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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1700 > 1740-1749

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

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

Military Bands

Type: Document

The British likely introduced the military band to Canada. These regimental musicians were paid for by individual units. Instrumentation favoured flutes, clarinets and percussion. The bands played a strong role in the social life of garrison towns throughout Canada.

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

Private, 40th Regiment of Foot, circa 1745

Type: Image

The 40th was the longtime British garrison in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. For ordinary service, English soldiers wore brown gaiters instead of white, which easily got dirty. When the weather was chilly, they unhooked the turnbacks of their coats to cover their thighs and buttoned the lapels across the chest. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

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

Soldier, Compagnies franches de la Marine, New France, circa 1740

Type: Image

This man wears the grey-white coat of France with the blue facings of the Troupes de la Marine. He is armed with a musket, sword and bayonet. Note the anchor decorating his cartridge pouch. This was appropriate given that these troops belonged to the Ministère de la Marine, which was responsible for the navy as well as for France's colonies. This is how the men of the Compagnies franches would appear on parade or in garrison in one of the larger forts. Reconstruction by Michel Pétard. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Frigate under construction, around the mid-eighteenth century

Type: Image

This contemporary print show the hull of a frigate being covered with planks. To form the skin of the hull, shaped planks are being made and then attached to the ship's ribs. Note the finished plank being hoisted into place by a derrick at centre. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence