Montreal: History

A city of a hundred nations

Montreal History

Montreal was first settled by Huron, Algonquin and Iroquois Indian tribes, and was not settled by the French until 1534 by Jacques Cartier. Montreal is one of the oldest cities in North America. The city over the next hundred years became important in the fur trading industry and in expanding New France. It was not until 1760 that Montreal was surrendered to the British after the French were defeated at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Under the British fur trading flourished. From 1844 to 1849 Montreal was the capital of the United Province of Canada, and by 1860 it was the largest city in North America and the economic/cultural capital of Canada.

Montreal continued to grow until by the end of the 1950's there were skyscrapers, a new metro system, a population over one million, and the St. Lawrence Seaway opened. In 1967 Montreal hosted the Expo 67 and the Summer Olympics were hosted in 1976. The present-day province of Quebec has staunchly maintained its French language and culture, leading to some 20th-century efforts to make the province its own sovereign nation.