A Closer Look at New France

New France

74 years after Jacques Cartier tried and failed to find a route to the Indies through America, New France was born. He had given up on this part of the world but one man dreamed of the potential of this place. His name was Samuel de Champlain and he is considered to this day as the “founder of New France”.

Champlain, like Cartier, dreamed of the riches of the Orient but he saw that it was only one of much potential New France had. He was also in this part of the world to utilise on creating a fur trade between America and France. So it was here that Champlain formed Quebec in the spring of 1608.

The main problem that this region ran into was the lack of residents. To counteract this problem, the chief minister of France proposed that in exchange for having the monopoly of the fur trade, they would send 200-300 new residents every year. So they created the Company of New France.

But it got me thinking: why would France not want to send their own people to expand across the globe? Surely restricting fur trade to them would restrict New France’s long-term survival. France at that time had holdings in the Far East and sugar islands of the Caribbean, and they deemed them more valuable than the immigration to North America. However, the population problem subsided when King Louis XIV made New France into a Royal Province in 1663 and by the time the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763, a whopping 60,000 French Canadians became British.

New France was impressive by the pure scale increase and then eventual defeat to the English. Over a relatively short period, they managed to create an extension civilisation of France complete with trade, business and a cultural society. Regardless that they were invaded and defeated, I think New France did something impressive in her short life.