The Republic of Quebec (French: Le Republique du Québec), also known as Quebec, is a Francophone North American nation located north of the United States and east of Mainland Canada. It borders Atlantic Canada to the east. Quebec is a parliamentary republic, with a mostly honorary President and a Prime Minister who serves as head of the government. The capital of Quebec is Quebec City, and its largest city is Montreal. The current President of Quebec is Lucien Bouchard, and its Prime Minister is Pauline Marois.
Quebec was formerly known as New France and became part of British Canada in the 1760s following the end of the Seven Years War. Quebec maintained a strongly independent streak compared to the rest of Canada for much of its history, and was the site of bloody violence in the 1920s as the province most staunchly opposed to the Communist takeover that had easily succeeded in the Prairies and in Ontario. From the 1930s and onward, Quebec remained the Canadian Worker's Party's most pressing domestic concern, though the centralization-based rule of the "Red Three" and national unity during World War II helped keep passions cool until the late 1960s. The Laval Riots in 1969 proved a turning point in the relationship between the CWP in Ottawa and regional governors in Quebec - in 1970, Ottawa assumed direct control of Quebec, pushing out the moderate socialists led by Pierre Laporte and Robert Bourassa who had run the province since the 1930s and installing John Paul Harney, a chief Tommy Douglas ally who would run the province until 1989.
Towards the middle to late 20th century, a distinct Quebecois nationalist movement began in Communist Canada, most notably when Pierre Trudeau, himself a native Quebecois, was made Premier of Canada in 1971. Trudeau's rise and staunch opposition to Quebec sovereigntists - most notably in his jailing and torture of Jacques Parizeau at Chehalis Prison in British Columbia - led to the birth of the Bloc Quebecois political movement, which was made illegal in 1972, and the rise of the violent right-wing paramilitary group the Front Quebec (FQ), which notably assassinated General Secretary David Lewis in 1977, and the simultaneous rise of the Marxist separatist group FLQ. Ethnic violence rose in the early 1980s in Quebec between the separatist, overwhelmingly Catholic and anti-Communist Francophone population and the pro-federal, Protestant Anglophones who were generally split in their attitude towards Communist rule.
Quebec became the site of major demonstrations in the 1980s, both against Communist rule and in favor of Quebecois separatism, two movements that rapidly became intertwined. Many Quebecois sympathized with the Progressive Alliance movement led for Brian Mulroney and there was a massive demonstration in 1985 upon Mulroney's arrest in Gatineau where peaceful protestors were shot at by Canadian National Army guards while crossing the Champlain Bridge into Ottawa. Two years later, when a similarly massive protest was held in Montreal upon the anniversary of the Champlain Bridge Massacre, the Turner government did not attack protestors out of fear of similar international condemnation suffered in 1985, showing a lack of interest in the Canadian government in cracking down on sovereigntists and in one day legitimizing the movement. Parizeau was released from prison in 1988 and was elected as the first freely elected Premier of Quebec in 1990 provincial elections as head of the Parti Quebecois, while Lucien Bouchard became floor leader of the Bloc Quebecois in the Canadian Parliament.
Following the end of communist rule in Canada with the 1989 elections and the end of Canadian recognition of itself as a British state, Prime Minister Mulroney promised a referendum on Quebecois sovereignty. In the October 1995 referendum, Quebecois were given the options of "Federation," "Sovereign Status" or "Independence." 54% of Quebecois chose Independence, and on November 24, 1995 Quebec officially seceded from the Federation of Canada. Parizeau would stand down as Prime Minister after a mere week in power to assume the Presidency that December, and was replaced by Lucien Bouchard after a contentious leadership election that proved enormously divisive for the PQ.
Bouchard resigned leadership of the dominant Parti Quebecois political party in 2001 after a term wracked by economic difficulties and returning to power with a mere minority government after the 1998 elections and Bernard Landry took over, governing until he was defeated in the 2003 elections by the Parti Liberal Quebecois under Jean Charest. Charest was reelected with a minority in 2007 and after the hung parliament in the 2008 snap election formed an alliance with the center-right CAQ. The current Prime Minister, Pauline Marois, took office in November of 2012 after leading PQ back to power over the CAQ-PLQ alliance.