Search for "New France"

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Coureurs des bois

Coureurs des bois were itinerant, unlicenced fur traders from New France. They were known as “wood-runners” to the English on Hudson Bay and “bush-lopers” to the Anglo-Dutch of New York. Unlike voyageurs, who were licensed to transport goods to trading posts, coureurs des bois were considered outlaws of sorts because they did not have permits from colonial authorities. The independent coureurs des bois played an important role in the European exploration of the continent. They were also vital in establishing trading contacts with Indigenous peoples.

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Black Fur Traders in Canada

The role of Black people within the history of the fur trade is rarely considered. Black people were rarely in a position to write their own stories, so often those stories went untold. This owes to a complex set of factors including racism and limited access to literacy. Black people are also not the focus of many historical documents. However, historians have identified several Black fur traders working in different roles, and even an entire family of Black fur traders who left their mark on history.

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Marcel Trudel

Marcel Trudel, historian (born at St-Narcisse, Qué 29 May 1917; died at Longueuil, Qué 11 Jan 2011), one of the masters of contemporary Québec historiography. He shaped generations of historians, first at Laval (1947-65), briefly at Carleton University and then at Ottawa University (1966-82).

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Pierre Biard

Pierre Biard, Jesuit missionary (b at Grenoble, France 1567 or 1568; d at Avignon, France 17 Nov 1622). After long preparation for missionary work, Biard left for ACADIA in early 1611.

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Francophones of Ontario (Franco-Ontarians)

Ontario has the largest French-speaking minority community in Canada, and the largest French-speaking community of any province outside of Quebec. Ontario’s French-speaking presence was first established during the French colonial regime in the early 17th century (see New France.) It grew steadily throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly in the eastern and northeastern parts of the province in connection with the forestry, mining and railway industries. French has official language status in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, in the courts, and in educational institutions (see French Languages Services Act (Ontario)).

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Francophone

In Canada, the term francophone refers to someone whose first language is French: it is the one they use most often to speak, read, write and think, and the one they use most often at home. Being francophone can also simply mean being able to speak the language fluently.

According to the 2016 census, approximately 10.36 million Canadians, or 29.8 per cent of the population, declared being able to communicate in French. Of this number, 7.45 million reported that French was their mother tongue.

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Paul Le Jeune

Paul Le Jeune, Jesuit missionary and superior at Québec, author (b at Vitry-le-François, France July 1591; d at Paris, France 7 Aug 1664). Converted to Catholicism at 16, Le Jeune was named superior of the Jesuits at Québec in 1632.

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Basques

Basques were expert fishermen and sailors from the southeast corner of the Bay of Biscay. With the Portuguese, they were early arrivals to Newfoundland's Grand Banks.

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Charles Lalemant

Charles Lalemant, Jesuit missionary, first superior of the Jesuits at Québec (b at Paris, France 17 Nov 1587; d there 18 Nov 1674), brother of Jérôme Lalemant.

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French Immigration in Canada

After New France was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, the migration of French colonists slowed considerably. A trickle of clergy members, farmers and professionals settled during the 19th century. However, after the Second World War, French immigration — which was then politically favoured — resumed with renewed vigour. This effort was geared towards recruiting francophone professionals and entrepreneurs, who settled in Canada’s big cities. The French spawned many cultural associations and had a large presence in French-Canadian schools.

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Récollets

Récollets, a reformed branch of the Franciscan family, came to France at the end of the 16th century. The main objective of the Récollets was to observe more strictly the Rule of St Francis, and like other semiautonomous branches, they came under the minister general of the Franciscans.

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History of Acadia

Acadia’s history as a French-speaking colony stretches as far back as the early 17th century. The French settlers who colonized the land and coexisted alongside Indigenous peoples became called Acadians. Acadia was also the target of numerous wars between the French and the English. Ultimately, the colony fell under British rule. Many Acadians were subsequently deported away from Acadia. Over time, as a British colony and then as part of Canada, Acadians increasingly became a linguistic minority. Nonetheless, Acadians have strived to protect their language and identity throughout time.

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Jesuit Relations

Jesuit Relations (Relations des jésuites), the voluminous annual documents sent from the Canadian mission of the Society of Jesus to its Paris office, 1632-72, compiled by missionaries in the field, edited by their Québec superior, and printed in France by Sébastien Cramoisy.

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Black Enslavement in Canada

In early Canada, the enslavement of African peoples was a legal instrument that helped fuel colonial economic enterprise. The buying, selling and enslavement of Black people was practiced by European traders and colonists in New France in the early 1600s, and lasted until it was abolished throughout British North America in 1834. During that two-century period, settlers in what would eventually become Canada were involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Canada is further linked to the institution of enslavement through its history of international trade. Products such as salted cod and timber were exchanged for slave-produced goods such as rum, molasses, tobacco and sugar from slaveholding colonies in the Caribbean. 

This is the full-length entry about Black enslavement in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary).

(See also Olivier Le Jeune; Sir David KirkeChloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Underground Railroad; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; Slavery Abolition Act, 1833Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada.)

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Marie-Joseph Angélique

Marie-Joseph Angélique (born circa 1705 in Madeira, Portugal; died 21 June 1734 in Montréal, QC). Angélique was an enslaved Black woman owned by Thérèse de Couagne de Francheville in Montréal. In 1734, she was charged with arson after a fire leveled Montréal’s merchants' quarter. It was alleged that Angélique committed the act while attempting to flee her bondage. She was convicted, tortured and hanged. While it remains unknown whether or not she set the fire, Angélique’s story has come to symbolize Black resistance and freedom.