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The French in North America


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The French in North America

  1. 1. The French in North America By DJ Heston
  2. 2. American Colonies 5 – Canada and Iroquoia• In the mid-16th century the Spanish emperor declined to block the French from establishing along the Lawrence River in Canada.• The French discovered two profitable commodities: fish and furs.• The French realized early on that they needed the Indians as allies and hunters rather than enemies.• The Indians of northeastern North America were divided into Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples.• The French became allies with the Huron and northern Algonquian which pitted them as enemies of the Five Nation Iroquoians.• In 1610 the Five Nation Iroquoians obtained metal weapons from the Dutch and became formidable warriors disrupting French trade.
  3. 3. American Colonies 5 – Canada and Iroquoia• European mariners offered beads, kettles and knives in exchange for furs from the Indians.• The natives became adept at driving a hard bargain, waiting for several ships to port to compete for their furs.• Occasionally mariners kidnapped Indians as slaves which soured relations between natives and mariners.• The Indians reliance on European goods and weapons made them hunt more to supply their fur trade.• The northern Algonquian hunted year-round which led to the depletion of the animals they hunted.• The Indians had to extend their hunting territories farther which increased conflicts with their neighbors.
  4. 4. American Colonies 5 – Canada and Iroquoia • In 1608 Frenchman Samuel de Champlain built a small trading post in Quebec. • Two decades later there were only 85 colonists, all of them men in Quebec.• In 1609 Champlain and his men helped their northern Indian allies defeat a group of Iroquois leading the Iroquois to realize their inferior weapons and penetrable formations.• The women of the Iroquois cultivated large and productive crops which allowed the young men to pursue war.• Iroquois warriors conducted “mourning wars” which entailed capturing their enemies to distribute among their people who had lost family due to disease and war.• They also tortured and cannibalized most men which created cohesion among the tribe and hardened their adolescent boys to war.
  5. 5. American Colonies 5 – Canada and Iroquoia• In 1614 a Dutch company established a trading post, later known as Fort Orange, which was the Dutch equivalent of French Quebec.• The Iroquois lived in close proximity to the Dutch, who were more willing to offer guns than were the French.• French leaders hoped to make the northern Indians more dependable as allies by sending the Jesuits to convert them to Catholicism.• After initial resistance, most Huron converted to Christianity to be with their family in the afterlife.• The mid-17th century saw the Iroquois become more violent in their pursuit of their mourning wars and they had killed or captured most Huron destroying their villages in the process.• Toward the end of the 17th century the Iroquois took more captives than the could assimilate which led to division within their own nations.• With all of the complexities associated with alliance and trade, European powers never realized their goal of control and colonization of the area.
  6. 6. American Colonies 16 – French America • In the 1660’s the French crown wanted to colonize the area around Quebec and give army officers who stayed the title of “seigneur”. • Seigneurs brought the first farm families to Canada which produced small crops of wheat and brought small herds of livestock. • The French crown worried that the English were winning the race to colonize and decided to pay for transatlantic passage to stimulate emigration. • Most emigrants were poor young men while only 12% were female. • Most emigrants returned home after their three year stay while only the married men and women tended to stay. • Because the women married early and bore many healthy children the population grew from 3,000 in 1663 to 15,000 in 1700.
  7. 7. American Colonies 16 – French America• French peasants chose to stay in France rather than risk the unknown which contributed to slow colonization.• Many emigrated to nearby Spain which was cheaper, closer, and warmer.• New France had a reputation of being immoral, cold, and unprofitable land which deterred moralistic emigrants.• Most of the French who emigrated enjoyed a better life with more land and better meals than that of their counterparts in France.• The crown appointed three rival officials to govern New France: a military governor-general, a civil administrator or intendant, and a Catholic bishop.• The governing council was comprised of five to seven seigneurs, the governor-general, bishop, intendant, and attorney general.• Early 18th century New France was divided into sectors: the cultivated St. Lawrence Valley and the vast forest and lakes of upper country.
  8. 8. American Colonies 16 – French America• The French treated the Indians as sovereign peoples rather than French subjects in New France.• Mid 17th century Iroquois attacks made their native enemies flee west to refugee villages where they fought among themselves. • The distant posts of the west attracted officers to engage on the fur trade on the side and the officers became known as coureurs de bois. • The life of a coureurs de bois was dangerous but partnership with an Indian women made it much safer.• With help from their upper-country Indian allies, the French defeated the Iroquois which brought about a peace in 1701.• The French moved their post to Detroit and assumed the Indians would accept French dictation.• Without New France’s intervention between the native tribes, their battles grew fierce again and moved into Detroit.
  9. 9. American Colonies 16 – French America • In 1682 Sieur de La Salle led a group of French and allied Indians south and named it Louisiana to impress King Louis XIV. • Determined to win the support of Indians over the Carolina traders, the French in Louisiana wooed the Indians with firearms. • The Company of the Indies was commissioned by the French crown to colonize Louisiana which led to the town of New Orleans.• Many of the colonists were convicted criminals which further undermined Louisiana’s reputation.• Far from imperial supervision, Louisiana’s officials were notoriously corrupt.• Louisiana was the least profitable colony to the French but was retained for its strategic value.