The author outlines the debate surrounding the creation of Canada's admiralty court. This debate was fuelled by the desire for autonomy from England and the disagreement amongst Canadian politicians regarding which court was best suited to exercise admiralty jurisdiction. In 1891, more than thirty years after this debate began, the Exchequer Court of Canada, a national admiralty court, was declared, replacing the unpopular British vice-admiralty courts. The jurisdiction of this court was generally consistent with the existing English admiralty jurisdiction; it was not until 1931 that Canada was able to decide the jurisdiction of its own court. Since then, this jurisdiction has been enlarged by federal legislative measures, most notably the Federal Court Act of 1971, which continued the Exchequer Court under the Federal Court of Canada. An understanding of Canadian maritime law is crucial in order to comprehend fully the new, broadened jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Canada. The author traces the historical roots of maritime law back to the ancient sea codes and ordinances of continental Europe and to Roman law. Maritime law has continued to evolve in the hands of judges and the legislature and will continue to do so, making a place for Canada's own admiralty court among the leading admiralty courts of the world.