Quebec City (French: Québec) is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec. Located at a commanding position on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway, Quebec City's Old Town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only city in North America (outside Mexico and the Caribbean) with its original city walls. Quebec is a city of about 700,000 residents.
Quebec City is the capital city of the province of Quebec. Much of the business here is of the administrative and bureaucratic nature, which would normally make a city quite dull. Fortunately, the city has a remarkable history, as the fortress capital of New France since the 17th century. Although the town's day-to-day life leaves things a little yawny at times, the vibrant historical centre makes for an incredible visit. Quebec was first settled by Europeans in 1608 in an "habitation" led by Samuel de Champlain and celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008. The generally accepted dates of Champlain's arrival in the city are July 3rd and 4th and were marked with major celebrations. The area was also inhabited by Native peoples for many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, and their ongoing presence has been notable since then. Founded by the French to make a claim in the New World, the name Quebec originally referred to just the city. It is an aboriginal word for "where the river narrows" as the St. Lawrence River dramatically closes in just east of the city. It is situated on 200 foot high cliffs with stunning views of the surrounding Laurentian mountains and the St. Lawrence River. Under French rule (1608-1759), the major industries were the fur and lumber trades. The French lost the city and its colony of New France to the British in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Much of the French nobility returned to France which resulted in British ruling over the remaining French population. Fortunately, the rulers of the colony allowed the French to retain their language and religion leaving much of the culture intact. The 1840s saw an influx of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine. Due to cholera and typhus outbreaks, ships were quarantined at Grosse Ile to the east of the city past l'Ile d'Orleans. The bodies of those who perished on the journey and while in quarantine are buried there. The city remained under British rule until 1867 when Lower Canada (Quebec) joined Upper Canada (Ontario), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to form the Dominion of Canada.