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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1600 > 1600-1609

Champlain's famous fight on 30 July 1609 against the Iroquois Indians as interpreted in a late 19th century print

Type: Image

When Champlain took part in a 1609 Huron expedition against the Iroquois, he began a contest between two ways of warfare that lasted centuries. The combination of armour and firearms was rapidly understood and used to advantage by early French soldiers in Canada. By contrast, the Amerindians evolved furtive tactics and rapid movements which eventually proved to be the best in a wilderness environment.

Site: National Defence

French soldiers of the early 17th century

Type: Image

These French soldiers wear a style of clothing common through much of Western Europe in the early seventeenth century. Note the musket rest carried by the man at left, and the pike carried by the man in the background. Mid-19th century engraving after a drawing by Alfred de Marbot.

Site: National Defence

The European Failure

Type: Document

Unlike the Spanish Central America, Europeans were unable to successfully colonize North America in the 16th Century. Amerindian guerrilla tactics combined with a cold and hostile land to frustrate the newcomers. Nevertheless, North America became a theatre of war for European conflicts.

Site: National Defence

Records of the 4th International Colloquy on Military History (Ottawa 23.25 VIII 1978) Date of Publication: 1979

Type: Document

Introduction by W.A.B. Douglas, Director Directorate of History, Program Chairman. Articles in a variety of languages including: English, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Spanish, Russian, Greek.

Site: National Defence

Voyages Of Discovery

Type: Document

Many European expeditions were sent to explore North America during the sixteenth century. The explorers were armed, and their ocean-going ships were a revolutionary technology.

Site: National Defence

Sixteenth-century galleon

Type: Image

The crewmen of this 16th century galleon are using several devices to discover their position. Tools like the arbalete and nocturlabe were used at night to measure the position of the stars in the sky. Based on these measurements, navigators could determine where they were on the globe. (National Library of Canada 18025)

Site: National Defence

Soldiers Of The Canadian Expeditions

Type: Document

The soldiers accompanying early expeditions worked for private businesses, not for the state. Many were veterans of European wars, or gentlemen seeking land or gold.

Site: National Defence

Quebec

Type: Document

A second colony at Quebec, led by Champlain, saw much struggle. It changed hands, first to the English, then to a new French trading company. Attempts were made to fortify and strengthen the settlement.

Site: National Defence

St Croix Island

Type: Image

St. Croix Island, site of Samuel de Champlain and Pierre de Mont’s first settlement in the summer of 1604.

Site: National Defence

Plan of the French settlement at Isle Sainte-Croix in 1604

Type: Image

In June 1604, the French expedition under the Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain started building a trade post and settlement on an island they named Sainte-Croix, the choice being dictated by security concerns. It turned out to be an unfortunate choice, some 35 out the 79 men there perishing from scurvy in the winter of 1604-1605. There were also tense relations with Indians further south so that, in the late summer, Sainte-Croix was abandoned and the French went to built a fortified ‘Habitation’ at Port-Royal (now Annapolis-Royal, Nova Scotia).

Site: National Defence