Chapter 2 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources

An apostolic

The founding of

Putting down roots

Chapter 2 / VILLE-MARIE / The founding of Montréal  Previous pageNext page
The founding of Montréal  

The expedition arrived in Montréal on May 17, 1642. Maisonneuve built a fort and a central building on the site Champlain had spotted in 1611. About fifty people, including a few women, would spend their first winter in Montréal.

Maisonneuve attempted to persuade a few Amerindians on their way up- or downriver to settle near the French colony. The Iroquois, however, were establishing control over the routes used in the fur trade, and viewed the foundation of a colony in Montréal as a direct threat. They attacked the Montréalistes, killing or kidnapping some of them. This state of siege forced the settlers to live almost entirely within the fort, thus restricting agricultural development. Ville-Marie found itself on the defensive, its dream of attracting Amerindian allies fading fast.

Despite these challenges, Ville-Marie’s inhabitants managed to mount an effective defence and to benefit from breaks in the fighting. In 1645, they took advantage of a truce to build a hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu. Nonetheless, ten years after its foundation, Montréal’s population had not grown from its original fifty settlers.

Map of the Ville-Marie fort
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Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve
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