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COMPLETE Modern History II Notes: Part 8 -- got 92% in the course!

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Boston College
HIST 1082

The French in the Atlantic World 11/9/12 • English Atlantic expansion  Protestant colonies were growing along east coast of America • French Catholic colonies along Canada, Middle East o Caribbean colonies  relied on slave labor and sugar cane  Most lucrative colonies in New World • French Empire in North America o Interesting contrast to development of English 13 colonies • Need to understand relationship between French and Indian neighbors o French colonies stretched across Great Plains o Only parts of empire actually looked colonized by Europeans  Narrow strip of territory between Montreal and Quebec as well as South NOvia Scotia and New Brunswik • Created farms and towns comparable to English neighbors • Vast amount of Native American allies • Type of empire vastly different than English empire in North America • Early expansion of French looked like English expansion o Pirates attacking Portuguese ships, some humanists o Early attempts to colonize in early 1600s but they failed decisively (names and dates on handouts) • France was turning inward to focus on Wars of Religion o Abandoned any attempt of colonization and presence of colonies in New World  Only after War of Religion was France stable enough to colonize • Grand Banks Fishermen (1504) o Fishermen from Normandy and Brittany settled fishing grounds in New World  Huge market for fish in Catholic France and because cod fishery remained profitable during war of religion, sails between fishing areas never stopped • Fur also becoming popular o Fishermen had to spend time on land to prepare fish (had to be dried and salted)  Came into contact with Native Americans, who they traded European goods (iron tools and pots) in return for beaver pelt robes • Beaver fur is what induced France to return to settle New World • Fur, especially beaver fur, was an expensive luxury product in Europe o Wide brimmed felt hats were high in fashion, and best felt was made from beaver pelt  Was made in Europe but European beaver population was led to extinction • By 1580, French merchants were sending expeditions into St. Lawrence valley for beavers o Returned French interest to North America • French colony founded 1604 in Acadia o 1608 – Quebec • For the first quarter after their expansion, lacked financial and military support as well as settlers o Attacks by English settlers • 1632 onwards, colonies were securely settled and slowly expanding • New France = collection of French colonies in North America • Main economic activity = fur trade o Fur trade became more complicated over time as beaver population became depleted o Fur trade depended on Native Americans and their labor  Hunters and trappers killed beavers and Native American women prepared pelt • Pelt brought to French middleman and would trade for goods like tobacco, alcohol, iron, weapons o Middlemen would sell pelts to merchants o Fairs where merchants would bring all the pelts, make alliances, etc. o French fur traders travelled inland to search for more fur  Travelled from Canada by canoe every year with goods to trade with Native Americans • Sell to merchants and reinvest their products in trade goods o As it became more necessary to travel further and further into the interior of the continent, trading posts became set up  Anchor points for French alliances with Native Americans o Most of the profits from this trade was when pelts were sold back in Europe o For fur traders who went into interior to trade, made profit from trade  Had to maintain good relationship with native americans o Not a wealthy consumer base in French colonies  Didn’t offer much in labor or profits in what labor was required  Few people could afford beaver felt hats in Europe • Purchasing a beaver fur hat would be equivalent to purchasing a luxury sports car today both in terms of cost and prestige value of owning one  Market for furs was easily flooded • Dropping prices could cripple colonies o Montreal suffered a collapse because of price drop of furs  Economy stagnated and colonists fell back of subsistence and agricultural farming to survive • French population in north America remained small o Important factor in kind of relations that developed between French and native americans around them • Other geopolitical reasons to expand in New World o French had to participate in increasing geopolitics of New World o English in 13 colonies were comp
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