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Life in New France. Canadian History XI. Key Points in this Power . I. Quebec and the fur trade (1608) The Company of 100 Associates (Company of New France) II. Louis XIV and the Creation of New France Government Military The Seigneurial System: Engagés and slaves Filles de Roi

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Life in New France

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Life in new france

Life in New France

Canadian History XI

Key points in this power

Key Points in this Power

  • I. Quebec and the fur trade (1608)

    • The Company of 100 Associates (Company of New France)

  • II. Louis XIV and the Creation of New France

    • Government

    • Military

    • The Seigneurial System:

    • Engagés and slaves

    • Filles de Roi

  • III. Population growth

  • IV. Women in New France

    • Gender roles

    • Women and the Law

    • Women Religious

Company of 100 associates

Company of 100 Associates

  • Created in 1627 by Cardinal Richelieu

  • Given control of fur trade

  • In return had to populate New France

Cardinal richelieu

Cardinal Richelieu

Company of 100 associates1

Company of 100 Associates

  • Cancelled in 1663 by Louis XIV

  • They had not fulfilled their part of the bargain

  • Appointed Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Jean baptiste colbert

Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Government of new france

Government of New France

  • Hierarchical and rigidly structured

  • 2 most powerful people:

    • Governor

    • Intendant

  • Third most powerful was the Bishop

Life in new france

Louis XIV/Colbert▼

Governor (Military)Intendant(Justice/Finances)▼

Bishop of the Catholic Church▼

Military officers, merchants, church leaders, seigneurs ▼Habitants (Filles de Roi) (96.5-97% of population)▼Engagés/Domestic Servants/Slaves

Catholic church

Catholic Church

  • Bishop appointed by King

  • Church disproved of sin

  • Rules of the Church often reflected in secular law as well

  • Church and state therefore linked



  • An important institution

  • Officers were part of New France elite

  • Non-officers were not

  • Military also hierarchical

Seigneurial system

Seigneurial System

  • A system of land distribution

  • Seigneurs – noblemen – owned the land and “rented” it to habitants

  • Seigneurs had to:

    • be loyal to the King

    • bring settlers to NF from France to settle and farm this land called a seigneurie

Seigneurial system1

Seigneurial System

Seigneurial system2

Seigneurial System

Responsibilities of seigneurs

Responsibilities of Seigneurs

  • Build roads

  • Build a mill and an oven for making bread

  • Held a court where he was responsible for settling any disputes that might arise

  • Habitants could not be evicted from their land nor could they be prevented from selling their lands.



The habitant owed his seigneur three or four days free labour each year– this obligation was called a corvée. This was considerably less than peasants in France owed their lords.

The habitant was responsible for keeping the section of road (built by the seigneur) which crossed his land in good condition.

The habitant gave one bag of flour for every 14 in payment for the use of the seigneur's mill

The habitant had to pay rent – in money, if it was available, but more often in the form of farm produce or fish or some material good

The habitant also paid a tithe for the upkeep of a church and its priest.



  • Not habitant or soldier…

  • Poor unmarried young men

  • Worked as servants – 3 year contracts

  • Could not marry

  • Could not conduct trade

  • Could be beaten or killed

  • Many left, but many stayed in New France



  • New France had slaves

  • 300 in Montreal

  • Some Africans, but most were Natives

  • Not like slavery of US south

Filles du roi

Filles du Roi

  • Most in New France were men

  • 1663-1673 King brings over women to marry men

  • 770 in total

  • Most young (under 25), most orphans

Population growth

Population Growth

  • 1660s: 3,000

  • 1680s: 10,000

  • 1750s: 75,000

Reasons for population growth

Reasons for Population Growth

  • High fertility

  • Low mortality

  • Social conditions

  • Longer life spans

Gender in new france

Gender in New France

  • Society was patriarchal

  • But habitant life sometimes blurred the boundaries between men’s and women’s work

  • Gender roles more sharply defined for nobles

Women and law

Women and Law

  • Women had some protections under French law

Religious women

Religious Women

  • 3.7 % of women in New France joined religious orders

  • Were not cloistered

  • The Ursuline Nuns ran a hospital

Ursuline nuns

Ursuline Nuns

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