A Brief History of Quebec

By Tim Lambert

Early Quebec

The city of Quebec was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. He began a trading post there. During the 17th century and the early 18th century, Quebec grew slowly. The Maison Chevalier was built in 1752. In 1759 it was the scene of a decisive battle when it was captured by General Wolfe. In 1763 the whole of Canada came under British rule. By then the population of Quebec had risen to about 8,000.

Then in 1791, Quebec became the capital of Lower Canada. In 1775 the Americans tried to capture Quebec but they were driven off. During the early and mid 19th century Quebec was a busy port and its population grew rapidly. The Citadelle was completed in 1850. However, in the late 19th century it lost much of its importance to Montreal.

Modern Quebec

In the 20th century, Quebec continued to flourish. Battlefields was created in 1908. Quebec Bridge was built in 1917. (However, during its construction the bridge collapsed twice. When Quebec Bridge collapsed on 29 August 1907 75 men were killed. On 11 September 1916, the centre span collapsed and 13 men were killed.

Nevertheless, Quebec was an important manufacturing centre in the early 20th century and its population grew rapidly. However, like the rest of Canada, it suffered in the Depression of the 1930s. With the Second World War, prosperity returned. Pierre Laporte Bridge was built in 1970. Today tourism is an important industry in Quebec. The Musee de la Civilisation was founded in 1984. The Musee de la Place Royale.

In 2021 the population of Quebec City was 549,000.

Last revised 2024