Canadian Military History Gateway
Organization > National Defence
Subject > Politics and Society
Date > 1600 > 1670-1679
Both Britain and France needed strong navies to protect their coasts, fishing fleets and colonies. The peak of French naval power was during the 1690s, when it dominated the coasts of England. Defeated in 1692, the French navy declined in quality and strength from that point on.
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.
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.
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.
French strategy in Acadia and Newfoundland centred around controlling access to the St. Lawrence River. Competition with Britain and her American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries led to the fortification and garrisoning of the region.
Hospitals in New France were founded and maintained by religious orders of the Roman Catholic church. The cost of the institutions was borne by the state, in return for which officers, soldiers and sailors received free care, food and medicine.
A series of journeys by French explorers into the interior of North America was followed by the growth of a strong French presence in Louisiana and Illinois. A strong military presence administered and oversaw the new regions.
The ‘cat of nine tails’ was a whip used to flog soldiers. This one was used in the British 83rd Regiment of Foot. The length of the wooden stick was 43cm (1' 5"), its tails 53cm (1' 9"), and it weighed 141,75 g. (5 ounces). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)
There was a close liaison between the officers and the commercial class in New France. Marriage alliances cemented families together, and a kind of colonial military caste began to form in the colony in the eighteenth century.
Prior to 1712, discharged soldiers had no sort of pension to fall back upon when they left the military. They were forced to beg, or rely on religious charity if they were unable to earn their living.