Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Abraham, Plains of from The Columbia Encyclopedia

fairly level field adjoining the upper part of the city of Quebec, Canada. There, in 1759, the English under Gen. James Wolfe defeated the French under Gen. Louis Montcalm. The battle decided the last of the French and Indian Wars and led to British supremacy in Canada. Part of the battle site is now built over, but a part is preserved as a national park.


Summary Article: Abraham, Plains of
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Plateau near Québec, Canada, where the British commander Wolfe defeated the French under Montcalm, on 13 September 1759, during the French and Indian War (1756–63). The outcome of the battle established British supremacy in Canada.

The British despatched 9,000 troops under Wolfe to capture Québec from the French June 1759. They sailed in a fleet up the St Lawrence River, anchored off the Isle d'Orléans 26 June, and set up a camp on the Montmorenci River, with little opposition from the French.

For some months Wolfe did little but patrol the area, until 3 September when the British moved to the south side of the St Lawrence, and mounted a feigned attack below the city 12 September.

While this was in progress, Wolfe secretly took 4,000 troops up the river in boats. They returned after nightfall and landed at a point Wolfe had previously selected, about 2.5 km/1.5 mi above the city. In the early morning of the 13th, the troops made their way up a narrow path to the Heights of Abraham, above the river. The French responded by taking up their battle order on the Heights and the battle began. The British musketry soon broke the French line and they fled into the city, followed by the British, though they were prevented from entering by the French garrison's artillery. Both Wolfe and Montcalm were killed in the battle, but the British force remained in position on the Heights and Québec surrendered 17 September.

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article Plains of Abraham, Battle of (1759)
Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations

This elevated field lies outside the fortress walls of Québec City, abutted by a steep cliff. An English army scaled the heights to achieve ...

Full text Article QUEBEC, BATTLE OF
France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

“I am like the public. I like peace much more than I like Canada, and I think France can be happy without Quebec.” This sentence, taken from a...

Full text Article Quebec, Battle of
Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

Having taken Louisbourg and Fort Duquesne in what would prove to be the last of four great colonial wars with France, the so-called French and...

See more from Credo