A French engraving of the 1609 battle in which Samuel de Champlain and two other French musketeers helped their Indian allies defeat Iroquois warriors beside Lake Champlain. The advent of firearms revolutionized Indian warfare, discouraging the use of the mass formations and wooden shields depicted here.
The French, and the Five Nation Iroquois fought for power, and territory.
To appease grief, to restore power, and to build their own status, Iroquois warriors conducted mourning wars in which they sought prisoners from their enemies.
During the fifteenth century, the Five Nation Iroquois had waged ferocious wars upon one another until a prophet named Deganawida.
1600’s Deganawida persuaded the Five Nations to form a Great League of Peace, which resulted to about 22,000-95,000 northeastern Iroquoians.
1700’s, the Five Nations needed ever more captives as they coped with an increased death rate wrought primarily by new diseases and secondarily by a more violent warfare, which escalated.
The Dutch Trade
August 1609,Henry Hudson, and English mariner in Dutch employ, ascended the river later named for him to initiate a fur trade with the Mohawks.
1614 Dutch company established a year round trading post on the upper Hudson near present day Albany.
Late 1620’s the easternmost Iroquois nation, the Mohawk, improved their access to Fort Orange by displacing the Algonquian speaking Mohicans, who had lived around the post and had tried to control the trade.
The French came dependant on the Iroquois hostility as a barrier that kept the northern Indians from traveling south to trade with the Dutch.
Finally the French and the Five Nation Iroquois became equally ambivalent about peace.
In 1684 the Iroquois spokesman Grangula addresses the French governor-general de la Barre on the shores of Lake Frontenac (now Lake Ontario). The image conveys the prominence of native protocols of diplomacy in the attempted French exercise of empire in the vast reaches of the North American interior. From Baron Lahontan, New Voyages to North America.
1632 a peace treaty restored to the French a thoroughly plundered set of ruins.
In fear of losing their colony, the French crown ordered the Company of New France to recruit more inhabitants.
In part of the Marginal growing season, New France grew slowly, from seven hundred colonists in 1650 to three thousand by 1663.
1660 the English had 58,000 colonists in New England and the Chesapeake.
1770’s, fewer than 250 families emigrated to Canada, and only 12 percent of the immigrants were female.
The expensive program of subsidized emigration produced relatively little long term benefit.
1673, the government retrenched to save money, the emigration ground led to a halt but afterwards grew.
Prior to 1663, New France suffered from a dilemma: the colony could not attract enough people for effective defense because the French balked at emigrating to such a dangerous land.
80 percent of the colonist used their land and farms as opportunity.
Habitants took pride in their regular consumption of meat and white bread, which few French peasants could afford.
Canadian habitant enjoyed privileges of hunting and fishing, which were environmentally and legally denied to the peasants.
A rough equality prevailed in rural New France, because of the limited opportunities to hire laborers or to sell a surplus on the market.
Canadian emigration and settlement improved the status and conditions of the peasantry but had little effect on the legal an cultural subordination of women.
The civil contracts caused celibacy and religious devotion in a convent in Montreal or Quebec, where nuns ran schools, asylums, and hospitals, providing a thicker network of social welfare than in the British colonies.
The demographic weakness and military peril of New France demanded a more frequent and total mobilization for defense.
Louis XIV reigned in 1661 and raised taxes to sustain his vast army and growing navy.
In both France and New France, crown power was also diluted by its reliance on aristocratic officers of their royal master.
New France was governing with ethos that were paternalistic and monarchical rather than commercial and libertarian.
Crowning helped reinforce social rank with assured prosperity.
Bypassing the seigneurs in the chain of military authority prevented the development of a true feudalism in the colony.
The colonial authorities favored the seigneurs with almost all of the commissions as regular army officers, salaries as civil officials, and coveted licenses to conduct the fur trade.
Authorities reasoned that only men of aristocratic honor could command respect from the common people.
The Upper Country
During the early eighteenth century, New France consisted of two very different sectors: the narrow, cultivated St. Lawrence Valley and the cast intergraded colonization by settlement
The mission Indians provided warriors essential to the defense of Canada, the French felt obliged to respect their autonomy for the purpose to engage them in any war for the defense of this same country.
1750 a mere 261 French soldiers garrisoned all of the posts around the Great Lakes.
In the upper country, the Indians and the French gradually developed an effective alliance based upon mutual accommodations on what the historian Richard White has called “the middle ground”.
Never stable, the middle ground alliance required constant attention from the French.
1670’s and 1680’s, English founded Carolina, and the French traders and priests probed southwestward from their trading posts along the Great Lakes into the Mississippi Valley.
The Sieur de La Salle was responsible for leading the French and allied Indians down the river to the Gulf of Mexico.
In Louisiana the French made expanding trade.
Louisiana languished as the most peripheral colony in an overstretched empire.
In 1708, Louisiana consisted of merely 122 soldiers and sailors, 80 slaves, and 77 habitants.
After the war, the crown entrusted Louisiana to a private corporation, the Company of the Indies, which promoted plantations to cultivate tobacco and indigo.1720’s the Louisiana French was underdeveloped and suffered from an arbitrary government.
Louisiana elite pitted all of the races against one another, relying on blacks and natives to control lower-class whites, just as they employed Africans and Indians against one another.
Rebels and Allies
French numbered only about 550 colonists and 200 slaves, they bullied the 1,800 Natchez as if they were a subjugated Petite Nation.
African slaves joined the Indian rebels, combining the two greatest nightmares of a colonial people: an Indian massacre and a slave rebellion.
The French relied on native allies.
Chickasaw warriors afflicted Choctaw villages and waylaid French riverboats and outposts.
1739, Bienville invaded the Chickasaw country with mixed forces of French soldiers, Choctaw warriors, and armed slaves.
The allied Choctaw collected French bounties for 233 scalps taken from the western rebels.