History Of Quebec

Quarrels between the Church and the trading company led in 1663 to tfce King of France taking over the government of New France, and creating it a royal province with Quebec as the capital; this meant the sending out of a royal official, an intendant, as well as a host of lesser officials; there were now three authorities and even more quarrels: the governor, whose functions were chiefiy military, the bishop, and the royal intendant; the population, which now numbered five or six hundred dwelling in some 70 houses, stood out in sharp contrast to the industrious towns of New England; fur-traders, priests, monks and nuns, together with bailiffs and other royal officials, made up the bulk of the population. The first intendant, Jean Talon, was an able official and did All he could, despite the immense difficulties of the local situation, to foster trade and industry, and to establish agricultural settlements in the neighbourhood. These were also the days of the great governor Frontenac whose friendly but firm handling of the Indians gave the town a period of peace and se-curity in which to grow.

This quiet interlude was but brief, for the great period of wars between France and England had begun; the presence of the large and populous, wealthy and vigorous English colonies on the Atlantic coast, not to speak of the English intrusion into the fur-trade with the foundation of the Hudson Bay Co., meant an inevitable threat to the safety of New France. In 1690 the governor of Massachusetts, Sir William Phipps, was foiled by Frontenac in an attempt to take Quebec; this attack led to a further increase in the defensive strength of the town. In 1693 walls were built in the style of a medieval European city, and in places these walls may stili be seen. In 1711 an expedition which had as its objective the capture of the city entered the Gulf of St.. Lawrence under the command of the British admiral Wal/cer, but was wrecked on Egg Isd. in fog.

The final fail of Quebec to the British came in 1759, during the Seven Year‚„s war. A British fleet, commanded by Admiral Saunders brought the British troops to the The subsequent history of Quebec has been relatively uneventful and little happened to disturb the life of its inhabitants apart from the occasional fire or epidemic. It was little affected by the war of 1812-14, at which time it was busy with shipping lumber and building the ships that carried it. In 1833 the first ship to cross the Atlantic from Canada entirely under its own steam was launched from Quebec, and in 1834 the Chateau St. Louis was destroyed by fire. The Quebec district remained quiet throughout the period of the 1837 rebellion. In 1841 a larid-slide from the great rock killed several people while in 1845 great fires made thousands homeless. Quebec was made the capital of the united province of Canada in 1852 but yet another fire destroyed the parliament buildings in 1854. British troops, which had taken the place of their French predecessors in the garisoning of Quebec for over a hundred years, left in 1870.

Meanwhile the town grew very slowly, largely because All industrial and commercial activity were concentrated at Montreal; in 1851 the population was 45,000; in 1871, 59,000; in 1891, 63,000. Early in the twentieth century, Quebec saw added to her Jraditional afflictions of landslides and fires, trouble with the bridge across the St. Lawrence. In 1907 part of the bridge collapsed with heavy loss of life and again in 1916 the bridge met with disaster. In 1919 the new bridge was opened by Edward, Prince of Wales, now Duke of Windsor.

During the last 30 years the city has made rapid progress industrially and com-mercially and become one of the larger metropolitan areas of Canada; population has increased from 69,000 in 1901 to 164,000 in 1951, while suburban developments beyond the city limits give a considerably larger population. In 1943 and 1944, Quebec was the meeting-place of President Roosevelt of the U.S.A. and Prime Minister Churchill of Britain when conferring on stategy for the conduct of the war against Germany.

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