geographical name

City (pop., 2001: metro. area, 3,426,350), southeastern Canada. It occupies about one-third of Île de Montréal (Montreal Island), near the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers. The metropolitan area encompasses Montréal and other islands, as well as both shores of the St. Lawrence. It is built on the slopes of a mountain, Mont-Royal, from which the city's name is derived. English and French are spoken throughout the city, which is the chief centre of French-Canadian industry and culture. The site was occupied by the Huron Indian settlement of Hochelaga when visited by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535. The first European settlement was founded by the French in 1642 and was given the name Ville-Marie de Montréal. Rapid colonization based on the fur trade began in the first half of the 18th century, and the city soon grew beyond its walls. It surrendered to British forces in 1760 and, with all of New France, became part of the British North American empire in 1763. Montreal served as the capital of Canada from 1844 to 1849. It is one of Canada's chief ports for both oceangoing and inland shipping. It is Canada's second-largest city and a major cultural centre, with a complex of theatre and concert halls and several museums. It is the seat of the English-language McGill University and Concordia University, and of the French-language University de Montréal and the University du Québec à Montréal.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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