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Section title: French
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References


History

New France Grows

King Louis XIV took control of the colony from the Compagnie des Cent-Associés in 1638. He wanted the colony to grow faster than it had under the company's care. The King appointed three men to help him. The governor would rule the colony and be in charge of the army. The bishop controlled the schools, hospitals, and the missions. The intendant ran the courts, the fur trade and the finances of the colony.

Settlers were badly needed in New France. Young men were encouraged to come from France. They were offered free passage on a ship, room and board, and a small wage. The promise of free land and plentiful fishing and hunting convinced many young farmers to try for a better life in New France. With only one woman for every six men, there weren't enough women in the colony. Young healthy French women were offered free transportation to New France as well as a dowry containing one ox, one cow, two pigs, two chickens and two barrels of salt pork. These women were called les "filles du roi" (the king's daughters). Between 1665 and 1672, more than 1 100 young women came to New France. They were looked after by the nuns and quickly married upon their arrival. To encourage large families, the government gave money each year to people with ten or more children.

By 1675, the population of New France had grown quickly to 8 000. Part of the population consisted of slaves. People in New France owned both African and Aboriginal slaves. By 1759 there were between 1 000 and 1 500 Black slaves in New France. Most of the slaves in New France lived in or near Montréal and worked as house servants. Some of the slaves worked as farm labourers. Others did heavier work at the French fur-trading posts, building and defending them. There were many different slave owners in New France. Some were merchants, traders, military men, governors, church bishops and parish priests. Even the nuns used slaves at their hospitals and schools.

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