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North And, Central America

Canada

Why do they speak French in Québec

Most of Québec speaks French because the French founded the city of Québec, one of the oldest cities in North America, in the seventeenth century. Québec served as the capital of the surrounding New France until the British took control of the territory in 1763. Even though it was ruled by the British from the eighteenth century onward, the region that was once held by France has remained a center of French culture and language in North America.

The differences in culture between the province of Québec and the rest of Canada have been so extreme that there are strong secessionist forces within Québec that want Québec to become its own country. Though two referendums for Québec’s independence have been voted upon in Canada-wide elections, both the 1980 and 1995 referendums failed to pass. But these failures have not quieted Québec’s secessionist forces, and it is likely that future referendums will be held. If passed, many believe that the secession of Québec would dissolve the loose Canadian federation.



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