An Illustrated History of Quebec: Tradition and Modernity
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Some 7,500 years ago, the continental ice sheet retreated from the landscape we now know as Quebec. This cold, unique, and beautiful land has continued to shift with the movement of peoples and their often troubled interactions. The retreating ice marks the beginning of this fascinating and richly illustrated history. Peter Gossage and Jack Little recount the history of Quebec from the earliest days to the present in concise and elegant prose. By around 1000 BCE the Iroquois of the St. Lawrence Valley were making pottery and cultivating crops, with evidence of trade as far as the Gulf of Mexico. Of course European contact changed this world forever, from the introduction of metal to the introduction of Christianity. Early settlements became a militarized colony; Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham; and control of the colony's commerce slipped into the hands of English-speaking merchants, setting the stage for political conflict in the early nineteenth century. At the same time, the Industrial Revolution brought increased tension between tradition and modernity-two forces that even today can be difficult to reconcile. Quebec, in its often uneasy union with the rest of Canada (not to mention its own Aboriginal peoples), continues to evolve as its population becomes ever more diverse. Detailed chapters on modern Quebec evaluate the political turmoil of recent years, from constitutional wrangles, to the Oka crisis, to sovereignty discussions, and the debate about cultural accommodation. Quebec remains a "curious and fascinating political space," a beacon of French-language culture in North America, and an extraordinary nation within a nation. Rarely seen illustrations are accompanied by in-depth captions, opening a world of visual narrative to the history of this complex society.