Quebec City has had a controversial history that is central to the French and British presence in North America. It was the first permanent French trading post. It provided New France with a political, military, and commercial capital for 150 years. And it became a focal point of war leading to the Conquest. Its stones, archives, and heritage still evoke the French colonial experience in the north and centre of North America. As a political, military, and commercial capital of Britain’s colony on the St. Lawrence for a century, it remained a key site for asserting colonial power, welcoming British immigrants to Canada, and exporting Canada’s natural resources to Great Britain.
Despite its economic woes during the second half of the 19th century, Quebec City has grown with the national and cultural affirmation of the Quebec government and Quebec society, especially since the 1960s. It has again become essentially French in its population, immigration, cultural life, and institutions—a testimonial to the survival of a society transplanted to North America 400 years ago.