Gaspé

 Gaspé, Qué, City, pop 14 819 (2006c), 14 932 (2001c), inc 1971. Gaspé is located on the bay bearing the same name. The name extends to an entire region, the GASPÉ PENINSULA. The origin and meaning of the name is unclear but may have derived from the Micmac word meaning "land's end." Following the amalgamation of 12 neighbouring localities between Anse-à-Valleau and Pointe-St-Pierre in 1971, Gaspé is now one of Québec's largest municipalities in area.

It is one of the oldest settlements in North America: on 24 July 1534, Jacques CARTIER took possession of Canada on behalf of the king of France and placed a cross at this location, which very soon became a fishing port and supply centre for NEW FRANCE. Between 1628 and 1760, Gaspé was the scene of several incidents between the French and English. Sir William PHIPS's troops burned the village in 1690 and the English built a fort there just before the Conquest. After the American Revolution, many LOYALISTS settled in the area. Since then the population has been largely French speaking.

Cod and salmon fishing dominated the economy for many years, but today other activities such as forestry, trade and tourism play a key role. A regional history and folklore museum opened in 1976; a nearby monument commemorates the arrival of Cartier. Across the Baie de Gaspé is FORILLON NATIONAL PARK.