The end of the French Regime and the British Conquest
For the French, the 18th century began with the loss of Hudson Bay, of Newfoundland, and of Acadia, all taken over by the British.
Then there came the Seven Years’ War (known in Quebec as the War of the Conquest) and the cities of Québec and Montréal both fell to the British.
Finally, in 1763, when the Treaty of Paris was signed by both nations, territorial sovereignty of Canada was transferred to Great Britain. However, the British government opted in favour of tolerance and passed the Québec Act of 1774, by which French civil law was restored, therefore ensuring the use of their mother tongue by the French-speaking population.
In 1791, King George III of England signed the Constitutional Act by which the colony was divided into two provinces: Upper Canada, with a mainly English-speaking population, and French-speaking Lower Canada.
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