Can You Pass This Quebec History Quiz?

Patrick Hyde

Image: L. Toshio Kishiyama/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

European exploration and colonization of the new world began following the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Not wanting to fall behind their rivals in Britain, Spain, and the Netherlands, the French funded numerous expeditions to the newly discovered continent in hopes of establishing a profitable empire. Explorers found North America teeming with rivers, wilderness, indigenous tribes and natural resources. France wanted a piece of the action.

The major French colony in present-day Quebec was known as New France. Between its foundation in the 16th century and its capitulation to the British in 1763, New France became the major enclave of French culture in North America. Today, that culture and history persevere. Approximately 30% of Canadians are French-speaking, with the majority living in the province of Quebec. The rich history of this unique location in North America is filled with warfare, agriculture, trade and peace. Join us on a 500-year journey through Quebec history, going all the way from its foundation to the separatist movements of the 1990s. How much do you know about the First Nation people that lived there, the French explorers who traversed the woods, and the major controversies of the 20th century? Take this quiz and find out! 

This intrepid French explorer founded Quebec City in 1608.

Samuel de Champlain was one of the most important colonists in the history of New France, founding Quebec City in 1608. He also drafted many maps, explored the interior, and fought against the Iroquois.

Europeans couldn't get enough of this commodity, fueling economic growth in New France in its early years.

New France's early economic life revolved around the beaver pelt. Before a stable farming industry was established, men would roam the woods in search of beaver pelts, which Europeans used to line their hats.

Montreal hosted what many regard as the most successful World's Fair of the century. What was the year?

Expo 67 was a defining moment for Montreal, taking place over the summer and fall of 1967. The event marked Canada's centennial anniversary and saw over 50 million attendees. The MLB Montreal Expos were named after the event.

The colonial age was rough and tumble. Which war was the Battle of Quebec (1690) part of?

Eager New England colonists saw an opportunity to take on their French counterparts during King William's War. The British colonists rebelled with help of artillery and militia.

Although Quebec has deep French roots, French did not become the initial language of the province until what year?

Surprisingly, French was not the official language of Quebec until 1977 and it remains the only province where French is the sole official language. The change followed the Silent Revolution, where French culture went to the forefront of politics.

France's Catholic faith followed to the New World. Which of the following religious orders arrived in New France first?

The Jesuit Society arrived in New France in 1615, the earliest of any of the groups listed. Jesuits served many functions for the Catholic church, including converting natives, founding universities and fighting.

Canada was an essential stop on the Underground Railroad. When did Canada abolish slavery?

Slavery was not officially abolished in Canada until the British passed the Slavery Abolition Act of 1834, which ended slavery in all British dominions. Canada had attempted some of its own anti-slavery measures prior to the law.

On August 5, 1689, Mohawk warriors raided and massacred the inhabitants of Lachine. Who was the governor at the time?

Tensions between the French colonists and the Iroquois had mounted over the 17th century, with repeated French incursions and attacks angering the indigenous people. After Governor General Marquis de Denonville led an attack on the Iroquois, they retaliated, killing many of the inhabitants of the small settlement at Lachine.

Over 350 million trips are taken on the Montreal Metro every year. When did it open?

The Montreal Metro is one of the busiest in North America, trailing only New York in ridership per capita. The Metro opened in 1966 before the Montreal Expo and currently contains 68 stations.

Why was Camillien Houge, mayor of Montreal, arrested in 1940?

Camillien Houde was an esteemed Quebec politician, serving as an MP and as mayor of Montreal during the first half of the 20th century. During WWII, he urged men to ignore to sign up for the draft and was arrested on charges of sedition.

Less than 50 years after Columbus discovered America, which explorer laid claim to Canada for France?

A mariner from the French city of Saint-Malo named Jacques Cartier laid claim to Canada for the French when he planted a French flag in the land on the St. Lawrence River. He made three trips across the Atlantic Ocean.

France could not hold on to Quebec forever. What treaty ceded control of New France to Great Britain?

France found itself on the losing side of the French and Indian War and was forced to cede control of all of its mainland North American colonies to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris of 1763.

The arrival of French fur trappers sparked a fierce war between the French and what confederacy of indigenous tribes?

French explorers discovered that Canada was teeming with beavers and wanted in on the action. The result was a series of conflicts during the 17th century known as the Beaver Wars. They pitted French and their Algonquian allies against the Iroquois Confederacy.

Today, the Canadian Parliament is located in Ottawa. What Quebec city was it briefly in?

Prior to national sovereignty, the Province of Canada had its Parliament Buildings in Montreal. Parliament stayed in the St. Anne's Market from 1844 until 1849, when a group of Tories burned it down.

When did Montreal host the Olympic Games?

The 1976 Summer Olympics took place in Montreal, the only Summer Olympics to occur in Canada. The year saw many dramatic events, including Bruce Jenner's decathlon gold medal and complete domination by the East German women's swim team.

The French established three main settlements in New France in the 17th century. Which of the following was NOT one of them?

Quebec City is the oldest permanent settlement and was the capital of New France, founded back in 1608. Trois-Rivières, founded in 1634, was the second permanent settlement and Montreal was the third, settled in 1642.

The Clarity Act of 1999 issued an important declaration regarding what?

The Parliament of Canada passed the Clarity Act of 1999 after Quebec had two separation referendums. Even though neither of the polls passed, the Clarity Act set out the terms for secession negotiations at any point in the future.

Quebec has had two independence referendums. When was the most recent?

Jacques Parizeau and the Parti Quebecois government spearheaded a second vote on independence in 1995. The vote was very close, with the no vote winning with 50.58% of the vote on over 93% voter turnout.

Which of the following popular musical acts did not originate in Quebec?

Quebec is home to many talented artists and musicians, including some of Canada's most famous acts. The Arcade Fire, Celine Dion and Leonard Cohen are all from the province, while Prince is from Minnesota.

Today Quebec flies a blue and white Fleur-de-lis flag. When was the flag adopted?

Quebec flew the Union Jack until they adopted the Fleur-de-lis flag. The flag represents France's past involvement on the North American continent. The Fleur-de-lis has origins from the ancient royal flags of France.

The Battle of Quebec (1759) was a decisive defeat for the French in the French and Indian War. Where was the battle fought?

The Battle of Quebec saw the Marquis de Montcalm lose decisively to Maj. Gen James Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham. The battle took place after a three-month-long siege of Quebec City and precipitated the fall of New France.

When Jacques Cartier arrived on Montreal Island, he found a large walled Iroquoian village. What was its name?

French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered a large Iroquoian village on the island of Montreal when he sailed down the St. Lawrence River in 1535. The village had around 3,000 inhabitants and was protected by walled palisades.

What are members of the Parti Québécois referred to?

The Parti Québécois is comprised of Péquistes, left-leaning French-Canadians that want to separate from the rest of Canada. They spearheaded two independence referendums, but neither was successful.

Which group founded the Collège de Québec in 1634?

The Jesuits were not in New France long before they established the colony's first university, the Collège de Québec. Today, the college is named St. Charles Garnier College and remains operated by Jesuits.

When Jaques Cartier arrived in Canada, he found many groups of indigenous people. Which First Nations people did not live in New France?

The Algonquin and Iroquoian people were tribes within a similar language group and culture that lived in Quebec and other places before European contact. The Seminole people are originally from Florida.

A notorious murder-suicide cult operated in Quebec during the 1980s and 1990s. What was its name?

The Order of the Solar Temple gained international notoriety as a deadly cult after a series of mass-suicides and murders occurred throughout the 1990s, leaving 74 dead across Switzerland, Quebec and France.

The fur trade became the center of economic life in the early days of New France. What were fur trappers called?

The coeurs de bois were Frenchmen who roamed the American wilderness in search of beaver furs to trade with the indigenous people or bring back to the ports to sell to Europe. They would spend the whole summer season out in the woods.

Quebec comes from the Algonquian word Kébec. What does the word mean?

The Algonquin referred to the present-day location of Quebec City as Kébec, which means "where the river narrows." This is a reference to the St. Lawrence River narrowing right before the banks of the city.

Name the politician who founded the Parti Québécois.

René Lévesque founded the Parti Québécois in 1968 intending to establish a sovereign Quebec without the use of extreme tactics. He became the Premier of Quebec in 1976 and was a prominent political figure.

The bloody Biker Wars were fought between the Quebec Hell's Angels and what rival faction?

The Quebec Biker War wreaked carnage across the province from 1994-2004, leaving over 160 dead and many more wounded. The turf war revolved around the sale of drugs, and many bombs and stolen dynamite were the weapons of choice.

Which city's old town is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The 1.4km Historic District of Old Quebec is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is complete with cobblestones, stone walls and old buildings that look more European than North American.

The Quiet Revolution launched many important reforms in post-WWII. Which of the following was NOT one of them?

The Quiet Revolution was a series of collective reforms and a political shift towards the secularization and liberalization of government. It minimized the role of the Roman Catholic Church and set the foundation for a welfare state.

The British passed an act in 1774 guaranteeing the language and culture of the colony. What was it called?

The British had assumed control of Quebec following The French and Indian War. To establish a permanent government that maintained the religious and legal customs of the region, they implemented the Quebec Act of 1774.

Which of the following Canadian Prime Ministers was NOT from Quebec?

Five of Canada's Prime Ministers are of French-Canadian origins, including the incumbent Justin Trudeau. Brian Mulroney lived in Montreal, though he is an English speaker, and Joe Clark is from Alberta.

What was the name of the system that distributed land in rural New France?

Outside of the three main settlements in New France, land was divided using the Seigneurial system. Landlords presided over a block of land and rented out strips to tenant farmers.

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