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CITIZEN COLUMN: My favorite foreign cities, No. 2: Quebec City


Unlike frequent trips to Toronto, I have only been to Quebec City three times, but it remains a favorite. Despite being the provincial capital, Quebec City is curiously difficult to get to from most U.S. cities.

The Iroquois called the area of Quebec City “The Village,” leading to the French word “Canada.”

The French mostly settled in the area of what we now call the Province of Quebec (designated in 1864 by Queen Victoria), landing there directly from France into what they first called “New France.” They first came in 1541, led by the famous French explorer Jacque Cartier.

A more permanent Quebec City community was established in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, a sailor and explorer. He eventually was made governor, albeit reluctantly because he was not nobility and because he seemed more interested in exploration rather than governance, by Cardinal Richelieu and French King Louis XII.

Another influx of French people came in 1755, fleeing the English ethnic cleansing of Nova Scotia.

Champlain is called the Father of Quebec, even though he also explored New York state and New England, remembered by Lake Champlain in Vermont. He also is known for his high quality maps of all these areas.

The indigenous peoples coalesced into the Great Lakes Tribes of the Huron, the Iroquois, the Mohawk and the Algonquin, with the Algonquin predominate in the area of Quebec. Quebec City is Algonquin for “where the river narrows,” as the St Lawrence River narrows at the city. The French allied with various tribes in the 80-year course of the French and Indian Wars.



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