Lecture 5 (Sept 24)
(The Royal Takeover and the Transformation of New France)
Canada, 1663 – 1760
Colonists came from France in the hopes of establishing sustainable farms. Unfortunately the
region was not very suited for agriculture. It was very difficult to develop an export colony.
The population of Quebec around the 1660’s was only about 3,300. Indigenous people still vastly
outnumbered the new European population. These new colonies were very vulnerable and this is
the main reason why colonizers tried to work together with the native inhabitants.
Haudenosaunee Confederacy – An organization of several different First Nations tribes.
Approximately 2/3’s of the confederacy were outside of the native language and culture of the
initial members. The confederacy proved very troublesome for New France’s fur trade.
The English form an alliance with the Haudenosaunee confederacy which makes France’s fur
trade even more tumultuous.
Absolutism – After the upheaval of the peasants trying to take away power from the monarchy,
Louis XIV was an advocate of re-centralizing power to the monarchy and hoped to prevent any
more uprisings. The central government was eventually situated at the Palace of Versailles.
In 1663 the news comes down that New France will be an official colony.
Compact Colony Plan – Colbert wanted to build a compact colony along the St. Lawrence
river. The plan was to keep the small colonies close together.
The French Crown did not simply want to replicate the familiar institutions of the Old World but
rather sought to reform them by stripping them of European tradition that decentralized power
and limited royal authority.
The royal takeover of 1663 put French administration in the hands of the governor Jean-Baptiste
Colbert and the intendant, Jean Talon.
Colbert and Talon not only brought the colony on its feet, but established its administrative and
institutional structure for the entire century of French royal control.
Because Canada was continually in a state of siege, the role of the military was crucial. The
crown would often spend money on the military that it would not have allowed for civilian
matters. Regular troops were not regarded as a sufficient enough military force and thus every adult male
between the ages o