“[W]e observed the enemy marching down towards us in three columns, at 10 they formed their line of battle, which was at least six deep, having their flanks covered by a thick wood on each side, into which they threw above 3,000 Canadians and Indians, who gauled us much; the regulars then marched briskly up to us, and gave us their first fire, at about 50 yards distance, which we did not return, as it was General Wolfe’s express Orders not to fire till they came within 20 yards of us….” (The British sergeant-major of Gen. Hopson’s Grenadiers)
On September 13, 1759, a battle was fought on the Plains of Abraham outside the old city of Québec. It was one of the turning-point battles in world history. Thanks to the British victory and the events that followed, Canada went from being a colony of France (New France) to being a colony of Great Britain. This permanently changed Canadian history. In many ways the outcome of the battle brought about several American attempts to seize Canada during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Ultimately it ensured that when Canada became an independent country it was part of the British Commonwealth with an Anglophone majority and a Francophone minority. Frictions over cultural and political issues between the English Canadians and the Québécois, dating back to the battle, continue to impact the state of affairs in Canada today.
While the battle had a profound impact, it has also been romanticized and mythologized beyond even epic proportions. Though often forgotten today, more than 250 years after the battle, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham was the culmination of a long siege.