Province of Quebec (1763-1791)

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Province of Quebec (COLONIAL PERIOD, 1763-1791)

Great Britain acquired Canada by the Treaty of Paris (1763) when King Louis XV of France and his advisors 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 - "quelques arpents de neige" (a few acres of snow). By the British Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada (part of New France) was renamed the Province of Quebec.

In 1774, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act that allowed Quebec to maintain the French Civil Code as its judicial system and sanctioned the freedom of religious choice, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain. The act also changed the boundaries of Quebec to include the Ohio Country and Illinois Country, from the Appalachian Mountains on the east, south to the Ohio River, west to the Mississippi River and north to the southern boundary of lands owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, or Rupert's Land.

Through Quebec, the British Crown retained access to the Ohio and Illinois Countries even after the Treaty of Paris (1783), which was meant to have ceded this land to the United States. By well-established trade and military routes across the Great Lakes, the British continued to supply not only their own troops but a wide alliance of Native American nations through Detroit, Fort Niagara, Fort Michilimackinac, and so on.

Quebec retained its seigneurial system after the conquest. Owing to an influx of Loyalist refugees from the US Revolutionary War, the demographics of Quebec came to shift and now included a substantial English-speaking, Anglican or Protestant element from the former Thirteen Colonies. These United Empire Loyalists settled mainly in the Eastern Townships, Montreal, and what was known then as the pays d'en haut (high country) west of the Ottawa River. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the country in two at the Ottawa River, so that the western part (Upper Canada) could be under the British legal system, with English speakers in the majority. The eastern part was named Lower Canada.

Governors of the Province of Quebec 1763-1791

After the capitulation of Montreal in 1760, New France was placed under military government. Civil government was instituted in 1764.

Bibliography

  • Burt, Alfred LeRoy. The Old Province of Quebec. Toronto: Ryerson Press; Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1933. Reprinted Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1968.
  • Lahaise, Robert and Vallerand, Noël. Le Québec sous le régime anglais : les Canadiens français, la colonisation britannique et la formation du Canada continental. Outremont, Québec : Lanctôt, 1999.
  • Neatby, Hilda. Quebec : the revolutionary age 1760-1791. Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1966.


Template:Quebec-stub Template:Canada-stub

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