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Quebec (spelled Québec in French) is a province in Eastern Canada. It is the biggest of Canada's ten provinces. It is the province with the second-highest number of people. Most of Quebec's inhabitants live along or close to the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Not many people live in the north part of the province. Unlike the other provinces, most people in Quebec speak French. There is a strong French-language culture, which includes French-language newspapers, magazines, movies, television and radio shows.
Quebec has many natural resources that are used to create jobs. Quebec also has many companies that create products for information and communication technologies, aerospace, biotechnology, and health industries. It has also developed close relations with the Northeastern United States.
Leaving Canada[change | edit source]
Quebec was part of New France until 1760. Quebec became a province in the Canadian Confederation in 1867. Since then, some people in Quebec have wanted to leave Canada. Since Quebec is a mainly French-speaking province, most of the people there feel that it is very different from the rest of Canada, and a select few are proud of this difference and want to keep it that way. They feel that for this to happen, Quebec must leave Canada and become its own country. However, the people of province are still divided as to its place in Canada. Quebec people held democratic votes in 1980 and 1995 to decide whether to leave Canada. In 1995, the people of Quebec voted on the question, and chose to stay in Canada by a 1% margin.
History of Quebec[change | edit source]
Aboriginal people and Inuit groups were the first peoples who lived in what is now Québec. These Aboriginal people lived by hunting, gathering, and fishing. Some of the Aboriginal people, called Iroquoians, planted squash and maize. The Inuit fish and hunt whales and seals for fur and food, and they sometimes warred with each other.
Vikings came in longboats from Scandinavia in 1000 AD. Basque whalers and fishermen traded furs with Aboriginal people throughout the 1500s.
The first French explorer to reach Quebec was Jacques Cartier. He sailed into the St. Lawrence River in 1534 and established a colony near present-day Quebec City.
Samuel de Champlain came from France and traveled into the St. Lawrence River. In 1608, he founded Quebec City as a permanent fur trading outpost. Champlain signed trading and military agreements with the Aboriginal people. Voyageurs, coureurs des bois, and Catholic missionaries used river canoes to explore the interior of the North American continent.
After 1627, King Louis XIII of France made a rule that only Roman Catholics could go to live in New France. Jesuit clerics tried to convert New France's Aboriginal people to Catholicism. New France became a Royal Province of France in 1663. The population grew from about 3,000 to 60,000 people between 1666 and 1760. Colonists built farms on the banks of St. Lawrence River.
In 1753 France began building a series of forts in the British Ohio Country. Britain asked the French to remove the forts, and the French refused. By 1756, France and Britain were at war. In 1758, the British attacked New France by sea and captured the French fort at Louisbourg.
In 1759, British General James Wolfe defeated General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm outside Quebec City. France gave its North American land to Great Britain in 1763. In 1764, New France was renamed the Province of Quebec.
In 1774, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act giving recognition to French law, Catholic religion and French language in the colony. The Quebec Act gave the Quebec people their first Charter of rights. The Quebec Act made American colonists angry, so they launched the American Revolution. A 1775 invasion by the American Continental Army was stopped at Quebec City. In 1783, Quebec gave the territory south of the Great Lakes to the new United States of America. In 1867 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the British North America Act, which brought most of the provinces together.
Quiet Revolution[change | edit source]
The conservative government of Maurice Duplessis dominated Quebec politics from 1944 to 1960 with the support of the Catholic Church. The Quiet Revolution was a period of social and political change. During the Quiet Revolution, English Canadians lost their control over the Quebec economy, the Roman Catholic Church became less important, and the Quebec government took over the hydro-electric companies.
In 1963, a terrorist group that became known as the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) began doing bombings, robberies and attacks on government offices. In 1970 the FLQ kidnapped James Cross, the British trade commissioner to Canada. The FLQ also kidnapped and assassinated Pierre Laporte, Minister of Labour and Deputy Premier of Québec. Laporte's body was found in the trunk of Paul Rose's car, on the South Shore of Montreal on October 17 1970. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, and 497 people were arrested.
The Quiet Revolution was so named because it was not marked by protests or violence.
In 1977, the newly elected Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque introduced the Charter of the French Language. Often known as Bill 101, it defined French as the only official language of Quebec.