Canadian Military History Gateway
Date > 1500
Subject > Soldiers, Warriors and Leaders
Resource Type > Document
Martin Frobisher led unsuccessful English expeditions to find the Northwest Passage. There were conflicts with the Inuit. Other English mariners also voyaged to the region around Labrador.
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.
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.
This history on our Aboriginal Peoples and their contribution to Canada’s rich military heritage is the latest in a series of books prepared by the Director of History and Heritage commemorating especial military experience.
Authors : P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ph.D., R. Scott Sheffield, Ph.D., John Moses, Maxime Gohier
Professional soldiers were a recent development in the Europe of 1500. They fought for pay, not for loot or feudal obligation, and could have firearms as weapons.
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.
Cartier's expedition got along poorly with the Iroquois at Quebec. Discovery of what was falsely thought to be gold led to discord between Roberval and Cartier. Eventually, the fortified settlement was abandoned.
During the 16th century, European fishermen, whalers, traders, adventurers, and explorers visited the eastern seaboard of North America and established a lucrative fur trade by the early 1600s. While fishermen and whalers had generally co-operated with First Peoples in exchanging goods, permanent European settlement and involvement in the fur trade with Hurons and Algonkians soon led the French to join these nations in their war with the Iroquois Confederacy.
Canadian War Museum
Soldiers were organized into companies of about 50. Their leader, the company captain, was responsible for recruiting, training and disciplining his men.
During Cartier's three expeditions to Canada, there were more and more soldiers among his men. The later expeditions were very well armed.