NWMP002 Mountie Stand Easy
Although still at attention this trooper holds his Winchester carbine across his body in a more relaxed stance.
The North-West Mounted Police was formed in 1873 to maintain law and order in the then new Canadian North-West Territories following the transfer of huge tracts of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to Canada. This followed the Red River Rebellion and in response to general lawlessness throughout the territory. At the time there was also the fear that the United States Army might even intervene if Canada itself did not ‘police’ this vast area.
The decision was made to recruit and train a small, mobile force of mounted paramilitary policemen to patrol and enforce the law throughout this new territory and reduce any potential tensions with their larger neighbour to the south. This new force, the NWMP, deliberately chose red coats to remind friend and foe alike of their British origins and the fact that many of their original recruits were either emigrants from the UK and / or former members of Queen Victoria’s army in Canada.
Over the following years the North-West Mounted Police established a chain of forts and outposts throughout their area of responsibility bringing law and order to what had been a sprawling, wild and lawless territory. Within a relatively short time the welcome sight of these red-coated mounted policemen brought a large measure of stability and peace to the vast majority of the region’s original inhabitants as well as the thousands of new settlers that began to arrive.