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Quebec City, founded in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, was once the location of a small Iroquois village known as Stadaconé. Taking its name from the Algonquin word "Kebec," meaning "where the river becomes narrow," the settlement of Quebec City would grow to become the center of French colonial efforts in North America throughout the 17th century.
During its early development, Quebec City served not only as a valuable trade outpost, but also as a home to various Christian missionaries and an increasing number of permanent settlers. The fur and lumber industries provided the French with valuable resources that strengthened early efforts to expand their reach in North America. Briefly passing under British rule from 1629 until 1632, the city would otherwise be controlled by the French for over 150 years, despite several attempted sieges. In 1663, Quebec City was officially named the capital of New France, having already served as the capital of French Canada since its founding.
The French would finally lose control of the colony in 1759 to the British during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Britain would remain in control of Quebec City until the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Following the Constitution Act of Canada, Quebec City would become the capital of the Canadian Province of Quebec.
Today, Quebec City is home to over 500,000 residents, and continues to thrive with a rich cultural heritage. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, Quebec City still maintains much of the historic architecture from its colonial roots. Of particular interest are the famous Château Frontenac hotel, and the Roman Catholic Churches of Notre-Dame de Québec and Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, both originally constructed in the 17th century.