to the Continental Congress he pressed continually for strengthening of the national government. It was Hamilton who proposed at the unsuccessful Annapolis Convention (1786) that a constitutional convention be called at Philadelphia in May, 1787, and he was one of New York's three delegates when it was convened.

Although he believed the Constitution to be deficient in the powers that it gave the national government, he did much to get it ratified, particularly by means of his contributions to The Federalist. In New York, Hamilton was a powerful constitutional supporter, fighting vigorously against the opposition of George Clinton and becoming perhaps the strongest advocate of the new instrument of government aside from James Madison.

In the first decade of the republic, Hamilton played a decisive role in shaping domestic and foreign policy. As Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, he presented (1790) a far-reaching financial program to the first Congress. He proposed that the debt accumulated by the Continental Congress be paid in full, that the federal government assume all state debts, and that a Bank of the United States be chartered. For revenue, Hamilton advocated a tariff on imported manufactures and a series of excise taxes. He hoped by these measures to strengthen the national government at the expense of the states and to tie government to men of wealth and prosperity.

Hamilton was a well-to-do lawyer and banker (he helped to found the Bank of New York), and his own high connections aroused suspicion among the less conservative; his policies alienated agrarian interests and drew opposition from those who feared concentration of power in the federal government. Widespread antipathy to party divisions muted the opposition, however, and Congress adopted the Hamiltonian program.

Foreign affairs soon brought this unity to an end. Hamilton's program depended for success on continued trade with Great Britain. He supported Jay's Treaty (1794), and, opposed to the French Revolution, encouraged strong measures against France in the near-war of 1798—measures bitterly opposed by the pro-French Thomas Jefferson.

Two opposing parties formed: the Federalists, led by Hamilton and John Adams (then President), and the Democratic Republicans (see Democratic party), led by Jefferson and James Madison. Hamilton was perhaps the most powerful of the Federalists, but he was not in complete command of the party (he had even resigned his cabinet post in 1795, largely for financial reasons). There was little personal liking between Hamilton and Adams, and friction between them grew in the course of the Adams administration. Both were swept under in the election of 1800.

Because the Constitution did not provide for the election of the President and Vice President on separate ballots, a tie between Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, left the choice of chief executive to the House of Representatives in 1800. Hamilton's influence made Jefferson President and Burr Vice President—an outcome in accord with the popular will, but Burr was disgruntled.

When in 1804 Hamilton again thwarted Burr, keeping him from the governorship of New York, Burr accused Hamilton of having called him a "dangerous" man and, when Hamilton replied to the charge, challenged him to a duel. The two men met at Weehawken Heights, N.J., and Hamilton was mortally wounded.


See the definitive edition of Hamilton's papers (ed. by H. C. Syrett, 27 vol., 1961-87) and law papers (ed. by J. Goebel, Jr., and J. H. Smith, 5 vol., 1964-81) as well as Alexander Hamilton: Writings (ed. by J. B. Freeman, 2001). See also biographies by H. C. Lodge (1898), N. Schachner (1946, repr. 1961), B. Mitchell (2 vol., 1957-62), J. C. Miller (1959, repr. 1964), F. McDonald (1979), R. Brookhiser (1999), W. S. Randall (2002), R. Chernow (2004), and one in his own words, ed. by M.-J. Kline (2 vol., 1973); R. Morris, ed., Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation (1957); C. Rossiter, Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution (1964); J. E. Cooke, ed., Alexander Hamilton: A Profile (1967); G. Stourzh, Alexander Hamilton and the Idea of Republican Government (1970); B. Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton: The Revolutionary Years (1970); S. Elkins and E. McKitrick, The Age of Federalism (1993); A. A. Rogow, A Fatal Friendship (1998); T. Fleming, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America (1999); R. G. Kennedy, Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in Character (1999).

Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970, American toxicologist, physician, and educator, b. New York City, M.D. Univ. of Michigan, 1893; she continued her studies in Germany. A pioneer in industrial diseases and hygiene, she joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1919 and became emeritus professor of industrial medicine in 1935. Her services as an outstanding authority on industrial conditions, ailments, and poisons were eagerly sought by political and government agencies. She worked with the state of Illinois, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and the health committee of the League of Nations. Her publications include Industrial Poisoning in the United States (1925), Industrial Toxicology (1934), and Exploring the Dangerous Trades, an autobiography (1943).
Hamilton, Andrew, d. 1703, colonial governor of New Jersey, b. Scotland. Becoming deputy governor of East Jersey in 1687, Hamilton defended the proprietors against popular opposition and shortly had to leave the colony. In 1692 he was commissioned governor of East and West Jersey, but after five years of effective administration he was removed by the proprietors to please the crown. When he was recalled he could not restore authority. Appointed deputy postmaster general for the colonies in 1692, Hamilton induced several colonies to set up uniform postal rates. In 1701, William Penn appointed him deputy governor of Pennsylvania, a post he held until his death.
Hamilton, Andrew, 1676?-1741, colonial American lawyer, defender of John Peter Zenger, b. Scotland. He practiced law in Maryland and then Pennsylvania, where he became (1717) attorney general and held other offices. When the governing party in New York had disbarred all local lawyers who ventured to defend Zenger, Hamilton was brought in and by his brilliant defense secured Zenger's acquittal (1735), establishing truth as a defense against libel charges.

See biography by A. B. Konkle (1941).

Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, 1815-75, American politician, b. Huntsville, Ala. Moving to Texas in 1846, he served (1849) as attorney general, was a member of the legislature (1851-53), and in 1859 was elected as a Unionist to the U.S. House of Representatives. He returned (1861) to the state legislature, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he fled (1862) to Washington. Abraham Lincoln appointed him a brigadier general of volunteers and military governor of Texas, and in June, 1865, he was made provisional governor by Andrew Johnson. Hamilton pressed for equal civil rights for whites and blacks, but the state constitutional convention (1866) rejected his program. As leader of the conservative Republicans, he ran (1869) unsuccessfully for governor.
Hamilton, Anthony, 1646?-1720, French author of Scottish descent, b. Ireland. He spent much time in France, where he became a master of the French language. He fought in the Dutch Wars for Louis XIV and commanded an Irish regiment for James II in 1687. His most celebrated work is the Mémoires du comte de Grammont (1713), based on the life of his brother-in-law, Philibert, comte de Gramont. They are especially valuable for their pictures of life at the court of Charles II.

See translation by P. Quennell (1930).

Hamilton, Emma, Lady, 1765?-1815, mistress of the British naval hero Horatio Nelson. Born Emma Lyon, she became the mistress of Charles Greville, then of Sir William Hamilton, ambassador to Naples, whom she married (1791). She gained enormous influence with Neapolitan Queen Marie Caroline. Her intimacy with Nelson began in 1798, and after returning to England with him, she bore him a daughter, Horatia, in 1801. Although she received legacies from both her husband and Nelson, she died in debt and obscurity. Portraits of her were painted by many of the famous artists of her day, especially George Romney.

See biographies by W. Sichel (1905), M. Bowen (1935), and M. Hardwick (1970).

Hamilton, Sir Ian Standish Monteith, 1853-1947, British general. He served in many campaigns in Asia and Africa, distinguishing himself in the South African War (1899-1902). He was military attaché with the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5). During World War I he commanded (1915) the Mediterranean expeditionary force in the abortive Gallipoli campaign. Relieved of his command, he spent his later years in pacifistic activities. His books include The Millennium? (1918), Gallipoli Diary (1920), and Listening for the Drums (1944).

See biography by his nephew, I. B. M. Hamilton (1966).

Hamilton, James, 1st earl of Arran, 1477?-1529, Scottish nobleman; son of the 1st Baron Hamilton and Mary, daughter of James II of Scotland. He was privy councilor to James IV, by whom he was created (1503) earl of Arran. After the death (1513) of James and the marriage of his widow, Margaret Tudor, to Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus, Arran opposed their custody of the young James V. He rebelled against the new regent, John Stuart, duke of Albany, in 1515 but thereafter supported him, serving on the council of regency during Albany's absences (1517-20 and 1522-24). When Angus returned (1524) to Scotland, Arran had to come to terms with him and assisted him in keeping the king prisoner. After James's escape (1528), however, Arran joined the royal party.
Hamilton, James, 2d earl of Arran, d. 1575, Scottish nobleman; son of James Hamilton, 1st earl of Arran. After the death (1542) of James V, he stood next in line to the throne after the infant Mary Queen of Scots. A Protestant and member of the pro-English party, he was chosen regent in preference to Cardinal David Beaton. However, in 1543 he became a Catholic and joined the French party. Although he had previously negotiated a marriage treaty with England, he consented to the marriage of the young queen to the French dauphin (later Francis II) and was created (1548) duc de Châtelherault in France. Forced (1554) to give up the regency to the queen mother, Mary of Guise, he joined (1559) the Protestant uprising of the lords of the congregation. He was exiled from Scotland after Queen Mary married Lord Darnley (1565). In 1569 he returned and was imprisoned until he agreed (1573) to recognize James VI (later James I of England) as king.
Hamilton, James, 3d earl of Arran, 1530-1609, Scottish nobleman; son of James Hamilton, 2d earl of Arran. He spent some years (1550-58) as a soldier in France, but his espousal of Protestantism brought his recall to Scotland, where his father, with the concurrence of John Knox, unsuccessfully proposed him as a suitor for Elizabeth I of England and then for Mary Queen of Scots. In 1562 he accused the earl of Bothwell of conspiring to abduct Queen Mary. He was clearly insane, however, and as a result was imprisoned until 1566. Arran succeeded to his father's estates in 1575, but because of his insanity he was placed under the care of his brother, John Hamilton, 1st marquess of Hamilton. The Arran estates and title were forfeited to James Stuart (see Stuart, James, earl of Arran) in 1580 but restored in 1585. Arran, however, remained in confinement for the rest of his life.
Hamilton, James Douglas, 4th duke of, 1658-1712, Scottish nobleman. He served at the courts of Charles II and James II and remained, after his grudging acceptance of William III, a sympathizer with the Jacobites. He became duke of Hamilton in 1698 and, although he had opposed the union of Scotland with England, entered the united Parliament as a representative Scottish peer in 1708. Coming into favor with the Tory regime after 1710, he was made privy councilor (1710), duke of Brandon (1711), and ambassador to Paris (1712). He was killed in a duel by Lord Mohun before he could go to France. Suspicion of foul play caused the Tories to accuse the Whigs of murdering him, alleging that the Whigs feared he was about to engineer a Jacobite restoration from France. The duel is described in Thackeray's Henry Esmond.
Hamilton, James Hamilton, 3d marquess and 1st duke of, 1606-49, Scottish nobleman; grandson of John Hamilton, 1st marquess of Hamilton. He succeeded (1625) his father as marquess of Hamilton and earl of Cambridge and was appointed (1628) privy councilor in Scotland. He raised (1630) an army to fight under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Thirty Years War, but his expedition ended in disaster (1633). As Charles I's commissioner in Scotland, he tried to conciliate the Covenanters in 1638 and, failing, led a force against them in the first Bishops' War. Later his attempt to come to terms with Archibald Campbell, 8th earl of Argyll, apparently gave rise (1641) to the obscure plot known as the Incident, devised by James Graham, 5th earl of Montrose, to seize and probably murder Hamilton, his brother William (later 2d duke of Hamilton), and Argyll. Hamilton escaped and managed to retain the confidence of the king, being created duke in 1643. In 1644, however, he was imprisoned by Charles on suspicion of treachery, and he was freed only by parliamentary troops in 1646. In 1648, Hamilton secured ratification in the Scottish Parliament of the agreement known as the Engagement between Charles and the Scots and led the Scottish army that invaded England. Defeated at Preston, he was captured, tried by the same court that condemned Charles, and executed.
Hamilton, John Hamilton, 1st marquess of, 1532-1604, Scottish nobleman; second son of James Hamilton, 2d earl of Arran. He was in his earlier years hostile to Mary Queen of Scots, but he later became her supporter and as a result forfeited his lands. In revenge he was party to the murder (1570) of the regent, James Stuart, 1st earl of Murray. In 1573 Hamilton represented his family at the Pacification of Perth, when the Hamiltons acknowledged Mary's son, James VI (later James I of England), as king. The death of his father in 1575 made him the nearest heir to the throne of Scotland and placed him at the head of the Hamilton family because of the insanity of his elder brother James, 3d earl of Arran. In 1579 proceedings were started against him in connection with Murray's murder, and he fled to England, where he tried unsuccessfully to secure support. With other banished lords he returned to Scotland in 1585, was reconciled with James, and thereafter enjoyed possession of his family's estates and the favor and confidence of the king. He was created marquess in 1599.
Hamilton, Lee Herbert, 1931-, U.S. politician, b. Daytona Beach, Fla. A lawyer (J.D. Indiana Univ., 1956), he left private practice after winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964, and served 17 terms as an Indiana Democrat. In Congress he was a leading Democratic spokesman on foreign policy and served as chair of the foreign affairs committee (1993-95). He retired in 1999, and became president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Hamilton also has served, among other posts, as vice chair of the 9/11 Commission (officially the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States; 2002-4), which assessed the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States and made recommendations based on its assessments; and as co-chair of the Iraq Study Group (2006), commissioned by Congress to assess the situation in U.S.-occupied Iraq.
Hamilton, Patrick, 1504?-1528, Scottish Protestant martyr. While at St. Andrews, he was suspected of Lutheran sympathies. He fled (1527) to Germany, where, during his short stay, he met Luther and Melanchthon. In Germany he wrote Loci communes, known as Patrick's Places, embodying the doctrines of the Reformation. When Hamilton returned in 1527 to Scotland, he was charged with heresy, sentenced by Archbishop Beaton, and burned at the stake in 1528.

See biographies by P. Lorimer (in Precursors of John Knox, 1857), T. P. Johnston (1882), and A. Cameron (1929).

Hamilton, William, 1704-54, English poet, b. Scotland. He is best known for the poem "The Braes of Yarrow" (1724).
Hamilton, Sir William, 1730-1803, British diplomat and archaeologist, ambassador to Naples (1764-1800). He was the husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. His fine collection of antiquities from Pompeii was sold to the British Museum in 1772 and stimulated English interest in the art of the classical civilizations. His publications include Antiquités étrusques, greques et romaines (1766-67) and Mount Vesuvius (1772).

See biography by B. Fothergill (1969); J. Russell, Nelson and the Hamiltons (1969).

Hamilton, Sir William, 1788-1856, Scottish philosopher. He was widely interested in law, physiology, and literature and was professor of history and philosophy at the Univ. of Edinburgh. Hamilton helped to reestablish the waning fame of the Scottish school of metaphysics. His "Philosophy of the Unconditioned" (1829), a critique of Cousin's Cours de philosophie published in the Edinburgh Review, publicized his views on the infinite, which he considered unknowable. Under the influence of Kant, he conceived of the world that man knows as finite and conditioned in terms of space, time, and degree. In logic his attempt to "quantify the predicate" was a crude anticipation of later developments in mathematical logic. The British academic outlook was broadened by his emphasis on the German philosophers and on Aristotle. His son, Francis, published his Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic (ed. by H. L. Mansel and John Veitch, 4 vol., 1859-60, repr. 1969).
Hamilton, William Hamilton, 2d duke of, 1616-51, Scottish nobleman. With his brother James Hamilton, 3d marquess and 1st duke of Hamilton, he gained favor with Charles I of England. He was created (1639) earl of Lanark and made (1640) secretary of state for Scotland. In 1643, on Charles's orders, he was arrested with his brother for supposed implication in the latter's intrigues, but he escaped (1644). He regained favor when he went in 1646 as one of the Scottish commissioners to treat with Charles at Newcastle. In 1647 he was one of the signers for the Scots of the treaty with Charles known as the Engagement, and he helped to organize the second civil war. After the Scottish defeat at Preston (1648), he fled to Holland. He returned in 1650 with Charles II and joined the Scottish invasion of England. He died of wounds received at the battle of Worcester.
Hamilton, Sir William Rowan, 1805-65, Irish mathematician and astronomer, b. Dublin. A child prodigy, he had mastered 13 languages by the age of 13 and was still an undergraduate when he became professor of astronomy at the Univ. of Dublin (1827). Hamilton was one of the most original and creative mathematicians of his time. In his Theory of Systems of Rays (1828) he predicted the existence of conical refraction (later confirmed experimentally by H. Lloyd) and unified the field of optics under the principle of varying action, which he later extended to dynamics and which has become of fundamental importance in modern physics, particularly quantum theory. His later years, which were marred by personal problems, were largely devoted to the invention and development of his theory of quaternions. Although he believed this work to be his most important, quaternions have been superseded in many applications by the methods of vector and tensor analysis. Of some import, however, was his discovery that the algebra of quaternions does not follow the commutative law; it opened the way for the discovery and development of numerous types of abstract algebras by later mathematicians.

See E. T. Bell, Men of Mathematics (1937).

Hamilton, city (1990 est. pop. 3,100), capital of Bermuda, on Bermuda Island. It is a port at the head of Great Sound, a huge lagoon and deepwater harbor protected by coral reefs. The city is the focus of Bermuda's commercial and social life and is a major tourist resort.
Hamilton, city (1991 pop. 318,499), S Ont., Canada, at the western end of Lake Ontario. It is situated on a narrow plain between its harbor (connected by canal with the lake) and the Niagara escarpment. Hamilton is an important port, transportation center, and manufacturing city. It is Canada's leading producer of iron and steel; other manufactures include automobiles, heavy machinery, chemicals, and electrical, paper, and textile products.

The site was settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1778. It became an important port city with the opening (1830) of the Burlington Canal, which linked Hamilton Harbor with Lake Ontario. Places of interest include the Royal Botanical Gardens, the open-air market, the historical museum in Dundern Park, and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. McMaster Univ. (1887) is in the city, which is also home to a Canadian Football League team.

Hamilton, city (1996 pop. 108,429), N central North Island, New Zealand, on the Waikato River. Situated between Auckland and Wellington, Hamilton is the transportation and industrial center of a densely populated dairy area. The Univ. of Waikato, founded in 1964, is in the city.
Hamilton, town (1991 pop. 51,667), South Lanarkshire, S central Scotland, near the confluence of the Avon and the Clyde rivers. Once known for its coal mining, Hamilton's industries have developed to include light engineering, textiles, and food processing. It is also a market town for fruits, vegetables, and dairy goods.
Hamilton, city (1990 pop. 61,368), seat of Butler co., SW Ohio, on the Great Miami River; inc. 1857. An agricultural trading and manufacturing center, Hamilton has paper and pulp mills and produces safes, machinery, chemicals, textiles, and auto parts. Steel and insurance are also important. Hamilton was settled on the site of Fort Hamilton, built in 1791. William Dean Howells was raised there. Points of interest include the Soldiers', Sailors', and Pioneers' Monument and the county historical society. Miami Univ. of Ohio has a branch in Hamilton.
Hamilton, river, Labrador, N.L., Canada: see Churchill 1, river.
Hamilton, Mount, peak 4,372 ft (1,333 m) high, W Calif., in the Coast Ranges, E of San Jose. It is the site of Lick Observatory (built 1876-88), directed by the Univ. of California Observatories.

Hamilton (2006 population 504,559; UA population 647,634; CMA population 692,911) is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. On January 1, 2001 the new City of Hamilton was formed through amalgamation of the former City with the constituent towns of the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Municipality. Residents of the city are known as Hamiltonians. Since 1981, the metropolitan area has been listed as the ninth largest in Canada and the third largest in Ontario.

Traditionally, the local economy has been led by the steel and heavy manufacturing industries. Within the last decade, there has been a shift towards the service sector, particularly health sciences. The Hamilton Health Sciences corporation employs nearly 10,000 staff and serves approximately 2.2 million people in the region.

Hamilton is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the Bruce Trail, McMaster University and several colleges. The Canadian Football Hall of Fame can be found downtown right beside Hamilton City Hall and across town to the east, the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats play at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Partly because of its diverse locations, numerous TV and film productions have been filmed in Hamilton, regulated by the Hamilton Film and Television Office. A growing arts and culture sector garnered media attention in a 2006 Globe and Mail news article, entitled "Go West, Young Artist," which focused on the growing art scene in Hamilton. The article highlighted local art galleries, recording studios and independent film production.


In pre-colonial times, the Neutral Indians used much of the land but were gradually driven out by the Five (later Six) Nations (Iroquois) who were allied with the British against the Huron and their French allies. A member of the Iroquois Confederacy provided the route and name for Mohawk Road, which originally included King street in the lower city.

In 1784, about 10,000 United Empire Loyalists settled in Upper Canada (what is now southern Ontario), chiefly in Niagara, around the Bay of Quinte, and along the St. Lawrence River between Lake Ontario and Montreal. They were soon followed by many more Americans, some of them not so much ardent loyalists but attracted nonetheless by the availability of inexpensive, arable land. At the same time, large numbers of Iroquois loyal to Britain arrived from the United States and were settled on reserves west of Lake Ontario.

The town of Hamilton was conceived by George Hamilton (a son of a Queenston entrepreneur and founder, Robert Hamilton), when he purchased farm holdings of James Durand, the local Member of the British Legislative Assembly, shortly after the War of 1812. Nathaniel Hughson, a property owner to the north, cooperated with George Hamilton to prepare a proposal for a courthouse and jail on Hamilton's property. Hamilton offered the land to the crown for the future site. Durand was empowered by Hughson and Hamilton to sell property holdings which later became the site of the town. As he had been instructed, Durand circulated the offers at York during a session of the Legislative Assembly and a new Gore District was established of which the Hamilton town site was a member.

Initially, this town was not the most important centre of the Gore District. A permanent jail was not constructed until 1832 when a cut-stone design was completed on one of the two squares created in 1816, Prince's Square. Subsequently, the first police board and the town limits were defined by statute on February 13, 1833. Official City status was achieved on June 9, 1846 by an act of Parliament, 9 Victoria Chapter 73.

As the city grew, several prominent buildings were constructed in the late 19th century, including the Grand Lodge of Canada in 1855, a public library in 1890, and the Right House department store in 1893. The first commercial telephone service in Canada, the first telephone exchange in the British Empire, and the second telephone exchange in all of North America all were established in the city between 1877–78.

Though suffering through the Hamilton Street Railway strike of 1906, with industrial businesses expanding, Hamilton's population doubled between 1900 and 1914. Two steel manufacturing companies, Stelco and Dofasco, were formed in 1910 and 1912, respectively, and Procter & Gamble and the Beech-Nut Packing Company opened manufacturing plants in 1914 and 1922, respectively, their first outside the US. Population and economic growth continued until the 1960s, with the 1929 construction of the city's first high-rise building, the Pigott Building, the move of McMaster University from Toronto to Hamilton, the opening of the second Canadian Tire store in Canada in 1934, an airport in 1940, a Studebaker assembly line in 1948, the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway in 1958, and the first Tim Hortons store in 1964. Since then, many of the large industries have moved or shut down operations and the economy has shifted more toward the service sector, such as transportation, education, and health services.

On January 1, 2001 the new city of Hamilton was formed from the amalgamation of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth and its six municipalities: Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stoney Creek. Before amalgamation, the "old" City of Hamilton had 331,121 Hamiltonians divided into 100 neighbourhoods. The new amalgamated city has 490,268 people in over 200 neighbourhoods.


Hamilton is located on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula and wraps around the westernmost part of Lake Ontario; most of the city, including the downtown section, is on the south shore. Hamilton is situated in the geographic centre of the Golden Horseshoe and is roughly the midway point between Toronto and Buffalo, New York. Its major physical features are Hamilton Harbour, marking the northern limit of the city, and the Niagara Escarpment running through the middle of the city across its entire breadth, bisecting the city into 'upper' and 'lower' parts.

According to all records from local historians, this district was called "Attiwandaronia" by the native Neutral people. The first aboriginals to settle in the Hamilton area called the bay Macassa, meaning beautiful waters. Hamilton is one of 11 cities showcased in the book, "Green City: People, Nature & Urban Places" by Quebec author Mary Soderstrom, which examines the city as an example of an industrial powerhouse co-existing with nature. Soderstrom credits Thomas McQuesten and family in the 1930s who "became champions of parks, greenspace and roads" in Hamilton.

Burlington Bay is a natural harbour with a large sandbar called the Beachstrip. This sandbar was deposited during a period of higher lake levels during the last ice age, and extends southeast through the central lower city to the escarpment. Hamilton's deep sea port is accessed by ship canal through the beach strip into the harbour and is traversed by two bridges, the QEW's Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway and the lower Canal Lift Bridge.

Between 1788 and 1793, the townships at the Head-of-the-Lake were surveyed and named. The area was first known as The Head-of-the-Lake for its location at the western end of Lake Ontario. John Ryckman, born in Barton township (where present day downtown Hamilton is), described the area in 1803 as he remembered it: "The city in 1803 was all forest. The shores of the bay were difficult to reach or see because they were hidden by a thick, almost impenetrable mass of trees and undergrowth...Bears ate pigs, so settlers warred on bears. Wolves gobbled sheep and geese, so they hunted and trapped wolves. They also held organized raids on rattlesnakes on the mountainside. There was plenty of game. Many a time have I seen (sic) a deer jump the fence into my back yard, and there were millions of pigeons which we clubbed as they flew low."

George Hamilton, a settler and local politician, established a town site in the northern portion of Barton Township in 1815. He kept several east–west roads which were originally Indian trails, but the north–south streets were on a regular grid pattern. Streets were designated "East" or "West" if they crossed James Street or Highway 6. Streets were designated "North" or "South" if they crossed King Street or Highway 8. The overall design of the townsite, likely conceived in 1816, was commonplace. George Hamilton employed a grid street pattern used in most towns in Upper Canada and throughout the American frontier. The eighty original lots had frontages of fifty feet; each lot faced a broad street and backed onto a twelve foot lane. It took at least a decade for all of the original lots to be sold, but the construction of the Burlington Canal in 1823, and a new court-house in 1827, encouraged Hamilton to add more blocks around 1828–9. At this time, he included a market square in an effort to draw commercial activity onto his lands, but the natural growth of the town was to the north of Hamilton's plot.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority owns, leases or manages about of land with the City operating of parkland at 310 locations. Many of the parks are located along the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in the north, to Queenston at the Niagara River in the south, and provides views of the cities and towns at the western end of Lake Ontario. The hiking path Bruce Trail runs the length of the escarpment. Hamilton is home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades, most of which are on or near the Bruce Trail as it winds through the Niagara Escarpment.


According to the 2006 Canadian Census, more than one-fifth of the local population was not born in Canada. This is the third highest such proportion in Canada after Toronto at 49%, and Vancouver at 24.4%. Between 2001 and 2006, the foreign-born population increased by 7.7% while the total population of the Hamilton census metropolitan area (CMA) grew by 4.3%. The share of Canada's recent immigrants who settle in Hamilton has remained unchanged since 2001 at 1.9%. Hamilton was home to 20,800 immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006, half of whom were born in Asia and the Middle East, while nearly one-quarter (23%) were from Europe. Hamilton also had a high proportion of people with English, Scottish and Irish ancestry. Nearly three in ten residents reported English as their sole ethnic origin or as one of their ancestral origins. As well, nearly one in five reported Scottish ancestry either alone or in combination with another ethnic origin.

The top countries of birth for the newcomers living in Hamilton in the 1990s were: former Yugoslavia, Poland, India, China, the Philippines, and Iraq. The city proper of Hamilton was home to 67,845 visible minorities in 2006, representing 13.6% of its population, up from 10.9% in 2001. Visible minorities comprised 22.8% of Ontario's population, primarily due to high proportions in Toronto The population is 84.8% White, 3.0% South Asian/East Indian, 2.8% Black, 1.9% Chinese, 1.5% Aboriginal, 1.2% Southeast Asian, 1.1% Latin American, 1.1% Arab, 0.8% Filipino, and 1.8% Other.

Children aged 14 years and under accounted for 17.8% of the population while those 65 years of age and older constituted 14.9%, resulting in an average age of 39.6 years.

The most described religion in Hamilton is Christianity although other religions brought by immigrants are also growing. The 2001 census indicates that 77.56% of the population adheres to a Christian denomination, Protestants constituting 37.08% of the population, while Roman Catholics number 35.48% (significantly lower than the national average), while Christ the King Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Hamilton. The remaining 5.0% consists of Orthodox and independent Christian churches. The largest non-Christian religion is Islam with 12,880 adherents or 1.96% of the total population. Other religions, including Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, constitute less than one percent each. Those with no religious affiliation accounted for 115,510 (17.63%) in 2001.

Environics Analytics, a geodemographic marketing firm that created 66 different "clusters" of people complete with profiles of how they live, what they think and what they consume, sees a future Hamilton with younger upscale Hamiltonians—who are tech savvy and university educated—choosing to live in the downtown and surrounding areas rather than just visiting intermittently. More two and three storey townhouses and apartments will be built on downtown lots; small condos will be built on vacant spaces in areas such as Dundas and Westdale to accommodate newly retired seniors; and more retail and commercial zones will be created. The city is also expected to grow by more than 28,000 people and 18,000 households by the year 2012.

Ethnic origin Population
English 138,125
Canadian 107,780
Scottish 98,375
Irish 80,740
Italian 58,800
German 47,960
Ethnic origin
French 42,070
Polish 27,775
Dutch 25,720
Ukrainian 18,730
Portuguese 14,115
North American Indian 11,970


The most important economic activity in Ontario is manufacturing, and the Toronto–Hamilton region is the most highly industrialized section of the country. The area from Oshawa, Ontario around the west end of Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls, with Hamilton at its centre, is known as the Golden Horseshoe and has a population of approximately 8.1 million people. The phrase was first used by Westinghouse President, Herbert H. Rogge, in a speech to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, on January 12, 1954. "Hamilton in 50 years will be the forward cleat in a golden horseshoe of industrial development from Oshawa to the Niagara River...150 miles long and wide...It will run from Niagara Falls on the south to about Oshawa on the north and take in numerous cities and towns already there, including Hamilton and Toronto."

With sixty percent of Canada's steel being produced in Hamilton by Stelco and Dofasco, the city has become known as the Steel Capital of Canada. After nearly declaring bankruptcy, Stelco returned to profitability in 2004 and on August 26, 2007 United States Steel Corporation acquired Stelco for $38.50 (Canadian) in cash per share, owning more than 76 percent of Stelco's outstanding shares. Dofasco, in 1999, was the most profitable steel producer in North America and in 2000, the most profitable in Canada. It currently has approximately 7,300 employees at its Hamilton plant and produces over four million tons of steel annually, representing about 30% of Canada's flat rolled sheet steel shipments. Dofasco is one of North America's most profitable steel companies, and Dofasco was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2006 for the seventh year in a row. Dofasco produces steel products for the automotive, construction, energy, manufacturing, pipe and tube, appliance, packaging and steel distribution industries. Dofasco is currently a stand alone subsidiary of Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel producer. Previously ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to divest itself of the Canadian company, Arcelor Mittal has now been allowed to retain Dofasco provided it sells several of its American assets instead.

Originally, in the 1940s the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport was used as a wartime air force training station. Today TradePort International Corporation manages and operates the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. Under TradePort management, passenger traffic at the Hamilton terminal has increased from 90,000 in 1996 to approximately 900,000 in 2002. The airport's mid-term target for growth in its passenger service is five million air travelers annually. The air cargo sector of the airport has 24-7 operational capability and strategic geographic location, allowing its capacity to increase by 50% since 1996; 91,000 metric tonnes (100,000 tons) of cargo passed through the airport in 2002. Courier companies with operations at the airport include United Parcel Service and Cargojet Canada. In 2003, the city began developing a 30-year growth management strategy which called, in part, for a massive aerotropolis industrial park centred around Hamilton Airport. The aerotropolis proposal, now known as the Airport Employment Growth District, is touted as a solution to the city's shortage of employment lands. Hamilton turned over operation of the airport to TradePort International Corp. in 1996. In 2007, YVR Airport Services (YVRAS), which runs the Vancouver International Airport, took over 100 per cent ownership of TradePort in a $13-million deal. The airport is also home to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

A report by Hemson Consulting identified an opportunity to develop of greenfields (the size of the Royal Botanical Gardens) that could generate an estimated 59,000 jobs by 2031. A proposed aerotropolis industrial park at Highway 6 and 403, has been debated at City Hall for years. Opponents feel the city needs to do more investigation about the cost to taxpayers before embarking on the project.


Citizens of Hamilton are represented by three tiers of government. The federal representation consists of five members of parliament serving in the Parliament of Canada. At the provincial tier, there are five elected members who serve in the Legislature of Ontario. The municipal tier consists of one mayor, elected city wide, and 15 city councillors, elected individually by each of the 15 ward divisions, to serve on the Hamilton City Council. Additionally, at the municipal tier, each ward elects a school board trustee for each of the school boards serving in their respective area.

The Hamilton City Council is granted authority to govern by the province through the Municipal Act of Ontario. The Province of Ontario has supervisory privilege over the municipality and the power to redefine, restrict or expand the powers of all municipalities in Ontario. Further, the province provides oversight of Hamilton City Council through the Ontario Municipal Board.

The Criminal Code of Canada is the chief piece of legislation defining criminal conduct and penalty. The Hamilton Police Service is chiefly responsible for the enforcement of federal and provincial law. Although the Hamilton Police Service has authority to enforce, bylaws passed by the Hamilton City Council are mainly enforced by Provincial Offences Officers employed by the City of Hamilton.


Hamilton is home to several post-secondary institutions that have created numerous direct and indirect jobs in education and research. McMaster University moved to the city in 1930 and today has over 22,000 enrolled students, of whom almost two-thirds come from outside the immediate Hamilton region. Brock University of St. Catharines, Ontario has a satellite campus used primarily for teacher education located in Hamilton. Colleges in Hamilton include:

Public education for students from kindergarten through high school is administered by three school boards. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board manages approximately 120 public schools, while the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board operates 60 schools in the greater Hamilton area. The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest operates one elementary and one secondary school (École secondaire Georges-P.-Vanier), and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates two elementary schools and one secondary school. Hillfield Strathallan College and Calvin Christian School/Hamilton District Christian High School are private K-12 schools in the area.

The Dundas Valley School of Art is an independent art school which has serviced the Hamilton region since 1964. Students range in age from 4 years old to senior citizens and enrollment as of February 2007 was close to 4,000. In 1998, a new full time diploma programme was launched as a joint venture with McMaster University. The faculty and staff are highly regarded regional artists.

The Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts is home to many of the area's talented young actors, dancers, musicians, singers and visual artists. The school is equipped with a keyboard dtudio, spacious dance studios, art and sculpting studios, gallery space and a 300 seat recital hall. HCA offers over 90 programs for ages 3–93, creating a “united nations” of arts under one roof.


Hamilton has built on its historical and social background with attractions including the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site (Canada's most famous warship and the last remaining Tribal Class in the world), Dundurn Castle (the residence of a Prime Minister of Upper Canada), the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the African Lion Safari park, and the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is Ontario's third largest public art gallery. The Gallery has over 9,000 works in its permanent collection that focus on three areas: 19th-century European, Historical Canadian and Contemporary Canadian.

The McMaster Museum of Art, founded on campus in 1967, houses McMaster University’s collection of more than 6,000 works of art, including exhibitions on the historical and contemporary work and the Herman Levy collection of Impressionist painting.

Growth in the arts and culture sector has garnered high level media attention for Hamilton. A Globe and Mail article in 2006, entitled "Go West, Young Artist," focused on the growing art scene in Hamilton. The Factory: Hamilton Media Arts Centre, opened up a new home on James Street North in 2006. Art galleries are springing up on many streets across the City: James Street, Locke Street and King Street, to name a few. This, coupled with growth in the downtown condo market which is drawing people back to the core, is having an impact on the cultural fabric of the city. The opening of the Downtown Arts Centre on Rebecca Street has spurred further creative activities in the core. The Community Centre for Media Arts (CCMA) continues to operate in downtown Hamilton. The CCMA works with marginalized populations and combines new media services such as website development, graphic design, video, and information technology, with arts education and skills development programming.


Professional teams
Club League Venue Established Championships
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Canadian Football League Ivor Wynne Stadium 1950 15
Hamilton Bulldogs American Hockey League Copps Coliseum 1996 1
Amateur and junior clubs
Club League Venue Established Championships
Hamilton Avalanche W-League of the United Soccer Leagues Brian Timmis Stadium 2006 0
Hamilton Red Wings Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena 1973 1
Hamilton Hornets R.F.C. Niagara Rugby Union Mohawk Sports Park 1954 0
Hamilton Wildcats Australian Rules Football League Mohawk Sports Park 1997 0
Hamilton Thunderbirds Inter County Baseball League Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium 2005 0

Hamilton was the host of Canada's first major international athletic event, the first Commonwealth Games (then called the British Empire Games) in 1930. Hamilton bid unsuccessfully for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, losing out to New Delhi in India.

The Around the Bay Road Race circumnavigates Hamilton Harbour or Burlington Bay. Although it is not a proper marathon, it is the longest continuously held long distance foot race in North America. The local newspaper also hosts the amateur Spectator Indoor Games.

Hamilton has representation in two professional sports leagues, the Canadian Football League and the American Hockey League. Its major sports complexes include Ivor Wynne Stadium and Copps Coliseum; Hamilton is also home to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame museum. The museum hosts an annual induction event in a week long celebration that includes school visits, a golf tournament, a formal induction dinner and concludes with the Hall of Fame game involving the local CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

In addition to team sports, Hamilton is also home to an auto race track, Flamboro Speedway and Canada's fastest half-mile harness horse racing track, Flamboro Downs. Another auto race track, Cayuga International Speedway, is located near Hamilton in the Haldimand County community of Nelles Corners, situated between Hagersville and Cayuga.

Sister cities

Hamilton is twinned with Flint, Michigan, and its young amateur athletes compete in the Canusa Games, held alternatively in the two cities since 1958. Flint and Hamilton hold the distinction of having the oldest continuous sister-city relationship between a U.S. and Canadian city, since 1957.

Cities that are twinned with Hamilton include:

Other City Relationships:


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