The best, the worst, and the most defining aspects of North American history have roots in Quebec City.
July 3, 2008 marks the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s historic landing on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in 1608 to establish a fir trading fort and settlement that has been occupied ever since (unlike some earlier North American settlements that were abandoned). The first European “city” north of Mexico.
Partnered with the Algonquin people (whose word “kebec” meaning where the river narrows has stuck), the French began to explore and map North America from here.
As the decades and centuries went on, Quebec / Kebec became a key location in North American history.
- It was a landing point for not only more French settlers and immigrants, but for Irish, Scottish and English as well. Over 4 million people first reached North America at Quebec City.
- It was the site of the battle that ultimately saw England take over as colonial master in North America — the battle of the Plains of Abraham. The “Plains” are still there today attached to the historic old Quebec.
- Prior to this, the French had created a fortified city with a thick protective wall surrounding it — the only such wall that remains on the continent north of Mexico. A UNESCO world heritage site.
- Over-zealous American Revolutionaries attempted to “liberate” Quebec from British rule. Thwarting American invasions, whether in 1776 or 1812 or the less-armed-and-violent variety since has become very “Canadian” and part of the push-pull of North American life.
There are many more ways Quebec’s history is intertwined with that of North America and the world (please add your thoughts here if you like).