Places in World Most Likely to Secede Quebec Part 1

About Quebec a place in the world likely to secede from Canada, size, population, and history of conflict.

MOST LIKELY TO SECEDE

QUEBEC

Size: 594,860 sq. mi. (1,540,689 sq. km.).

Population: 6.2 million.

During the past 15 years in Canada, French-speaking radical organizations and more moderate political parties have struggled with ever increasing success for the independence of Quebec Province. The separatist movement is generated by a conviction that the language and culture of Quebec's French-speaking citizens will eventually be destroyed in a country like Canada, which is dominated politically and economically by an English-speaking majority. According to Quebec historian Robert-Lionel Seguin, "The trouble is we [Quebec's French Canadians] are still colonized, politically and economically.... Only [Quebec's] independence can give us mastery of our economy, which today is necessary for cultural survival."

In Canada as a whole, English-speakers--Anglophones--outnumber French-speakers--Francophones--by three to one. However, in Quebec, 81% of the population are Francophones and only 13% are Anglophones, while 6% speak American Indian languages. Within Quebec are concentrated 5 million of Canada's 6 million Francophones. Quebec City is the province's capital, but Montreal with a metropolitan population of 2.8 million is its largest city.

Sailing up the St. Lawrence River in 1608, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City and the colony of New France. In the next 150 years, 60,000 French immigrated to the Canadian colony. In 1759, during the French and Indian wars, a British army stormed Quebec City and conquered Canada from France. To pacify Quebec's Francophones, the British conquerors allowed them to retain their Catholic religion and French civil law system.

In the following years, Canada was flooded with English immigrants, but thanks to a high birthrate, the Francophones remained the dominant population group of Quebec Province. However, government and business in Quebec were in the hands of an English-speaking elite, while the Francophones composed the lower classes of workers and small farmers. Resentment of English control of the province's power and wealth led to a rebellion in 1837, by Francophones called the Patriotes. The uprising resulted in open warfare, with British troops smashing the rebel forces, hanging the leaders, and burning French farms and villages.

In 1867 Britain gave Canada its independence, and to placate the Francophone minority, French was recognized as an official language along with English in Quebec. Not until the 1960s did Francophone movements seriously and effectively begin to work for Quebec's secession from Canada.

In the 1960s, Quebec was economically transformed from a rural, agrarian province into an industrial and commercial center. With this industrial revolution came a new social awareness on the part of Francophones. They realized that the best jobs in government, the civil service, business, and the professional fields, such as law and medicine, were reserved for Quebec's Anglophone minority. Francophones were second-class citizens who had to adopt the English language and Anglo customs in order to better themselves socially and economically.

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