Montréal, August 4, 2014 – On August 4, 1701, Louis-Hector de Callière, Governor of New France, and the delegates of 39 aboriginal nations signed the treaty marking the Great Peace of Montréal, on the very site of Pointe-à-Callière. This unique event was a decisive milestone in the history of Montréal and of international diplomacy.
To commemorate this historic episode, Pointe-à-Callière is launching an all-new virtual exhibition entitled 1701, The Great Peace of Montréal that immerses us in the fascinating story of this diplomatic and cultural saga, explaining its impact at the time and its repercussions on society today. This online exhibit was developed through a partnership with the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) at virtualmuseum.ca, an initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“The Great Peace of Montréal was a real triumph, bringing together in Montréal representatives of nations with very different cultures and motivations, in a socio-political context marked by decades of conflicts,” explains Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière. She noted that the Museum had also marked the 300th anniversary of the treaty in 2001 with an exhibition and cultural activities. “I am proud that we have now added a virtual exhibition to this commemoration.”
De Callière and Kondiaronk, two main players
Remember that it was after long and perilous rounds of negotiations that Governor Louis-Hector de Callière issued an invitation to make peace, in the summer of 1701, with the support of Native leaders. Kondiaronk, Chief of the Huron-Wendats and a skilled diplomat, also played a key role. De Callière gave him the complex task of persuading some thirty Great Lakes nations, all of them independent, to place their trust in their longstanding enemies, the Iroquois, as well as the French.
The some 1,300 Native delegates from different nations, including the Five Nations Iroquois, also included the Illinois, Crees, Abenakis, and other allied Great Lakes nations. The ratification of the treaty spelled an end to Franco-Iroquois wars, and conflicts between the Iroquois and the Great Lakes nations over the fur trade.
The virtual exhibition draws on a wealth of archival material to illustrate the different stages that led to the signing of the treaty in Montréal. The site presents a timeline of events, diplomatic rituals, historic locales, and the treaty itself. Reaching peace was a delicate process, and the diplomatic negotiations that took place in Montréal show just how complex a process it was.
Thanks to this site and its fascinating content, people of all ages can explore the historic context and the consequences of this great gathering in 1701. Users can also help commemorate the event by adding their symbols to a peace mosaic. Educational tools have been specifically designed for secondary school teachers to complement the virtual exhibition.
A virtual zone with plenty to offer
The exhibition complements the Museum’s already great line-up of virtual exhibitions and games in the Game Zone section of its website at pacmuseum.qc.ca. These games, valuable tools for teaching history and archaeology, revolve around historic themes linked to the history of Montréal.
Pointe-à-Callière is the only major archaeology museum in all of Québec and Canada; its museum complex rises above a concentrated number of national historic and archaeological sites that illustrate major eras in the history of Montréal, Québec, and Canada. It opened in 1992, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montréal. Pointe-à-Callière’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history, and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks concerned with archaeology, history, and urban issues.
About The Virtual Museum of Canada
The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC), managed by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), is an initiative that allows for the creation of digital Canadian heritage, historical, and cultural content through virtual exhibitions and other digital resources, making them available to a national and international audience. The content is produced by some 1,600 CHIN partner museums.
The Museum is subsidized by the City of Montréal.