History And Chronology Of The French Settlement In Montréal

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The world today is full of the complex fields of technology, growing industries, and humanities. One place that has developed a great amount is the country of Canada. It has been ranked highly for its quality of life, its relationship with the United States, and its freedom for its people in government and economics. One place that is extremely important to Canada is the city of Montréal in the province of Québec. “Montréal is Canada’s second largest city and is home to nearly half of the province of Quebec’s population” (). How did this metropolis get so big and what did it take to get to where it is today? Like most places, it all started out with early settlement and civilization.

The city of Montréal was discovered when Jacques Cartier and his men set foot on the island, right? Not exactly. There are discoveries saying that there was even earlier settlement on the island, about four thousand years before Jacques Cartier’s discovery. In fact, his discovery was the village he found on the island. The settlers in the village where known as the St. Lawrence Iroquois. A lot of them were captured by Cartier, including their chief. In this village, he found a mountain that he named Mons Realis, or “Mount Royal”.

The French government soon establishes Québec in 1608, along with Trois-Rivières thirty years later. Soon the government makes a third settlement on the island that was discovered by Cartier. In order to make this a reality, a society was established in 1639. A few years later, settlers travel from La Rochelle in France to establish a city, naming it Ville-Marie after the biblical virgin. The name did not last very long, since about a decade later the name was changed to Montréal. As the city started to grow, a route for fur trade started to develop as well.

During the seventeenth century, Montréal became the main artery for trading furs. In fact, there was even a fair that took place every year just for fur. Meanwhile, there was a growing tension between the First Nations to take over their natural resources. There were many negotiations to bring peace, but none were successful. No matter how many treaties or how much domination through militaristic strategies, that tension could not be broken and eventually it grew into something bigger. This led to a national agreement in 1700 between the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and France. The agreement allowed France to have a meeting with all the nations surrounding the Great Lakes. After the meeting between the delegates, the Great Peace of Montréal was established. This treaty enabled large-commerce and it became the template for negotiations in the future.

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In 1760, British troops marched towards Montréal. The city surrendered after some negotiation, but under certain conditions: merchants and landowners were allowed to own property, Catholics were allowed to practice their faith freely, civic laws had to follow the Custom of Paris, all the archives of the French would be kept protected, and all the allies of the French would have the ability to keep their possessions. Before the takeover, the colony in Montréal was falling apart. The conversion into a British colony began once the Treaty of Paris was signed. With the establishments of institutions, the colony became a part of what was to become the region of New France.

By 1775, the Québec Act leads to a pro-American movement. American soldiers capture Montréal and occupy it until 1776 when the soldiers retreat when they fail to take Québec. The revolution was a success despite being unable to take over Canada. They were able to establish a revised Treaty of Paris in 1783. After the treaty, hundreds of people were drawn into the city of Montréal as it grew into a center for economic growth.

A decade passes when the fur trade starts to fade away as two rivaling trade companies, the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company, are forced to join. Colonization begins to become a priority for Montréal as many railroads are built for easier trade and transportation. In 1825, the Lachine Canal is completed to compete with trade but lost to trade that occurred on the Erie Canal. When the St. Lawrence River became inaccessible around 1854, ship would stop in the city of Montréal, allowing the city to further grow into a center of industry.

Years later there are revolts between Lower and Upper Canada about an attempt to establish an oligarchy as well as a refusing the British Crown’s ideals. Eventually, both disputes were diminished, and the two regions were combined to create the United Province of Canada. Montréal became the established capital of the region. Both revolts led to some heavy damage in the provinces, so a Parliament is established in Montréal in order to compensate them for the damages. The British citizens saw this as a payment for disloyalty, so they protested the Parliament. By 1849, a mob attacked the governor and broke into the Parliament to destroy it once and for all. Since the building was burnt to the ground, the fire caused the capital to re-establish itself in Toronto, but it later moved to Ottawa.

By 1856, Montréal has developed further when business offices are established on the railroads. This caused the city to become a departure point for travelers and settlers when in need to explore new regions of Canada. The city then triples within the next couple of decades with the creation of new manufacturers and businesses. Banks become well established in the city, such as the Provincial Bank of Canada, the Bank of British North America, and many more. Unfortunately, the uprising came to a halt when the stock market crashed, plunging civilians into dept and unemployment. With the help of World War II, Montréal began to grow again when it became a center of aid to the war.

Later in the 1960’s, the city started to modernize itself in innovation and many changes involving economics, politics, and certain religious beliefs. This became known as the Quiet Revolution. In the later years, Montréal was the center for huge events like Canada’s centennial year and hosting the Summer Olympics of 1976. The metropolis continues today to be one of the biggest centers for Canada’s events, celebrations, and immigration.

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