French Colonization of Canada
The French colonization and control of Canada began when Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608. However, by 1627, only a handful of the French could be found in Canada; with two groups of a hundred inhabitants found in Québec and in Port Royal, Acadia; (present day Nova Scotia).
Between 1627 and 1663
The French population in Canada rose from the 100 inhabitants to nearly 2,500. The French colony had settlements along the St. Lawrence Valley, Acadia, and some few in Newfoundland. Until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1763, New France created in Canada had five territories, each with its own government. They were in central Canada, Acadia, Newfoundland, Hudson Bay, and Louisiana.
In late 18th century, the territory had expended covering a large area which extended from Baffin Island in the north to Mexico in the south, and the region included almost half of the modern-day Canada and parts of the United States. Between 1663 and 1754, New France had really grown in terms of population with French Acadia having 10,000 inhabitants, Canada-55,000, and distant Louisiana having 4,000. In contrast, the native populations had significantly dropped due to fatal diseases.
Despite the population growth in New France
The French were highly vulnerable as compared to the British colonies.
French Alliances with the Natives
To maintain its grip of the North American empire; the French depended on alliances with the Canadian natives. They had a significant number of Amerindian allies.
These include almost all the Algonquin in Canada, Acadia, and south of the Great Lakes. For example; the Abenaki, Micmac, Montagnais, Malecite, Algonquin, Huron, Ottawa, Chippewa (Ojibwa); Cree, Erie, Blackfoot, Illinois, Miami, Potawatomi; as well as many others that they helped them reduce threats of the English seizing control of their regions.
In Louisiana area, the French established alliances with several nations, including the Choctaw, Creek, Natchez, Ouma, Nakota, and Lakota.
Because of these alliances with the natives
The French were able to not only control Acadia and the regions along St. Lawrence Valley, but also the Ohio Valley, which was a large region stretching from Fort Detroit to Louisiana and extending toward Mississippi.
Despite that, their relationship with the natives seemed cordial and conducive except with the Iroquois, whom they were often at war with, until the endorsement of the Great Peace of Montréal in 1701.
Click here to forward on to the next post about Loyalists and Activities of the United Empire in the past.