Canada was a French colony within New France first claimed in the name of the King of France in 1535 during the second voyage of Jacques Cartier. The word "Canada" at this point referred to the territory along the Saint Lawrence River, then known as the Canada river, from Grosse Island in the east to a point between Quebec and Three Rivers, although this territory had greatly expanded by 1600. French explorations continued "unto the Countreys of Canada, Hochelaga, and Saguenay" before any permanent settlements were established. Even though a permanent trading post and habitation was established at Tadoussac in 1600, at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers, it was under a trade monopoly and thus not constituted as an official French colonial settlement.
Although the terms "Canada" and "New France" are sometimes used interchangeably, "New France actually represents a much broader portion of North American territory than the Great Lakes-St Lawrence colony of Canada". The Seven Years' War saw Great Britain defeat the French and their allies and take possession of Canada. In the Treaty of Paris of 1763, which formally ended the conflict, France renounced its claim to Canada in exchange for other colonies and the colony became the British colony of Quebec.
A 1740 survey of the population of the St. Lawrence River valley counted about 44,000 colonists, the majority born in Canada. Of those, 18,000 lived under the Government of Quebec, 4,000 under the Government of Trois-Rivières and 22,000 under the Government of Montreal. The population was mostly rural; Quebec had 4,600 inhabitants; Trois-Rivières had 378; and Montreal had 4,200 inhabitants. Also, Île Royale had 4,000 inhabitants (of which 1,500 were in Louisbourg), and Île Saint-Jean had 500 inhabitants. Acadia had 8,000 inhabitants.