On February 10, 1763, the Treaty of Paris put an end to the Seven Years' War. It was signed notably by representatives of the British and French Crowns and comprised 27 articles, including some that specifically concerned the North American territories. The most important for New France and its people was undoubtedly article 4. First, it officially transferred the sovereignty of "Canada and all its Dependencies." Only the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Islands and part of the Newfoundland coast – for fishing purposes – remained under French rule. In return, Great Britain allowed the colony's inhabitants to sell their property and leave the country for a place of their own choosing if they did not wish to become loyal subjects of His British Majesty. They had eighteen months to do so. Moreover, those who remained including most Canadians settled here for a few generations, were allowed to practice the Roman Catholic religion provided it did not contravene British law.
British institutions were progressively put in place. A civilian government later replaced the military government that had ruled the colony since the fall of Montreal in 1760. Courts were established. Administrative, political, fiscal and other reforms completed the process of transforming this country into a British colony.