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The province occupies a vast territory (nearly three times the size of France), most of which is very sparsely populated. Quebec's highest point is Mont D'Iberville, which is located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the province.
The most populated region is the Saint Lawrence River valley in the south, where the capital, Quebec City, and the largest city, Montreal, are situated. The region is low-lying and flat, except for isolated igneous outcrops near Montreal called the Monteregian Hills. The combination of rich and easily arable soils and Quebec's warmest climate make the valley Quebec's most prolific agricultural area. A distinctive landscape is divided into narrow rectangular tracts of land that date back to settlement patterns in 17th century New France. The river is one of the worlds largest, sustaining large inland Atlantic ports at Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City. The Saint Lawrence Seaway provides a link between the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes starting at the Saint-Lambert locks in Montreal.
More than 90 percent of Quebec's area lies within the Canadian Shield, a rough, rocky terrain sculpted and scraped clean of soil by successive ice ages. It is rich in the mineral and hydro-electric resources that are a mainstay of the Quebec economy. In the Labrador Peninsula portion of the Shield, the far northern region of Nunavik includes the Ungava Peninsula and consists of Arctic tundra inhabited mostly by the Inuit.