The archaeologist found proof that shows that various nomadic First Nations native people lived on the island of Montreal for at least 2,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans. In the year AD 1000, the people started to prepare the land, so they could grow corn. They began constructing villages within a few hundred years of living there. There were two different nations of Iroquois, the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, and the Iroquois nation of the Haudenosaunee, then based in present-day New York. The St. Lawrence Iroquoians created the village of Hochelaga at the foot of Mount Royal long before the French arrived. Since the 14th century, archeologists have come across proof of their habitation there and also in other areas in the valley. There was known to be at least a thousand or more native people at Hochelaga when the French explorer Jacques Cartier visited Hochelaga on October 2, 1535.
70 years later the French explorer Samuel de Champlain let it be known that the St, Lawerence Iroquoians and their villages were gone from the St. Lawerence valley. It could have been due to outmigration, or an outbreak of European diseases, or intertribal wars. In 1611, Champlain had built a fur trading post on the island of Montreal, which was originally known as La Place Royale. At the coming together of Petite Riviere and St Lawrence River, is where present-day Pointe-a-Calliere stands. In 1639, Jerome Le Royer de La Dauversiere gained the Seigneurial title to the island of Montreal, it was known as Societe de Notre-Dame de Montreal to create a Roman Catholic organization for evangelizing natives. Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve was the authority of the people in the colony, which was established on May 17, 1642.
Ville-Marie was the main area for the fur trade and a base to expand the French exploration in North America. During the beginning of the 18th century, the Sulpician Order was formed there. To inspire the French settlement, they wanted the Mohawk to vacate the fur trading post at Ville-Marie. They reasoned with them to create a new settlement in their original hunting grounds north of the Ottawa River. It was known as Kanesatake. In 1760, when Great Britain won the Seven Years war that is when the Canadian territory was no longer known as a French colony.
In 1832, Montreal was united as a city. With the first part of the Lachine Canal finished it allowed ships to go around the unnavigable Lachine Rapids, while the building of the Victoria Bridge made Montreal major railway hub. By 1860, it was the biggest city in British North America and had the best economy and cultural center of Canada.
From 1844 to 1849, Montreal remained the capital of the Province of Canada until a mob from Tory burnt down the Parliament building to protest the movement of the Rebellion Losses bill. For more important reasons, the government turned Ottawa into the capital, because it was centrally located in the nation.
At the end of World War I, the Prohibition act of the United States caused Montreal to become the place for Americans wanting alcohol. There were a lot of people out of work and it got worse with the crash of the stock market in 1929 and the Great Depression.
With World War II going on, Mayor Camillien Houde strongly objected to the registry from the government and wanted the Montrealers disobey the federal government's registry of all men and women. The Ottawa government was furious at Houde. Houde's stand caused him to be imprisoned until 1944. That year the government decided to establish the draft to be able to bring more people into the armed forces.
There were more than a million people in Montreal by the year of 1951. The Saint Lawrence Seaway was done being built in 1959, which allowed vessels to take alternative routes around Montreal. As time went by, this development caused the end of the city's economic control as businesses left to relocate to other areas. The continuing growth of Montreal through the 1960s included the World's Fair, known as Expo 67, the building of Canada's tallest skyscrapers, new expressways being constructed, and the introduction of the Montreal Metro system.
The 1970s brought in a large range of social and political changes, causing a lot of concern from the French speaking majority of people about protecting their culture and language, given the traditional predominance of the English-Canadian group in the business area. The departure of an abundance of businesses and people from the city was a direct result of the October Crisis and the 1976 election of the Parti Quebecois support for the sovereign status for Quebec. In 1976, the Olympics were to take place in Montreal. As the 1980s and the 1990s approached, Montreal suffered a slower rate of economic growth, compared to many of the other major Canadian cities. During the late 1990s, Montreal's economy started to improve due to new firms and institutions starting to build up the traditional business and financial niches.
On January 1, 2002, Montreal was combined with 27 other cities on the island of Montreal. The union created the consolidated of the city of Montreal, which was spread over the entire island. There was a perception by the people who lived in the suburbs. They thought there was pressure being placed on the English suburbs by the Parti Quebecois to merge. The people resisted the merger, because of their persistence. The merger was not appreciated and many of the mergers later on no longer existed. Many of the former cities, totaling 13% of the population of the island, decided to leave the recently combined city in separate referendums in June 2004. When the separation took place on January 1, 2006, there were 15 cities on the island, including Montreal. The separated cities remained. They were still associated with the city through with the gathering of the council that collected taxes from them to pay for a number of shared services.
The 21st century created restoration to the city's economy and cultural landscape. The building of new living residents such as skyscrapers, two super-hospitals, both of which are the largest in Canada, the creation of the Quartier des Spectacles, the rebuilding of the Turcot highways, rearrangement of the Decarie and Doval highways, restoration of Griffontown, metro line extensions and the purchase of the new metro-cars, the finished part and expansion of Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, the finishing of Quebec Autroroute 30, the building of a new toll-bridge to Laval are helping bring Montreal into the 21st era.