Quebec (in French, Québec) is a province in the central part of Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking, Catholic population referred to as ethnic "French Canadiens" or "Quebecois" and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level. Other elements of French tradition, such as the civil law legal system, also remain strong in Quebec.
Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and the second largest in terms of population. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario, James Bay, and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; it is bordered on the south by the province of New Brunswick and the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
Quebec was conquered by Britain during the Seven Years' War. After a failed period of attempted assimilation, Britain instead opted to enfranchise the French language and Catholic religion in Quebec in 1774. A precarious balance was achieved between British and French interests. However, the arrival of Loyalists from the newly independent United States in 1784 caused an imbalance. The colony was separated into Lower and Upper Canada. Lower Canada saw a French uprising in the 1830s. After this uprising was put down, the two Canadas were merged into a single province. As the various provinces of what became the modern country of Canada were formed, and unified into a single country during the course of the 19th Century, Quebec was reinstated as a province, and joined the Dominion of Canada.
Nonetheless, Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995; both were voted down by voters, the latter defeated by a very narrow margin. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada."
The Republic of Quebec was one part of a Balkanized Canada. It launched an invasion of the Maritimes. The Prime Minister of the Maritimes called on the United States to arrange a cease-fire and a peace-keeping mission.
Quebec generally resented its status under Canadian rule. The Quebecois were forced to serve in the Canadian Army, which was seen as representing Anglophone interests. This along with the historical grudge against Britain led to the creation of a sense of disaffection among Quebecois. After the United States overran most of the province in the Great War, the U.S. government exploited this disaffection by creating the Republic of Quebec.
The Republic was officially declared on 15 April 1917. It was immediately granted diplomatic recognition by all members of the Central Powers as well as neutral nations such as Italy and the Netherlands. The new republic had the same boundaries it did as a province of Canada. It was heavily influenced by United States. Quebecois troops were sent to occupy Canada while the United States prepared for the Second Great War. Quebec was neutral, but they helped the U.S. fight the Canadian rebellion during the war.
While the elder generations of Quebecois who were born Canadian were not completely comfortable with their nationhood and circumstances of their independence, the younger generations born as citizens of the Republic were quite happy as a sovereign nation.