History of Quebec and Canada/Study Guide/Topic 2: Major Effects of the Change of Empires
After the Seven Years War ended in 1760, the French signed a treaty with the British in Paris in February 1763. This treaty is known as the Treaty of Paris (because it was signed there), and resulted in many changes for the French. In this situation, as with any major change of government, the British did not want to upset the French too much. This would create a revolution seeing as they made up 95% of the population in the northern part of their new territory. They set up what is known as a transitional government, until they could agree on the new laws and regulations for their colony. The laws and daily life did not change much during the transitional government. One of the most noticeable changes was a change in the map. The French no longer had any territory on the mainland of North America. But the British did leave them with 2 very small islands of the coast of Newfoundland; known as St.Pierre and Miquelon, and allowed them to land their ships on the shores of Newfoundland so that they may dry the fish, but forbid them to live there. These two islands are still French colonies today. All of the territory that had been colonized by the French, was now in British hands. Their territory stretched as far west as Alberta and as far South as Louisiana. Other changes include the fact that the French Canadiens were then obliged to take an oath of allegiance to King George III, the King of Great Britain at the time and the French military soldiers were ordered to surrender their weapons. Most of the French soldiers were sent back to France as well as most French nobles, and were replaced by a British Governor who would continue to rule the territory according to laws that had been made under French rule. However the militia captains that had been in charge during French regime were reinstated. Their job was to communicate messages from the British officers to the public, the reason being that the British knew that the Canadiens would listen to a militia officer they knew more than a British one that they did not know at all, and did not like much either. In order not to upset the Canadiens too much, they retained ownership of their lands (including the slaves they owned) and they could not be deported. Also, even though Great Britain was officially Protestant, the Canadiens were allowed to continue practicing the Catholic religion. A lot of people did decide to take the journey back to France although this was mostly wealthy seigneurs who had enough money to start over in France. The Governor General and the Intendant left as well as the members of the Sovereign council. The total people departed is estimated at about 4000. The war also had an impact on Canadiens society. Quebec City was almost completely in ruins after its bombardment and it is estimated that about 10 000 Canadiens went missing or died during the war out of New France's total population of 85 000.
In October 1763 King George III of Britain signed the first constitution, known as The Royal Proclamation. This described London's plans for its new colony and also changed the borders of the empire. Canada became known as the Province of Quebec and was confined to the St.Laurence Valley and the areas around Gaspé.