New France Package What you can find in here

Download 72.54 Kb.
Date conversion30.05.2016
Size72.54 Kb.

New France Package

What you can find in here:

  • information on New France

  • Key questions about New France

Table of Contents

Mercantilism……………………………………………………………. 3

Trading Colony vs Settlement Colony………………………….………4

Consequences of the Fur Trad………………………………….………5

Jean Talon’s Population Initiatives…………………………...………..7

Factors Affecting Settlement in New France………………………….8

Birth rate in New France………………………………………………..8

Seigneurial System……………………………………………..………..9

Royal government ……………………………………………………..10

Church in New France………………………………………...……….11

Day to Day Life in New France…………………………………..……12

Social Groups in New France………………………………………….23

Questions to hand in ……………………………………………………24

What is mercantilism?

Mercantilism was an economic policy, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, which stated that a country's wealth and power was best served through

  • the accumulation of gold and silver and raw materials.

Because most nations did not have a natural abundance of such precious metals, the best way to acquire them was through trade. This meant striving for a favorable trade balance, that is, a surplus of exports over imports. Foreign states would then have to pay for imports in gold or silver.

State action, an essential feature of the mercantile system, was used to accomplish its purposes - to sell more than it bought to accumulate gold bullion and raw materials. In the case of New France, fur was the raw material. France imported raw materials, such as furs, from its colony, New France, and transformed them into finished products (beaver hats) to be sold back to the colonies and to other countries.

Beaver Hat

Consequences of mercantilism on New France

  • New France became a trading colony whose main economic role was to supply furs to the mother country and to purchase manufactured  products from the mother country.

  • Furs account for more than 70% of the colony's exports and the fur trade is directly responsible for the large expansion of territory.

What were the two opposing views or concepts on the colonization of New France?

The two opposing views centered around whether New France should develop as a colony based on settlement or as a colony based on the exploitation of the fur trade.

Characteristics of a colony based on settlement

  • Its purpose was to create a society in New France similar to that in France through settlement.

  • To have such a colony it would need to send to New France farmers, priests, soldiers, administrators, women, and artisans.

  • The colonizers wanted a diversified economy not an economy based solely on the exploitation of the fur trade.

  • This concept of colonization had the support of the King, religious orders and colonizers.

Characteristics of a colony based on the fur trade

  • Its purpose was to exploit the fur trade for the benefit of merchants and fur trading monopoly companies such as the Company of 100 Associates. Basically, they wanted New France to be  a fur-trading outpost.

  • To have such a colony it would need mainly men meaning merchants, coureurs de bois, independent traders and company agents. Settlers were not welcome as they were expensive to bring over and they could act as competitors in the fur trade.

  • The fur traders only wanted to develop and exploit the fur trade since it did not require a large initial investment and it was very profitable.

  • This type of colony had the support of the fur trading companies, fur traders and merchants.

Throughout most of  New France's history, despite some attempts at settlement,  the colony of New France was based on the exploitation of the fur trade. A major factor behind this was the belief in the economic theory of mercantilism.

What were the territorial and military consequences of the fur trade on New France?

Territorial Consequences
The most important territorial consequence for New France was

  • the growth of its territory.

Over a period of one hundred fifty years New France's territory spread from a tiny colony on the St. Lawrence River to one that extended from the Atlantic to the Prairies, and from the lands surrounding Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The demands of the fur trade and missionary zeal led to the exploration of the continent by explorers such as Jolliet and Marquette, LaVérendrye, LaSalle, Father Albanel and Radisson.

Military Consequences
The fur trade brought about a series of

  • alliances with the Native populations.

The French allied themselves with the Hurons and Algonquians while the Dutch, and later the English, allied themselves with the Iroquois. This led to numerous battles and skirmishes between the Europeans and their Native allies over the control of the fur trade. In 1649, the Hurons were destroyed by the Iroquois forcing the French to use coureurs de bois as their middlemen in the fur trade.

The expansion of New France's territory also brought about the

  • encirclement of the English colonies.

The English felt threatened by this since their own expansion westwards and their access to fur resources was now limited . This as well leads to numerous battles and wars and to the eventual conquest of New France by the English in 1760.

What were some of the major policies brought in by Intendant Jean Talon in order to increase population growth  ?

Jean Talon was appointed Intendant of New France (1665-l672) by King Louis XIV. During
this period, the population of the colony doubled from 3215 in 1666 to more than 7000 in 1672.
New France's population increased through immigration and a high birth rate.

Immigration Policies

Three types of immigrants settled in New France:

  • Les filles du roi about 900 orphan girls sent over by the King
    because of the shortage of women in the colony. In 1666, when the first census was taken, there was one woman for every sixteen men in the colony.

  • Soldiers who came with the Carignan-Salières Regiment were
    offered free land after having completed their military service.

  • Les engagés(hired workers) who agreed to come and work
    in New France for 3 years.

Between 1663 and 1670, about 2500 immigrants settled in New France. 
However, New France did not attract many immigrants because of the cold climate, fear of Iroquois attacks and a long, difficult trip from France. Furthermore, France was not interested in depopulating her own population in order to populate the colony. Consequently most of 
New France's population growth stemmed from a high birth rate.                                                                                                  (more)

Which factors affected the first settlements of New France?

Economic Factors
It was the fur trade which first attracted the French to the St. Lawrence River Valley. Champlain founded the first permanent settlement at Québec in 1608 to establish a fur trade network with the Native population.

In 1634, Champlain sent Laviolette to found Trois-Rivières, in order to be closer to the fur supplies. Thus, the first two settlements, Québec and Trois-Rivières, were founded for economic reasons dealing with the fur trade.

Religious Factors
In 1642, Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve, assisted by Jeanne Mance, founded Ville-Marie (present day Montreal) in order to establish a religious mission to convert the Indians.

What were some of the major initatives enacted by Intendant Jean Talon in order to increase population growth in New France ?

Birth Rate
To increase the birth rate in the colony Intendant Talon initiated a series of measures
to encourage large families and rapid population growth.

  • men and women were encouraged to marry young and have large families

  • fathers were fined if children did not  marry before a certain age

  • family allowances were paid to families with over 10 children

  • payments were made to couples who married young

  • bachelors were fined and not allowed to take part in the fur trade


  • In 1681, New France's population was 10,000. By l760, it had increased to 70,000.


What was the seigneurial system ?

The seigneurial system was modeled after the feudal system in Europe and included a system of rights and duties between seigneurs and censitaires (habitants).

Its aim was to encourage the settlement of New France and to promote the distribution of land.


  • A seigneury was granted to a seigneur.

  • The seigneur was obliged to rent long lots (concessions) on his seigneury to tenant-farmers called censitaires (habitants).

  • The lots were narrow rectangular tracts of land found perpendicular to a river allowing more settlers access to the river.

  • The seigneur also built roads, a mill, an oven, and held a court to settle disputes.

  • In return, the censitaires cleared their lots, paid rent as a portion of their income and in the form of food and produce (cens et rentes), worked 3 days a year without pay (corvée), and paid a tax (lods et ventes) if they sold their

Why was Royal Government adopted in 1663 and what were its key characteristics ?

King Louis XIV wanted to make France the most powerful country in Europe and to make New France a strong colony. Consequently, the charter of the Company of 100 Associates (1627-1663) was cancelled, since it had defaulted on its promise to transport thousands of settlers to New France, and the colony now came under the king's direct control. Jean-Baptiste Colbert was Louis XIV's most important minister and he was to run the colony through the Ministry of the Marine. To execute their plan, Royal Government was thus established in New France in 1663. 

                                                              Royal Government

Responsible for the daily economic
affairs of the colony, trade,
justice, finance,
settlement and  seigneurialism. 

The Bishop was in charge of the church which was reponsible for the  spiritual needs of the colony, its schools, charities, hospitals and for the conversion of the Natives. 

represented the king in the colony; responsible for the defence of New France and for relations with the English and the Indians.

The Sovereign Council

  • It consisted of a dozen officials including the governor, intendant and bishop. (see above)

  • It acted as a legislative, administrative and judicial body.

  • It was the sole governing authority in the colony responsible to the king.

Captains of militia

  • They reported to the intendant the concerns of the habitants and informed the habitants of the intendant's plans.

What was the role of the church in the colony of New France ?

Roles of the Catholic Church in New France


  • to provide religious services to the colony

  • to convert the Natives to Christianity


to take care of the educational needs of children

to take care of the sick

to help the poor and the less fortunate


The church in the colony was composed of secular and regular clergy.
The Day to Day Life of Les Habitants

It took months for a ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The only food that was sent was food that could not be grown in New France. This food was very expensive so only the rich could afford it. Most of the food that people ate had to be grown, fished or hunted.

Below is a picture of a hunter. If a farmer (also called a habitant) wanted meat, he had to go hunting or fishing. Some of the animals that they hunted were ducks, geese, partridge and passenger pigeons, deer, moose and bear. A farmer would teach his sons how to hunt as soon as they were old enough. Farmers would fish for eel, pickerel, carp, smelt, sturgeon, herring, cod, salmon and trout.

National Archives of Canada

Some food that the habitant gathered was wild such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, blackberries and plums. All other food was grown on the family farm. A farm grew corn for the animals and wheat for making flour and bread. Farmers raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat. They raised cows for cream, butter and cheese. The farmer's grew fruits and vegetables especially turnips, cabbages, onions, leeks and beets.

With all of the food the habitants grew, hunted, fished or gathered in the forest, they made delicious meals. They used recipes that are still used today.

The land in New France was divided into seigneuries. The man in charge of a seigneury was called a seigneur. He would divide up his seigneury into strips of land and would keep a large section for himself and his family. When settlers arrived, they were given free land on the seigneury. Most of the land was still covered with trees so it had to be cleared before crops were planted. This was very hard work and everyone in the family (including children) had to help.

The diagram below shows how land was divided.


Seigneury of Sillery

This is another map of one seigneury along the St. Lawrence River. This seigneury is near Quebec City.  Just like the first map, most of the farms ended on the river.

Not only was the river used to water crops and animals, it was also used for fishing and a way of getting from one place to another. There were very few roads four hundred years ago. Often the only way to visit your neighbours was to travel by canoe. Boats also took food, grown by farmers, to the towns and villages.

National Archives of Canada

When the habitant first settled on his land he had to build a simple cabin. Soon he cleared the forest from his land and planted crops. After a few years, he would build a larger home for his growing family. Some habitant families could have as many as 15 children.

Below is a picture of what a early habitant home could look like. Notice that it is made from logs.

Krieghoff, Cornelius/National Archives of Canada/C-011229

Below on the left is a picture of what a better home would look like. This home has stone walls with a roof made of wood shingles. Sometimes homes were all wood with plaster covering the outside walls like the home on the right. Some homes had thatch roofs. Thatch is straw bundled together and attached to a roof.

© Malak and MNF - Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation 1999, reproduced by permission

© Malak and MNF - Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation 1999, reproduced by permission

Houses were often built facing the south. This was the side where the door and windows were so families could enjoy as much light as possible. An average farmhouse measured 8 m x 6 m in size and usually had a thatch or cedar-shingle roof. The roof was steep so snow could easily slide off. A central wood fireplaces heated the homes. When the family could afford it, a wood stove was installed.

Inside the houses were dark . There were not many windows because windows let in heat in the summer and cold in the winter. The windows were coved with oiled paper. This let in enough light to see. Only the rich could afford to put glass in windows. The walls were plastered and whitewashed to prevent the log walls from rotting. Sometimes drawers and cupboards were built into the walls. Ceilings were low to keep the heat in.

Batchelor, Lawrence R./National Archives of Canada/C-011925

Most houses had only one room. Everyone ate, worked and slept in this one room. If a house had an upstairs, some people would sleep there. Sometimes the upstairs was used for storage. Cooking was done on the fireplace. Baking was done in an oven attached to the fireplace. Bread was baked here.

Canadian Museum of Civilization, Photo S93-14831



Furniture was usually handmade and the walls were decorated with religious symbols (like a cross).

Here are some examples of furniture in habitant homes.

Virtual Museum of New France

This simple chair had an open back. Some people say that it had an open back so the farmers could dry their shirts after a long hot day in the fields.

Virtual Museum of New France

These spoons were made from peweter. Peweter spoons were cheap. When they broke, they could be melted down easily to make more.

Virtual Museum of New France

This is a small table made of wood.

Virtual Museum of New France

This is an armoire made in New France. It was used like a clothes closet.

Life was very different in New France compared to today. People had to work very hard just to survive. Men and women were encouraged to marry young. The larger the family, the more help there is to run a farm. A man who was younger than 20 would get 20 pounds when he married. A woman who was younger than 16 was paid 20 pounds when she married. Families with 10 living children received 300 pounds a year. Families with 12 or more living children received 400 pounds.


Most of the men in New France were farmers. Life was very hard for the farmer. He was the one who was responsible for producing food. He had to farm and also hunt to get food for his family. Taking care of his farm and family was his number one job.


Women also had to work very hard. She had to take care of the house. She had to cook for her family. She also had to take care of the younger children. Sometimes women had 15 children or more. She made clothes for her family too using cloth that she spun.


When children were old enough, they either helped their mothers (girls) or their fathers (boys). Small children might bring in the wood for the fireplace. Older girls would help cook, clean and make clothes. Fathers would teach their sons how to ice fish. All the children would help gather maple sap in the spring.

When a boy was eleven or twelve, he could do a man's work. He would help his father cut wood, carry stones from the field and build fences. He also helped plow, mow the hay and gather the crops.

Older children would take care of the garden. This would be a practice for when they had their own farms.

Very few children went to school because the only schools were in the large towns that were too far away. There were no local schools like we have today. If children did learn to read, they learned from a parent who could read.

Sometimes they learned from an older brother who had become a priest. Anyone who became a priest was sent to school as part of his training. He would then be sent to serve in the local churches. If he had time, he might even start a school.

 In those days, school was not as important as it is now. You did not have to read to be a farmer or farmer’s wife as most of the people were. The only people who went to school were the sons and daughters of merchants or the rich citizens of New France. Schools were run by the church because the nuns and priests were educated.

Jefferys, Charles Willliam/National Archives of Canada/C-073422/ Copyright 1988-1997 © Ottawa Researchers (94778 Canada Ltd.) All Rights Reserved

Marie de l'Incarnation

When the children grew older, often one would become a priest or nun. If the farm was large enough, the father would split his land with his sons. If the land was too small, he would buy land for them. The girls would be expected to marry a local boy and settle on his family farm.


Women wore shirts and skirts made of linen, cotton and hemp. Men wore knee breeches (pants that tied at the knee) and jerkins (jackets). They also wore wide-brimmed hats and tapabords (with earflaps)

To survive the cold winter, the habitant copied some of the Amerindian (Indian) clothing. He wore mittens and moose leather boots lined with beaver fur and a fur-lined coat (pelise). To walk in the snow, he wore snowshoes and loaded his provisions on a toboggan which slides on snow and ice.

Home Cures

There were few doctors in New France. Most lived in the large towns. When someone got sick, the habitant used cures that they learned from the Indians.

Bad Cold

  • Mix pine gum, 3/4 cups of whiskey and 1 cup of maple syrup

  • Take 1 spoonful 3 times a day

Sore Stomach


  • Mix 1 teaspoon of gunpowder with a tablespoon of molasses

  • Take before breakfast 3 days in a row


  • Boil a marigold stalk in water

  • Apply as a compress

Sore Throat

  • Boil 1 pint of salted water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar

  • Gargle


  • Boil 2 teaspoons of chimney soot with 3 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of milk

  • Sweeten and strain before drinking

May Day

The farmers worked very hard all year. There were times when they relaxed and had a party. One of those times was May Day held on May 1st of every year. A tree is raised with garlands and streamers hanging from the top. Then the men shoot at the top while a drum and trumpet are played. The seigneur then invites everyone in for breakfast. They ate food liked smoked venison, fresh and smoked fish of every kind, pork cuts, bacon, bread and sweets, poultry, baked beans, pumpkin pies, pea soup, squash cakes and maple sugar candy.

St Martin's Day

On this day the farmers paid rent to the seigneur and then went to church. Afterward they ate, sang and danced.


Everyone was religious and went to church every week. On church holidays, no one worked. There were  parish parties all through the year. The Roman Catholic Church did not approve of dancing except on certain days (jours gras). Often these dances lasted far into the night.

In the Home

The home is where most people got together to have fun. People loved to play cards. In fact most homes had a deck of cards. They also loved to play tric-trac (similar to backgammon), checkers and galet. Galet was played on a long narrow table, with a groove all around it. The player tried to slide a flat round pebble (a galet) from one end of the table to the other without it falling into a groove.

In the summer, younger children played outside. They floated pieces in the shallow part of the river. They climbed trees.

In winter, they played outside in the snow. They also coasted down hills on their sleds.
What were the major social groups in the colony of New France ?

There were three major social groups in New France. They were the:

  • Nobility or Aristocracy or the colonial élite which included army officers, upper clergy and administrators.

Middle class or bourgeoisie which included merchants and civil servants. 

Common People which included the habitants, parish priests,coureurs-des-bois,  and tradesmen.


Hierarchy of People in New France

Nobles and Aristicrats

Governor- Intendant and Bishop__________________

Clergy and Seigneurs________________________

Common people or

Les Canadiens ___________________

New France
If you can explain the following you will achieve success….
-how and why New France was founded in the St. Lawrence valley
-how the Fur Trade and mercantilism was the main economic activity in New France
-how and why the colony of New France was not as successful as the 13 Colonies
-the main difference between the idea of a trading colony and a settlement colony
-the main duties of the Church in New France
-the 2 main outcomes of the expansion of the Fur Trade to other areas of Canada
-how the people in New France came to be self-sufficient and developed their own Canadien identity
-3 reasons why the colony of New France was eventually defeated by the British in the 13 Colonies.

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page