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Gouverneur

Gouverneur (governor), the French monarch's official representative in NEW FRANCE. The office, created before a complete system of government had been established, was always granted to a member of the nobility by royal commission, and the appointment could be withdrawn at any time.

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Communauté des biens

Communauté des biens (community of property), term used in the legal codes of NEW FRANCE and Québec to describe the pooled assets of husband and wife. It began as part of the Coutume de Paris, introduced about 1640 and the sole legal code of the colony after 1664.

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Compagnie des Indes occidentales

The Compagnie des Indes occidentales, which replaced the COMPAGNIE DES CENT-ASSOCIÉS, was established in May 1664 by Jean-Baptiste Colbert to drive Dutch traders from French colonies in the West Indies and the Americas, and to emulate Dutch and English commercial success.

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Croix de Saint Louis

 In Canada Louis-Hector de CALLIERE (1694) was the first to receive the decoration; Louis de Buade de FRONTENAC received it in 1697. The first Canadian chevalier was Pierre Le Moyne d' IBERVILLE (1699). By 1760 some 145 men had been decorated in Canada.

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King's Posts

King's Posts, a name applied during the French regime to fur trade and fishing posts in the King's Domain.

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Made Beaver

Hudson's Bay Company found it necessary to devise a unit of value that would accommodate Aboriginal people's bartering to European bookkeeping methods

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New France

France was a colonial power in North America from the early 16th century, the age of European discoveries and fishing expeditions, to the early 19th century, when Napoléon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States.

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Pays d'en Haut

Pays d'en Haut [French "up country" or "upper country"] was an expression used in the fur trade to refer to the area to which the voyageurs travelled to trade.

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Hôtel-Dieu

Hôtel-Dieu is the name given to hospitals established by nursing orders of nuns. The Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal was founded by Jeanne Mance and funded by Madame de Bullion, the widow of one of Louis XIII's superintendents of finance.

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Compagnie du Nord

Compagnie du Nord (Compagnie de la Baie du Nord), fd 1682 by Canadian merchants, led by Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, to trade into Hudson Bay by sea.

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High Wines

Liquor adulterated for use in the fur trade. Fur traders who supplied liquor to the natives often diluted their brandy, rum, whisky, etc, with flavoured water. The term "high wines" is a misnomer, for the trade goods are not wines but spirits.

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Voyageurs

Voyageurs were independent contractors, workers or minor partners in companies involved in the fur trade. They were licensed to transport goods to trading posts and were usually forbidden to do any trading of their own. The fur trade changed over the years, as did the groups of men working in it. In the 17th century, voyageurs were often coureurs des bois — unlicensed traders responsible for delivering trade goods from suppliers to Indigenous peoples. The implementation of the trading licence system in 1681 set voyageurs apart from coureurs des bois, who were then considered outlaws of sorts. Today, the word voyageur, like the term coureur des bois, evokes the romantic image of men canoeing across the continent in search of furs. Their life was full of perilous adventure, gruelling work and cheerful camaraderie.

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Brandy Parliament

Brandy Parliament, an assembly of 20 notables of New France, who on 10 October 1678 were asked their opinion of the sale of brandy to the Indigenous peoples. The title was bestowed in 1921 by historian W.B. Munro.

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Filles du Roi

Unmarried women sponsored by the king to immigrate to New France between 1663 and 1673. Private interests gave priority to bringing over male workers, and the French government and religious communities wanted to correct the gender imbalance in the colonies.

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Mer de l'Ouest

Mer de l'Ouest ("Western Sea"), originally the goal of exploration during the French regime, was the stuff of wishful thinking obligingly corroborated by Indians. Initially thought to be an inland sea somewhere west of the Great Lakes, it gradually blended in imagination with the Pacific.

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King's Presents

The practice of offering regular gifts to Indigenous trading partners and allies, begun by Governor Montmagny in 1648, was, by the end of the 17th century institutionalized as the "Présents du Roy" at the annual meeting with the governor-general of New France at Montréal.

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Fur Trade in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

The fur trade began in the 1600s in what is now Canada. It continued for more than 250 years. Europeans traded with Indigenous people for beaver pelts. The demand for felt hats in Europe drove this business. The fur trade was one of the main reasons that Europeans explored and colonized Canada. It built relationships between Europeans and Indigenous peoples.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the fur trade. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Fur Trade in Canada.)