Online Encyclopedia

QUEBEC

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 729 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
QUEBEC, the capital of the Canadian province of the same name, situated on the north bank of the river St Lawrence, at its junction with the St Charles, about 300 M. from the gulf of St Lawrence and 18o m. by river N.E. of Montreal, in 71° 12' 19"• 5 W. and 46° 48' 17"• 3 N. The origin of the name Quebec has been much disputed, but it is apparently the Algonkian word for a strait, or sudden narrowing, the river at its junction with the St Charles being about 2500 yds. wide, but narrowing opposite Cape Diamond to 1314. Quebec is built on the northern extremity of an elevated tableland which forms the left bank of the St Lawrence for a distance of 8 m. The highest part of the headland is Cape Diamond, 333 ft. above the level of the water, and crowned by the citadel; towards the St Lawrence it presents a bold and precipitous front, while on the landward side and towards the St Charles the declivity is more sloping and gradual. The harbour of Quebec is spacious and deep enough to hold the largest ships, and, with the Louise basin and Lorne graving-dock,—the latter on the opposite shore at Levis,—forms one of the best harbours in America. It is usually open from the end of April to the middle of December, being closed by ice during the winter. The Louise basin consists of twin wet-docks and tidal harbours, with areas of 40 and 20 acres respectively, and a minimum depth of 26 ft. The harbour is protected towards the north-east by the island of Orleans, on either side of which there is an approach, though that to the north of the island is used only by small vessels. The spring tides rise and fall about 18 ft. Quebec is divided intoupper and lower town,—access to the former being obtained by steep and winding streets, by several flights of narrow steps, or by an elevator. Much of the lower town still recalls the older portions of such French provincial towns as Rouen or St Malo. The streets, with one or two exceptions, are narrow and irregular; but it remains the principal business quarter of the city. In the upper town, where the streets are wider and well paved, are the better class of dwelling-houses and public buildings, most of the churches, the public walks and gardens, and many of the retail shops. To the west are the suburbs of St John and St Roch. The latter occupies the lower plain, and is of some commercial importance; the former is on the same level as the upper town. South-west of St John stretch the historic Plains of Abraham. On this battleground stands a simple column 40 ft. high, marking the spot where General Wolfe fell. It was erected in 1849 by the British army in Canada, to replace a monument erected in 1832 by the governor-general, Lord Aylmer, which had been broken and defaced by ruffians. Till 1908 the Plains were also disfigured by a gaol and a rifle factory, but these have been removed, and the battleground converted into a public park. In the governor's garden, which overlooks the St Lawrence, is a monument 65 ft. in height, erected in 1828 under the administration of Lord Dalhousie, dedicated to the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm. An iron pillar surmounted by a bronze statue, the gift of Prince Jerome Napoleon, stands on the Ste Foy road, and was erected in 1855–6o to commemorate the achievements of the British and French troops in the brilliant but fruitless French victory of April 28, 176o. The chief point of interest in the upper town is Dufferin Terrace, a magnificent promenade overlooking the St Lawrence, 1400 ft. long and 200 ft. above the level of the river. Part of this terrace occupies the site of the old Chateau St Louis, which was destroyed by fire in 1834. At the eastern end of the terrace stands a fine statue of Champlain, erected in 1898. Near by, and conspicuous from the river, is the Hotel Frontenac, erected by the Canadian Pacific railway on the model of an old French chateau. Nothing remains of the fortifications erected under the French regime. The present walls and the citadel, which covers an area of about 40 acres, were built in 1823–32 at a cost of over £7,000,000. Since then, several of the gates have been destroyed, and others rebuilt, but in other respects the walls are practically intact, and, though obsolete as fortifications, add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the city. Between 1865 and 1871 three forts were built on the Levis side of the river, but were neither manned nor armed. Quebec's natural position still makes it one of great military strength, though depending on naval control of the sea and of the gulf of St Lawrence. Besides numerous Protestant churches, including a small Anglican cathedral, there is a Jewish synagogue; but the bulk of the population is Roman Catholic. The cathedral, founded in 1647, and enlarged at intervals, is a large but not very striking building in the upper town. It contains some good oil paintings and some much-prized relics, but is rather garish in its ornamentation. Of the numerous other churches, the most interesting is Notre Dame des Victoires, in the lower town, erected in 1688, and named in honour of the defeat of Phips in 1690 and the shipwreck of Sir Hovenden Walker in 1711. Laval University, which derives its name from Francois de Montmorency Laval, the first bishop of Quebec, who founded in 1663 a seminary for the training of priests, is under strict Roman Catholic control. It was instituted in 1852 by a royal charter from Queen Victoria and in 1876 received a charter from Pope Pius IX. The building is large and spacious, and the university includes faculties of theology, law, medicine and arts, a library of 125,000 volumes, a museum and a picture gallery. A large branch of the university has been established at Montreal, and has often, but vainly, sought permission to become an independent Catholic university. In connexion with Laval are the grand seminary founded in 1663, where theology is taught, and the minor seminary for literature and philosophy. Other Roman Catholic institutions are Laval Normal and Model School, the Ursuline Convent, the Convent of the Good Shepherd and several nunneries. The convent and church of the Ursulines, founded in 1641, contains nearly zoo nuns and lay sisters, and nearly 600 pupils. It possesses some excellent paintings and a number of relics, among which is the skull of the French general, Montcalm. Morrin College, founded in 1859 by Dr Morrin, was for some years an efficient college in arts and theology, under Presbyterian control, but is now defunct. High schools for boys and girls and numerous academies are supported by the Protestants, under the dual system of education in the province. The Literary and Historical Society—the oldest chartered institution of the kind in Canada, founded by Lord Dalhousie in 1824—the Canadian Institute, the Geographical Society, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Advocates' Library and the Parliamentary Library, have valuable collections of books, the latter containing 70,000 volumes, and numerous MSS. chiefly relating to the.early history of the province. The principal benevolent institutions are the marine hospital, the Hotel Dieu, founded in 1639 by the duchess of Aiguillon, the general hospital (1693), the Jeffrey Hale Hospital, and the lunatic asylum at Beauport controlled by the Grey Nuns (sisters of charity). The provincial parliament buildings, erected in 1878-92, are situated in extensive grounds on Grande Allee. The main building is quadrangular in form, and is ornamented with numerous statues. The seat of the lieutenant-governor is at Spencerwood, a pleasant country estate outside the city. Other prominent buildings are the palace of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, which adjoins Laval University, the court house, post office, custom house, city hall (1890—95) and masonic hall. Quebec is well lighted with gas and electric light, and has a system of electric tramcars, a plentiful supply of power being obtained from the Montmorency Falls (268 ft. in height), 6 m. N.E. The climate is severe, but bracing, the mean temperature in winter being 10°, in summer 68°, and the mean of the year 39° The main lines of the Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific and Inter-colonial railways are on the south bank of the St Lawrence, but branch lines connect the city with Montreal, and it is the headquarters of the Quebec and Lake St John, and various smaller railways. Steam ferries connect the city with Levis on the opposite bank, but the project of a bridge, though of great importance to the city, has been in various ways delayed. In August 1907 the portion completed fell into the St Lawrence. The city returns three members to the Canadian House of Commons, and three to the Provincial House of Assembly. It is governed by a mayor and council of aldermen, who hold office for two years, and are usually re-elected, one mayor having held office for eleven successive years. Quebec is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop and of an Anglican bishop. Economically, Quebec was long the chief port of Canada. A series of strikes almost ruined its export trade, and numerous severe fires, of which that of 1845 was the chief, also lessened its importance. For many years the export trade passed almost entirely to Montreal, but the increasing size of sea-going vessels makes navigation above Quebec more and more difficult, especially for fast passenger steamships, and for such vessels Quebec - is again becoming the terminus. Quebec's staple export is timber, the greater portion of which comes from the Ottawa and St Maurice districts. Formerly the rafts floating down the river were collected in the coves which extend along both sides of the river, above the city, and were fastened by booms along the banks. Now much of the timber is sent by rail. On the right bank of the stream, not far from Quebec, are extensive sawmills. Deals and square timber form the bulk of the export, but some furniture is also sent, and an increasing quantity of wheat is shipped. The building of wooden ships was formerly one of the chief industries of Quebec. The principal manufactures are iron castings, machinery, cutlery, nails, leather; rifles, gunpowder, musical instruments, boots and shoes, paper, india-rubber goods, ropes, tobacco, steel. The population increases but slowly, having risen from59,699 in 1871 to 68,84o in 1901; of these over 60,000 are French and Roman Catholic. The first known white man to visit Quebec was Jacques Cartier, the French navigator, in 1535, who found on the site a large Indian village, called Stadacona. In July 1608 the present city was founded, and named by Champlain. Its growth was slow, and in 1629 it had but two permanently settled families, with a shifting population of monks, officials and fur traders. In that year it was captured by the English under Sir David Kirke (1597–1656; see H. Kirke, The First English Conquest of Canada, London, 1871, reprinted 1908), but in 1632 it was restored to the French by the treaty of St Germain-en-Laye. In 1663 the colony of New France was created a royal province, and Quebec became the capital. In 1690 Sir William Phips, governor of Massachusetts, attempted to reconquer it with a fleet and army fitted out by New England, but was defeated by the French governor, Frontenac. In 1711 a great British expedition sent against it under Sir Hovenden Walker was shipwrecked in the gulf of St Lawrence, and the French held possession till 1759 (see below), when it was captured by the British troops on the 18th of September, five days after the battle of the Plains of Abraham; it was finally ceded to Great Britain by the treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1775 the American generals Montgomery and Benedict Arnold attacked the city, but Montgomery was killed (December 31, 1775) and Arnold was compelled to retreat in the following spring. In 1763–1841, in 1851–55, and in 1859–65 Quebec was the capital of Canada, and it is still its most historic and picturesque city. See Quebec under Two Flags, by A. G. Doughty and N. E. Dionne (Quebec, 1903). Canada, an Encyclopaedia, by J. C. Hopkins (Toronto, 1898-1900), has a good account (vol. v. pp. 241-248). (W. L. G.) Wolfe's Quebec Expedition, 1759.—Both in itself and also as the central incident of the British conquest of Canada, the taking of Quebec is one of the epics of modern military history. The American campaigns of the Seven Years' War, hitherto somewhat spasmodic, were, after Amherst's capture of Louis-burg in 1758, co-ordinated and directed to a common end by that general, under whom James Wolfe, a young major-general of thirty-three years of age, was to command an expedition against Quebec from the lower St Lawrence, while Amherst himself led a force from New England by Lake Champlain on Montreal. Wolfe's column consisted of about 7000 troops, and was convoyed by a powerful fleet under Admiral Saunders. The expedition sailed 300 M. Up the St Lawrence, disembarked on the Isle of Orleans and encamped facing the city. The defenders were commanded by Montcalm, a soldier whose character and abilities, like Wolfe's, need no comment here. The French were superior in numbers, though a considerable part of their force was irregular; but they had the defender's difficult task of being strong everywhere. Wolfe began the attack by seizing Point Levis, and thence bombarding Quebec. This, however, affected the main defences of the upper city but little, and they were moreover protected from closer attack by the St Lawrence and the St Charles. The third side of the triangle was the "plains of Abraham," to which it was thought there was no approach from the river. After wasting some weeks, therefore, Wolfe decided to cross the St Lawrence 7 M. below Quebec and to fight his way to the city by the St Charles side. But Montcalm's fortified posts spread out from Quebec through Beauport as far as the Montmorency, and this formidable obstacle checked the English advance at the outset. No artifice could lure the defenders away, and at last Wolfe attacked the line of the Montmorency and was repulsed with heavy loss (July 31). Wolfe's fragile health gave way under the disappointment, and despondency set in in the English camp. But as soon as the young leader had recovered a little, he summoned his brigadiers and worked out a plan for attacking by the upper waters and the heights of Abraham. Access to the heights could be obtained, it was found, by a tiny cove (Wolfe's cove), from which a steep footpath QUEDLINBURG, a town of Germany in the Prussian province of Saxony, situated on the Bode, near the N.W. base of the Harz Mountains, 12 miles S.E. by rail from Halberstadt on the line Magdeburg-Thale. Pop. (1905) 24,798, almost all Protestants. It consists of the old town, which is still partly surrounded by a turreted wall, the new town and four suburbs. On the west it is commanded by the castle, formerly the residence of the abbesses of Quedlinburg, connected with which is the interesting Schlosskirche, which was dedicated in 1129 and completely restored in 1862-82. The German king, Henry the Fowler, his wife Matilda, and Aurora, countess of Konigsmark, the mistress of Augustus the Strong, are buried in the Schlosskirche. There are many interesting articles in the treasury. The Gothic town hall, a 14th-century building, restored and enlarged in 1900, contains a collection of antiquities, and near it stands a stone figure of Roland. The town also possesses a gymnasium founded in 1540 and now containing the abbey library and a municipal museum. It has a fine memorial of the war of 1870-71. Quedlinburg is famous for its nurseries and market gardens, and exports vegetable and flower seeds to all parts of Europe and America. Its chief manufactures are iron goods, machinery and cloth, and it has a trade in grain and cattle. Near the town is the church of St Wipertus, which dates from the 12th century, and has a crypt of the loth century. Quedlinburg was founded as a fortress by Henry the Fowler about 922, its early name being Quitlingen. Soon it became a favourite residence of the Saxon emperors and was the scene of several diets. It afterwards joined the Hanseatic League. The abbey of Quedlinburg was planned by Henry the Fowler, although its actual foundation is due to his son Otto the Great. It was a house for the daughters of noble Saxon families and was richly endowed, owning at one time a territory about 40 sq. m. in area. The abbesses, who were frequently members of the imperial house, the second of them being Otto's daughter Matilda, ranked among the princes of the empire, and had no ecclesiastical superior except the pope. The town at first strove vigorously to maintain its independence of them, and to this end invoked the aid of the bishop of Halberstadt. In 1477, however, the abbess Hedwig, aided by her brothers, Ernest and Albert of Saxony, compelled the bishop to with-draw, and for the next 200 years both town and abbey were under the protection of the elector of Saxony. In 1539 the townsmen accepted the reformed doctrines and the abbey was converted into a Protestant sisterhood. In 1697 the elector of Saxony sold his rights over Quedlinburg to the elector of Brandenburg for 240,000 thalers. The abbesses, however, retained certain rights of jurisdiction, and disputes between them and the Prussian government were frequent until the secularization of the abbey in 1803. The last abbess was Sophia Albertina (d. 1829), sister of King Charles XIII. of Sweden. After forming for a few years part of the kingdom of Westphalia, the abbey lands were incorporated with Prussia in 1815. See the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Quedlinburg, edited by Janicke (Halle, 1873–82); Ranke and Kugler, Beschreibung and Geschichte der Schlosskirche zu Quedlinburg (Berlin, 1838) ; Lorenz, Alt- Quedlinburg, 1485–1698 (Halle, 1900) ; and Huchs, Fiihrer durch Quedlinburg. For the history of the abbey see Fritsch, Geschichte des Reichsstifts and der Stadt Quedlinburg (Quedlinburg, 1828).
End of Article: QUEBEC
[back]
MATTHEW STANLEY QUAY (1833-1904)
[next]
QUEBEC ACT

Additional information and Comments

I have heard this theory of the origin of the name Quebec… ...there was a place called Kvillebäck (old spelling Quillebaeck) an historic Norwegian Viking-settlement, now within Swedish borders in the old province Viken (ergo "Vikings" men from Viken). Around 900AD the companions of Gange-Rolf (aka Rollo the Viking or 'the walker' because he was apparently too big for any horse to carry) took the name with them when they moved to Normandy. 600 years later Samuel Champlain landed in eastern North America and dusted off the name 'Quebec'. In its French form, Kvillebäck is naturally, Quebec.
The usual theory about the origins of the name "Québec"are usually this but I agree that yours makes probably more sense: « Québec » comes from *algonquin* (kanske algonquin, eller samma språkfamiljen) och menar «narrowing passage» (eller där where the river narrows=. An gamla saga (that historians often reject because it's poetic and feeds our collective dream without harming anyone) says that Champlain, after coming on the east side branch of the Saint-Lawrence river, on the south top of the Orléans island (Örleans ???), on this vast stretch on the Diamant Cape, would have cried: : « Qué bec ! » (« Quel bec ! » what a beak!), which is really the same thing as the Algonquin translation http://www.vigile.net/bulletin/labontenf.html. Kim Cornelissen Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu Québec
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.