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The town is situated in the Matapédia Valley, on the eastern side of a mountain range that separates it from Baie-Comeau. Amqui is located about north of Quebec City and south-east of Montreal. The area has a subarctic climate (Köppen "Dfc"), with long, cold winters and short summers with warm days but very cool nights due to its inland location; however, temperatures are moderated by its maritime influence from both the Gulf Stream and Labrador Current. Amqui was founded as an agricultural settlement in 1884 by settlers who came mainly from France's Basque Country ("Bascans" or "Basques"). It was named after Amasquipédia River which flows into Saint Lawrence River at this point (the name means 'where two rivers meet'). In 1889 it separated itself from La Matapédia parish municipality to form an independent village municipality called Amqui Village Municipality until 1966 when it changed status again becoming Ville d'Amqui ().