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History of Montreal

Native tribes such as the Algonkian, Huron and Iroquois staked their claim to the area before the first European settler Sieur de Maisonneuve established a mission Ville Marie here in 1642. Soon, a fur trading post named after Mont Royal, the mountain in the centre of the island, was established here. The Native Indians constantly attacked the new settlement till a treaty was signed in 1700. In 1759, the British conquered Quebec City, forcing the French to shift their capital to Montreal for a while. Finally in 1760, the British took over Montreal, opening the door for many settlers to come here.

American Revolutionary forces took over the city in 1775 but were soon forced to beat a hasty retreat. By the mid-19th century, prosperous Montreal became the capital of the United Provinces of Canada, charting its way to further growth with the development of shipping and railroad transport. The beginning of the 20th century saw a major influx of Jews and immigrants from different countries. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Prohibition in the U.S resulted in Montreal becoming Sin City with gangsters, prostitution and gambling dominating the social scene.

Things changed for the better under Mayor Jean Drapeau, in office from 1954 to mid 80s (except for a few years in the '60s). Montreal cleaned up its act and got to host the World's Fair in 1967 and the Olympics in 1976. The 21st century has seen more development but also a lot of debate about the changes and the identity of the city!


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