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AUGUST 19

Quebec Travel Guide

Quebec History



Québec's first inhabitants were Indians and Inuit who migrated from Asia thousands of years ago. The first Europeans to visit the shores of Québec's fertile St. Lawrence Gulf were Norse, Basque whalers and cod fishermen. Commissioned by François I, the King of France, Jacques Cartier landed in the Gaspé in 1534.

After Cartier claimed possession of this immense territory for France, the European presence in New France began to grow.

During the 17th et 18th centuries, Québec City was the centre of New France and its enormous territory. At the time, this «empire» covered all of what is known today as Eastern Canada, the Eastern United States, the Great Lakes and Louisiana, extending from Hudson's Bay in the North to Florida in the South. Champlain chose to build his first «abitation» (dwelling) at the foot of Cape Diamant, in a neighbourhood known today as Place-Royale.

During the French and English War, the armies of British Major General James Wolfe attacked Québec City on September 13, 1759 and defeated the French troops of Commander Louis Joseph de Montcalm. This Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in which both generals lost their lives, altered the destiny of New France. Four years later, under the Treaty of Paris, the King of France granted to "His Royal Majesty, the sole ownership of Canada and all its dependencies." This transfer of power and territory from France to England sparked a flood of new colonists from England, Ireland and Scotland.

In 1775-1776, American troops tried, and failed, to capture Québec City. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the "Province of Québec" into Upper and Lower Canada and designated Québec City as the capital of Lower Canada. In 1841, the Union Act united the two Canadas. Over a period of a few years, different Canadian cities played the role of national capital, including Québec City. Even today, Québec City is still referred to in French as the «Vieille capitale», which means former capital. Following the adoption of the British North America Act in 1867, Québec City became the capital of the province of Québec. Be sure to visit the Parliament Building, built between 1877 and 1886, as well as the promenade des Premiers-Ministres overlooking boulevard René-Lévesque.




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