Prince Edward Island
Quebec (French: Québec, is the largest
province in Canada and the second most populous,
after Ontario, with a population of 7,598,100
(Statistics Canada, July 2005). This represents
about 24% of the Canadian population. Quebec's
official language is French. Quebec is the only
Canadian province where English is a minority
language, and it is one of only two provinces – in
addition to the federal government – where French is
an official language (the other is New Brunswick).
The capital is Quebec City (simply referred to as
"Québec" in French) and the largest city is
A resident of Quebec is called a Quebecer (also
spelled "Quebecker"), and in French, un(e)
Québécois(e), the latter being used in English as
Main articles: Geography of Quebec,
The most populated region is the St. Lawrence River
Valley in the south, where the capital, Quebec City,
and the largest city, Montreal, are situated. North
of Montreal are the Laurentians, a range of ancient
mountains, and to the east are the Appalachian
Mountains which extends into the Eastern Townships
and Gaspésie regions. The Gaspé Peninsula juts into
the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the east.
The extreme north of the province, Nunavik, is
subarctic or arctic and is home to part of the Inuit
nation. A major hydro-electric project is found on
the La Grande and Eastmain rivers in the James Bay
region (the La Grande Complex) and on the
Manicouagan River, north of the Gulf of St.
10 Largest Municipalities by population
Municipality 2001 1996
Montreal 1,812,723 1,774,846
Quebec City 507,986 504,605
Longueuil (Part of Greater Montreal) 348,091 373,009
Laval (Part of Greater Montreal) 343,005 330,393
Gatineau (Part of Greater Ottawa) 226,696 217,591
Saguenay 148,050 153,476
Sherbrooke 146,689 135,501
Trois-Rivières 122,395 124,417
Lévis 121,999 118,344
Terrebonne 80,531 75,110
Main articles: History of Quebec,
Discovery and exploration
The name Quebec, which comes from an Algonquin word
meaning "strait" or "narrowing", originally meant
the narrowing of the St. Lawrence River off what is
currently Quebec City.
Quebec City overview.The first European explorer to
reach Quebec was Jacques Cartier, who planted a
cross either in the Gaspé in 1534 or at Old Fort Bay
on the Lower North Shore and sailed into the St.
Lawrence River in 1535.
Quebec City was founded near the site of Stadacona,
a village populated by Iroquoians when Jacques
Cartier explored Canada. However, the village had
disappeared by the time Samuel de Champlain
established the Habitation de Quebec in 1608.
After 1627, King Louis XIII of France introduced the
seigneurial system and forbade settlement in New
France by anyone other than Roman Catholics. New
France became a royal province in 1663 under King
Louis XIV of France and the intendant Jean Talon.
The fur trade lasted about 200 years before other
trades took over. The Natives traded their furs for
many French goods such as metal objects, guns,
alcohol, and clothing.
Change of colonial powers
In 1758, during the Seven Years' War, the British
mounted an attack on New France by land and by sea.
On 13 September 1759, General James Wolfe defeated
the French forces at Quebec City. At the end of the
war, Great Britain acquired New France through the
Treaty of Paris (1763) when King Louis XV of France
and his advisers chose to keep the territory of
Guadeloupe for its valuable sugar crops instead of
New France, which was viewed as a vast, frozen
wasteland of little importance to the French
colonial empire. By the British Royal Proclamation
of 1763, Canada (part of New France) was renamed the
Province of Quebec.
Fearful that the French-speaking population of
Quebec would side with the rebels of the 13 other
colonies to the south, in 1774, the British
Parliament passed the Quebec Act that paved the way
to official recognition of the French language and
French culture. The Act allowed Quebecers, or
Canadiens as they were then known, to maintain the
French civil law and sanctioned the freedom of
religious choice, allowing the Roman Catholic Church
Quebec retained its seigneurial system and civil law
code after France's giving of the territory to
England. Owing to an influx of Loyalist refugees
from the American Revolutionary War, the
Constitutional Act of 1791 saw the colony divided in
two at the Ottawa River; the western part became
Upper Canada and changed to the British legal
system. The eastern part became Lower Canada.
land of vast distances and rich natural resources,
Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867
while retaining ties to the British crown.
Economically and technologically the nation has
developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to
the south across an unfortified border. Its
paramount political problem continues to be the
relationship of the province of Quebec, with its
French-speaking residents and unique culture, to the
remainder of the country.
32,507,874 (July 2004 est.)
English 59.3% (official), French 23.2% (official),
Canadian dollar (CAD)
Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.4 (2003), 1.57
(2002), 1.55 (2001), 1.49 (2000), 1.49 (1999)