Portrait of the territory

The territory of Lower Canada extended from south of Montréal to north of Lac Saint-Jean. The majority of its population lived along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, which was a route that led to the interior of the continent.

This great waterway in the centre of the territory branched out into numerous channels and made travelling easier while encouraging trade. At the time, most people farmed for a living. They cultivated the fertile land and then sold their surplus at the market. The relief of the territory, with its plains,  made it good for farming. To earn more money, other people became lumberjacks in the winter and cut wood in the huge forests.

Seigneuries and townships

New territories were being colonized with the arrival of the English. Those who arrived from the United States were called Loyalists; they mainly settled in the Eastern Townships region. In the French tradition, land was divided into seigneuries. But among the English, land was divided into Townships. Land in the Townships was divided into squares, giving the territory a checkered appearance.

The territory of Lower Canada therefore became a mix of French and English culture, with seigneuries all along the St. Lawrence River and Townships further to the south near the U.S. border. Not everyone lived in the countryside, however. There were also towns like Québec City, Montréal and Trois-Rivières.

Author: Léon Robichaud



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