Fleeing misery, they founded Quebec 400 years ago
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Certainly an interesting read on the first settlers from France, who helped establish Quebec City 400 years ago.
Quebec's 400th Anniversary though celebrating French Culture, is so much more, Quebec Culture is to be celebrated by all Canadians and Americans alike.
Many forget that in the 1700s with the help of France, and with a few thousand of Ontario (Upper and Lower Canada) and Quebec settlers comprising of French, Irish, Scots, Welsh, First Nations Indians, etc all who lay down their lives in their fight for America’s War of Independence.
These Canadian settlers along with the American settlers from the 13 American Colonies formed a symbiotic relationship to gain their Independence from British Rule. General George Washington’s under manned American Colonial Forces war against Britain, in what became the Revolutionary War for Independence in the 1770's was successful in part to Canadian settlers who took up arms against the British invasion. The Saint Lawrence Seaway which divides Canada and the United States allowed British Naval Ships and troops entry to invade the United Colonial States, and with the help of Quebec, Ontario settlers and First Nations Indians’ constant attacks and harassment of British war ships and land troops all along the Saint Lawrence slowed down the British Invasion of the American Colonies. Thus, resulting in George Washington’s Colonial troops winning their War of Independence and establishing the groundwork in establishing the United States as a Free Independent Nation.
Quebec’s other settlers
Granted French citizens were the first to arrive in Quebec, laying the foundations in Quebec as a Province of New France, but many other settlers such as the Irish, Scots, Welsh and other parts of Europe soon followed and were given land grants by France in the French Governments' eagerness to get as many settlers in Quebec first, a wise move in order to establish sovereignty and Catholic dominance in Quebec in order to stop and or limit the flow of British and Potential Spanish settlements in Quebec and the surrounding areas
The second wave of Settlers
One of the earliest settlers to follow Quebec settlers were mercenary Irish, Scots, Welsh Forces loyal to France who fought alongside France's Forces against Britain in the Seven Years War and after the signing of Treaty of Paris in 1763 ending the Britain and France War, resulted in many Scots, Welsh and Irish Catholics, fearing British retribution after the war, fled Ireland for New France, as France offered land and opportunity to those Irish Troops and Irish citizens who fought on her behalf. One can safely assume France felt Irish, Scots, Welsh loyalty, and military experience would help Quebec in maintaining her sovereignty.
My Irish Descendents Link to Quebec
My direct family descendants served as Military Governor of Charlemont in Ireland under the Catholic King James of Britain in the 1700’s and upon King James death, were still loyal subjects until British Dissenter and Politician Oliver Cromwell coup d’etat abolished British Monarchy and the Catholic religion, along with the eradication of the Catholic Irish subjects in 1641-1649, our family in Ireland was basically royally and figuratively screwed, and became hunted as non persons, resulting in our hightailing it to France and immigration to Quebec whereby switching our allegiances to France for next 200 years in their fight against Britain’s battles for the takeover of Quebec City.
My descendants had settled in their new homestead, intermarrying in the Quebec Huron Indian Territories of the Charlesbourg - Montmorency Falls area East of Quebec City, where my family still live today and my hometown.
Eventually over the next 200 years many other Catholics from predominately Protestant Britain and Europe escaped to Quebec to make their mark on the world.
Today tens of millions of Canadian and United States citizens can trace their roots from a few thousand settlers who made North America what it is today, which has become one of the finest places to live on earth today and envied the world over as the Number #1 spot to immigrate to.
So in ending, Quebec's 400 year Anniversary and History is one to be celebrated by Americans as well as Canadians.
So for me Quebec’s 400th Anniversary has a special meaning for me, and if I like many cannot make the pilgrimage there, as least we will be there in Quebecois spirit.
Bonne fête La Belle Province
A visit to the doorstep where French exodus to Canada beganPeter O'Neil,
Canwest News ServicePublished: Saturday, March 15, 2008
TOUROUVRE, France -- Ralph Mercier was blinking away tears here while stepping inside an ancient stone farmhouse on the outskirts of this tiny town largely unknown in France but of profound importance to Canada's very existence.
It was from this same doorway the Quebec City municipal councillor's distant ancestor, Julien Mercier, walked out for the last time in 1647.
The 26-year-old single labourer, the youngest of eight orphaned children, was joining a local exodus to Canada of 283 area farmers, labourers and tradesmen during the 1630-1650 period.
This relatively tiny but prolific group of settlers, the forefathers of hundreds of thousands of North Americans from Madonna to Celine and Stephane Dion, was anxious to escape the suffocating tax demands of a French regime trying to finance the Thirty Years War on the backs of the peasantry.
"When you find yourself on the doorstep of your ancestor it is quite impressive," Mercier, 71, said this week of his autumn visit, part of the long string of events in France and Canada to mark the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's establishment of a fur trading post in Quebec City in 1608.