christianity, commerce, and the development of new france
‘Christianity, Commerce & the Development of New France’
II. The Fur Trade and the Development of New France
•The fur trade plays a huge role in reinvigorating French ambitions
•It begins as a by-product of the codfishery
•It became prevalent for people involved in this industry to travel elsewhere and
engage in other business (i.e. participate in trade). The key attraction is the fur
•In this period, garments made of fur bearing animals (esp. wide brimmed hats)
were highly fashionable in European society. In part because they were war,, as
well as the luxurious texture of these furs. These garments fetched high prices in
European markets, As a result, Europeans become effectively involved in the fur
•French involvement would result would integrate into an expansive/vast network
in trade networks, which was concentrated in the valley of the St. Lawrence River
•The French are relying on relations with Aboriginals to bring these furs to the
French settlement, where they are then traded for European manufactured goods
(pots, kettles, hatchets, etc).
•Involvement in this fur trade is fundamentally important to the development to a
French colonial presence in the New World (in particular, to what became known
as New France)
Samuel de Champlain
•Plays key role in development of “New France”
•Closely bound up in fur trade
•By training he is a soldier, mariner, naturalist
•Also functions as a politician. In particular he serves as a de facto governor of
•Makes first voyage in 1603. He dies in 1635. Between these years, he criss-
crosses the Atlantic a dozen times
•Wants to have a base to consolidate and control the fur trade. The first permanent
French base in the new world is located in southern nova Scotia (Port Royal)
Port Royal, 1604; Acadia
•The larger region (Maritime provinces, and Main), was named by the French:
Acadia; However, the French choose not to make this the long term base through
which they hope to assert themselves as an imperial power as it was too distance
from the fur trade
•Port Royal is essentially abandoned until the 1630’s
•It would never be a focal point for the French to colonize and control
•In the summer, Champlain travels up into the gulf where he establishes a trading
post. This would become that critically important base, from which France could
oversee their imperial activities
•Under Champlain leadership France begins to construct buildings. Drawing on an
Aboriginal term for “narrowing of the waters,” Champlain names this settlement
•Capital for developing French Empire
•The French asserted their legal sovereignty over this territory based on Cartier’s
expeditions, based on the precedent of the erection of the cross; however, the
Aboriginal people who inhabited this territory did not recognize French
sovereignty, and thought they were the rightful owners over this land.
•They allowed the French to occupy this land due to trade, and warfare. As a result
of trade networks, Aboriginals had increasingly begun to dependent on
manufactured goods. They also believed the Europeans could help them in the
struggle with their Iroquoians speaking rivals (5 nations).
•Dependence was a two way street (MUTAL RELIANCE). The French were
equally if not more dependent on the Aboriginals. They needed these people, as
they were the ones capturing and skinning the animals for their fur industry. Also,
the French relied on Aboriginals for indigenous knowledge. They helped the
French to survive in harsh North American environment, provided technologies
such as toboggans and snowshoes, access to canoes, etc.
•This relationship (co-dependent relationship) would intensify in the years to
come. It would result in a fateful military encounter involving Champlain and a
variety of Aboriginal groups.
•1609: The French led by Champlain agreed to participate in a military conflict
between the two groups (algonquins, and 5 nations). It takes place in Quebec City,
near a lake, which had never been seen. Champlain exhibiting curiousity and
arrogance calls the lake after himself. Champlain deployed their muskets and used
them against the Mo’hawk nation. HE travels behind on foot as the battle is
occurring. At the last moment, they part. In front of him are the members of the 5
nations, and he unloads. Because members were clustered together, he was able to
kill several individuals (including chiefs) with one stroke. As a result, the nature
of warfare changes quite traumatically. Before the introduction of firearms,
Aboriginals would armour themselves with wood. These were good at protecting
themselves from arrows. Also, the tactic of clustering is no longer good. Instead,
they adopted ‘gorilla warfare tactics’ (unconventional attacks).
•Essentially refers to what he wanted to accomplish in New France.
•Notion that one day, New France, would rival and possible even surpass France
itself (the mother country, in terms of wealth, population, military, and political
•This vision has two essential inter-related components:
1. Economic: recognize the fur trade as the essential vehicle to allow this imperial
presence to flourish.
2. Religious: morality’ projecting Christian ideals as widely as possible in Northern
North America. This has implications not only for the small number of French
settlers, but also for Aboriginal peoples. He envision large scale
processing/conversion through missionary activities and inter-marriage.
Louis XIII & Cardinal Richelieu
Aimed to strengthen the French presence. In attempting, Louis worked in close
conjunction with his key minister, Cardinal Richelieu. In pursuing this vision, they both
rely on an important and highly influential economic philosophy: mercantilism.
Holds that colonies exist to benefit the mother country.
Two key characteristics:
1. Seeks to exploit of the natural resources of a given colony
2. Seeks to transform/use the colony as a market in which to seek manufactured
Company of the 100 Associates (1627)
Commercial enterprise that is supported by 100 private investors. They receive a charter
to become active in colonial activities in North America from the French monarchy.
Their activities mesh with the principle of mercantilism
Their objectives are 3 fold: 1. They receive from the French crown a trade monopoly
(complete legal control). In exchange for monopoly the promise to promote development
in Northern North America colony. They pledge to promote the moral development
(promote interests of Roman Catholic Church).
Christianity and Commerce
•For much of 16th C, much of Europe is plagued by Religious conflict involving
Christianities two key branches : Catholicism, and Protestantism
•The majority were the Roman Catholics; however, there was a sizeable protestant
minority in France; Huguenots
•They protested against the authority and traditions of Catholicism
•They immediate catalyst for this split: Selling of indulgences
•Christian Orthodoxy maintained that human beings after they died went to one of
three places (heaven, hell, pergatory). They idea wit pergatory is that individuals
who lives would atone for their sins. After, they ascend to heaven where they can
spend the rest of their eternity. By early 16th C the Church had begun to sell
indulgences. If a given individual gave something to the Chruch, they could limit
the amount of time that someone they were close with within pergatory
•This led to corruption.
•Counter-Reformation: through which they bring about
•It is this impulse