In 1791, with this large English-speaking aggregation now living in French-speaking Canada, the British Parliament made its move. In a Constitutional Act, it split its Province of Quebec (which now included Ontario) into Upper and Lower Canada and each entity would then have its own representative government and its own preferred language.
In the early 19th century tensions peaked between America and the British Empire over maritime power abuses, and the War of 1812 was the result. Upper Canada and Lower Canada were quickly embroiled in that conflict as America launched invasions against British forces on the Canadian frontier, and vice versa.
In the end there were no real land gains or losses on either side, but some historians believe that the War of 1812 shifted American interests from Canada, west into the Great Lakes area, and beyond.
After the war, waves of English-speaking immigrants from the British Isles continued to settle in this new frontier, mostly in Upper Canada (Ontario). By mid-century, that great migration had brought nearly 750,000 newcomers into the area.
Political and social freedom remained front-burner issues in Lower Canada, and the resistance to British control escalated. In 1838, the controversial Declaration of Independence of Lower-Canada was written, and organized rebellion surfaced.
After decades of political and social disputes between the English and French factions, the British Parliament made its move. The Act of Union (1840) essentially merged both Upper and Lower Canada into a single centralized governmental entity, appropriately named - the Province of Canada.
Almost overnight, Quebec was an independent province, but given its French heritage and the preponderance of French speaking residents, the pride and cultural uniqueness of Quebecers would not be relinquished easily, if ever.
For the next century, or so, Quebec's struggle for independence, and its linguistic, political and religious battles were front page news across Canada, and for that matter, across the entire planet.
For the most part the nationalistic tug-of-war continues. In fact, in 1995, Quebec citizens voted on a serious referendum that would decide whether the province should separate from the rest of Canada. The "No Vote" won by less than one percentage point.
For travelers to Quebec City, and other municipalities along the St. Lawrence River, the Parisian influence is undeniable in both atmosphere and architecture, and French is the language of the day.
As for the gleaming city of Montreal, the second largest city in Canada, even though over two million of its residents are of French descent, it's a melting pot of ethnicity from around the world, and a joy to visit.
For families, Quebec's culture, history and unique geography are major points-of-interest, and across this vast province, outdoor activities and attractions abound.
"Venir et Apprécier"
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