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  Quebec  ( i /kw ɨˈ b ɛ k/ or /k ɨˈ b ɛ k/; French:  Québec   [kebɛk]  ( listen)) [7]  is a province in east-central Canada. [8][9]  It is the only Canadian province that has a predominantly French-speaking population, and the only one to have French as its sole provincial official language.  Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of  Nunavut is larger. It is bordered to the west by the province of  Ontario, James Bay and Hudson Bay, to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay, to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick. It is bordered on the south by the US states of  Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also sharesmaritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.  Quebec is Canada's second most populous province, after Ontario. Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal andQuebec City, the capital. English-speaking communities and English-language institutions are concentrated in the west of the island of Montreal but are also significantly present in the Outaouais, Eastern Townships,  and Gaspé regions. The Nord-du-Québec region, occupying the northern half of the province, is sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by Absrcinal peoples. [10]  Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and1995; both were voted down by voters, the latter defeated by a very narrow margin. [11]  In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motionrecognizing the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada. [12][13]  While the province's substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become a very economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output. Etymology and boundary changes The arrival of  Samuel de Champlain, the father of  New France, on the site of Quebec City.  The name Québec , which comes from the Algonquin word kébec  meaning where the river narrows , srcinally referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Québecq  (Levasseur, 1601) and Kébec  (Lescarbot 1609). [15]  French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec  in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of  New France. [16] The province is sometimes referred to as La belle province . The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of  Canada [17]  to Britain after theSeven Years' War. The proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 expanded the territory of the province to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley and south of  Rupert's Land, more or less restoring the borders previously existing under French rule before the Conquest. [18]  The Treaty of Versailles ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. [19]  After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada (present day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present day Ontario), with each being granted an elected legislative assembly. [20]  In 1840, these become Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. [21]  This territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867. [22]  Each became one of the first four provinces.  Geography  Located in the eastern part of Canada and (from a historical and political perspective) part of Central Canada, Quebec occupies a territory nearly three times the size of France or Texas, most of which is very sparsely populated. [26]  Its area is very different from one region to another due to the varying composition of the ground, the climate (latitude and altitude) and the proximity to water. The Saint Lawrence Lowland (south) and the Canadian Shield (north) are the two main topographic regions and are radically different.   History Indigenous peoples and European exploration At the time of first European contact and later colonization, Algonquian, Iroquois and Inuit tribes were the peoples who inhabited what is now Quebec. [62]  Their lifestyles and cultures reflected the land on which they lived. Seven Algonquian groups lived nomadic lives based on hunting, gathering, and fishing in the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield: (James Bay Cree, Innu, Algonquins) and Appalachian Mountains (Mi'kmaq, Abenaki). St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a branch of the Iroquois, lived more settled lives, planting squash and maize in the fertile soils of the St. Lawrence Valley. They appear to have been later supplanted by the Mohawk tribe. The Inuit continue to fish and hunt whale and seal in the harsh Arctic climate along the coasts of Hudson and Ungava Bay. These people traded fur and food and sometimes warred with each other. Basque whalers and fishermen traded furs with Saguenay natives throughout the 16th century. [63]  The first French explorer to reach Quebec was Jacques Cartier, [64]  who planted a cross in 1534 at either Gaspé or Old Fort Bay on the Lower North Shore. He sailed into the St. Lawrence River in 1535 and established an ill-fated colony near present-day Quebec City at the site of  Stadacona, a village of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. Linguists and archaeologists have determined these people were distinct from the Iroquoian nations encountered by later French and Europeans, such as the five nations of the Haudenosaunee. Their language was Laurentian, one of the Iroquoian family. By the late 16th century, they had disappeared from the St. Lawrence Valley. Language The official language of Quebec is French. Quebec is the only Canadian province whose population is mainly francophone;  6,102,210 people (78.1 percent of the population) recorded it as their sole native language in the 2011 Census, and 6,249,085 (80.0%) recorded that they spoke it most often at home. [140]  Knowledge of French is widespread even among those who do not speak it natively; in 2011, about 94.4 percent of the total population reported being able to speak French, alone or in combination with other languages, while 47.3% reported being able to speak English. [140]  In 2011, 599,230 people (7.7 percent of the population) people in Quebec declared English to be their mother tongue, and 767,415 (9.8 percent) used it most often as their home language [140]  The English-speaking community or Anglophones are entitled to services in English in the areas of justice, health, and education; [141]  services in English are offered in municipalities in which more than half the residents have English as their mother tongue. Allophones, people whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, made up 12.3 percent (961,700) of the population, according to the 2011 census, though a smaller figure - 554,400 (7.1 percent) - actually used these languages most often in the home. [140]   Economy   Quebec has an advanced, market-based, and open economy. In 2009, its gross domestic product (GDP) of US$ 32,408 per capita at purchasing power parity puts the province at par with Japan, Italy and Spain, but remains lower than the Canadian average of US$ 37,830 per capita. [145][ citation not found  ]  The economy of Quebec is ranked the 37th largest economy in the world just behind Greece and 28th for the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The economy of Quebec represents 20.36% of the total GDP of Canada. Like most industrialized countries, the economy of Quebec is based mainly on theservices sector.   Quebec's economy has traditionally been fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and average productivity. The provincial GDP in 2010 was C$ 319,348 billion, [148]  which makes Quebec the second largest economy in Canada. National symbols Main article: Symbols of Quebec  Fleur-de-lys In 1939, the government of Quebec unilaterally ratified its coat of arms to reflect Quebec's political history: French rule (gold lily on blue background), British rule (lion on red background) and Canadian rule (maple leaves) and with Quebec's motto below Je me souviens . [284]  Je me souviens ( I remember ) was first carved under the coat of arms of Quebec's Parliament Building façade in 1883. It is an official part of the coat of arms and has been the official license plate motto since 1978, replacing La belle province (the beautiful province). The expression La belle province  is still used mostly in tourism as a nickname for the province. [ citation needed  ]   The  Fleurdelisé  flying atPlace d'Armes in Montreal. The fleur-de-lis, the ancient symbol of the French monarchy, first arrived on the shores of the Gaspésie in 1534 with Jacques Cartier on his first voyage. When Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608, his ship hoisted the merchant flag of a white cross on a blue background. By 1758 at the Battle of Carillon, the Flag of Carillon would become the basis of Quebec's desire to have its own flag. By 1903, the parent of today's flag had taken shape, known as the Fleurdelisé . The flag in its present form with its 4 white fleur-de-lis  lilies on a blue background with a white cross replaced the Union Jack on Quebec's Parliament Building on January 21, 1948. Other official symbols The floral emblem of Quebec is the  Iris versicolor  . [6]      Since 1987 the avian emblem of Quebec has been the Snowy Owl. [6]      An official tree, the yellow birch ( bouleau jaune , merisier  ), symbolises the importance Quebecers give to the forests. The tree is known for the variety of its uses and commercial value, as well as its autumn colours. [6]  In 1998 the Montreal Insectarium sponsored a poll to choose an official insect. The White Admiral butterfly ( Limenitis arthemis ) [285]  won with 32% of the 230 660 votes against the Spotted lady beetle ( Coleomegilla maculata lengi  ), the Ebony Jewelwing damselfly ( Calopteryx maculata ), a species of  bumble bee ( Bombus impatiens ) and the six-spotted tiger beetle ( Cicindela sexguttata sexguttata ).
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