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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1600 > 1680-1689

The Navy's Troops Outside North America

Type: Document

The French Ministry of the Navy was responsible for warships, coastal defence and management of the colonies. As a result, it maintained troops in France and the West Indies as well as in North America.

Site: National Defence

A New Monetary System

Type: Document

Official currency in France and its colonies consisted of 'livres' (pounds), 'sous' (shillings) and 'deniers' (pence), but the shortage of coins led to common use of Spanish silver pieces in New France. The first recorded use of paper money in the modern sense was also in New France.

Site: National Defence

To the Sound of the Drummer's Beat

Type: Document

Fortified towns like Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Louisbourg were all governed by military staffs. The lives of French soldiers and Canadian civilians alike were regulated by the different drum beatings of the garrison, from La Diane at dawn to La Retraite at sunset.

Site: National Defence

Treatment Of Prisoners

Type: Document

One problem of raid warfare was the treatment of prisoners - they were often brutally tortured, as was the custom of the Amerindians. This was ironic, as the Canadians themselves had suffered badly this way from the Iroquois.

Site: National Defence

The French And British Navies

Type: Document

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.

Site: National Defence

A Garrison at Placentia

Type: Document

A small garrison of Troupes de la Marine arrived in Newfoundland in 1687, where fortifications were gradually established. The garrison suffered from desertion, and was attacked by pirates, English privateers and the English Royal Navy.

Site: National Defence

Recruiting Sergeants

Type: Document

Recruiters would entice potential volunteers with false tales of the easy, glorious life they would lead in the military, and told stories of riches to be won. Getting the men drunk also played an important part in recruiting practices.

Site: National Defence

Training in a New School

Type: Document

Once established, the tactics of Canadian warfare would persist as long as the French regime. Refinements were made as the regular soldiers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine grew more experienced in the new methods.

Site: National Defence

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