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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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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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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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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.)

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Smallpox in Canada

Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. The disease arrived in what is now Canada with French settlers in the early 17th century. Indigenous people had no immunity to smallpox, resulting in devastating infection and death rates. In 1768, arm-to-arm inoculation became more widely practised in North America. By 1800, advances in vaccination helped control the spread of smallpox. Public health efforts also reduced rates of infection. In the 20th century, Canadian scientists helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox. Eradication was achieved in 1979, but virus stocks still exist for research and safety reasons.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Fur Trade in Canada

The fur trade was a vast commercial enterprise across the wild, forested expanse of what is now Canada. It was at its peak for nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries. It was sustained primarily by the trapping of beavers to satisfy the European demand for felt hats. The intensely competitive trade opened the continent to exploration and settlement. It financed missionary work, established social, economic and colonial relationships between Europeans and Indigenous people, and played a formative role in the creation and development of Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about the fur trade. For a plain-language summary, please see Fur Trade in Canada (Plain Language Summary).)

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Company of One Hundred Associates

The Company of New France, or Company of One Hundred Associates (Compagnie des Cent-Associés) as it was more commonly known, was formed in France in 1627. Its purpose was to increase New France’s population while enjoying a monopoly on almost all colonial trade. It took bold steps but suffered many setbacks. The company folded in 1663. It earned little return on its investment, though it helped establish New France as a viable colony.