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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Ceremony and Honours

Date > 1600 > 1670-1679

The Nature of the Militia

Type: Document

Participation of the general populace of New France in the militia provided an important link between a hierarchical absolutist government and a population known for being proud and independent. Although membership was non voluntary, this was not resented by the men involved.

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

The Military Wedding

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, marriage for the common British soldier was governed mostly by custom. Marriage involved 'leaping over the sword', where bride and groom did just that in the presence of the man's companions. Official permission was needed in theory, but seldom given.

Site: National Defence

The White Flag As A Battle Flag

Type: Document

With origins in the Wars of Religion of the early seventeenth century, an all white flag symbolized France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was flown over military outposts and from ships' masts throughout the existence of the colony of New France.

Site: National Defence

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

Type: Document

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (1661-1706), son of tactician Charles Le Moyne, was perhaps the greatest soldier New France ever produced. Between 1686 and 1706 he established himself as a master commander both on land and at sea. Also an explorer, he founded the first permanent settlement in Louisiana.

Site: National Defence

The Governor General's Guard

Type: Document

During the period when New France was a colony of the French crown, the Governor General was authorized to have a small group of bodyguards, just as was the case in the provinces of France. The men often wore the Governor General's personal livery as a uniform.

Site: National Defence

Nobles and Commoners

Type: Document

The French nobility wanted to forbid commoners positions as military officers. Louis XIV favoured competence above all else, but his successors gradually capitulated. The colonial forces were attractive to non-noble officers, since the nobility preferred to stay in France.

Site: National Defence

French flags, circa 1690

Type: Image

This 17th century illustration shows four French flags that would be seen at sea and on land. At upper left is the solid white flag used by the French crown (and hence by the French army and navy). At upper and lower right are two variations on the blue and white flag that was ordered for the French merchant navy in 1661. The white pennant seen in the lower left was used to help distinguish different squadrons in a French fleet. Each would fly this pennant on a different mast. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville et d’Ardillières (1661-1706)

Type: Image

Born Pierre Le Moyne, the Canadian-born officer known best as 'd’Iberville' was the most eminent soldier born in New France. This 19th century print is based on a contemporary portrait painted some time after Le Moyne d'Iberville was made a chevalier of the Order of Saint-Louis in 1699. The white cross of the order can be seen on his breast.

Site: National Defence

Militia Captains

Type: Document

The position of militia captain was an important one in the parishes of New France. The captain was not only a military leader but also an agent of the civil government in many matters. Chosen by the governor, a captain also had to be popular in his community.

Site: National Defence