The History of Montreal reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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History of Montreal

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An Iroquois fort, Hochelaga, was already on the island when Jacques Cartier arrived on October 2, 1535. Samuel de Champlain visited again in 1603, but the French did not settle until 1642, when a group of priests, nuns, and colonists under Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded the village of Ville-Marie on May 17 of that year. One of the members of this group of settlers was Jeanne Mance, who, in 1644, founded the Hôtel-Dieu, the first hospital in North America.

The village grew and became an important centre of the fur trade. It was the jumping-off point for the French exploration of the interior by such explorers as Jolliet, La Salle, La Vérendrye, and Duluth.

The city was fortified in 1725 and remained French until 1760, when Pierre de Cavagnal, Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered it to the British army under Lord Geoffrey Amherst.

A fire destroyed one quarter of the town on May 18, 1765.

The city remained populated by a majority of Francophones until around the 1830s. From the 1830s, to about 1865, it was inhabited by a majority of Anglophones, most of recent immigration from the British Iles or other parts of British North America.

The city's growth was spurred by the opening of the Lachine Canal, which permitted ships to pass by the unnavigable Lachine Rapids south of the island. Montreal was the capital of the Province of Canada from 1844 to 1849. In 1852, Montreal had 58,000 inhabitants.

From 1861 to the Great Depression of 1930, Montreal went through what some historians call its golden age. What is today Old-Montreal was then the most important economic center of the Dominion of Canada.

The Canadian Pacific Railway made its headquarters here in 1880, and the Canadian National Railway in 1919.

With the annexation of neighbouring towns, Montreal became a mostly Francophone city again by the end of the 19th century. The tradition to alternate between a francophone and an anglophone mayor began and lasted until 1914.

Its international status was cemented by the World's Fair in 1967 and the Olympics in 1976. Montreal now constitutes one of the regions of Quebec.

As of January 1, 2002, the entire island of Montreal, home to 1.8 million people, as well as the several outlying islands that were also part of the Montreal Urban Community, were merged into a new "megacity". Some 27 suburbs as well as the former city were folded into several boroughs, named after their former cities or (in the case of parts of the former Montreal) districts.

Origin of the name

Montreal was named for the island of Montreal, which in turn was named for Mount Royal.

It is not certain how the name changed from Mont Royal to Mont Réal. In 1556, Italian geographer G.B. Ramusio translated Mont Royal to Monte Reale in a map. In 1575, François de Belleforest became the first to write Montreal, writing:

... au milieu de la compaigne est le village, ou Cité royale iointe à vne montaigne cultivée, laquelle ville les Chrestiens appellerent Montreal..
"In the middle of the field is the village or royal colony near a cultivated mountain. Christians call this town Montreal."

During the early 18th century, the name of the island came to be used as the name of the town. Two 1744 maps by Nicolas Bellin name the island Isle de Montréal and the town, Ville-Marie; but a 1726 map refers to the town as "la ville de Montréal." The name Ville-Marie soon fell into disuse to refer to the town, though today it is used to refer to the Montreal borough that includes downtown.

In the modern Iroquois language, Montreal is called Tiohtià:ke. Other native languages, such as Algonquin, refer to it as Moniang.

See also