Chapter 3 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources

The fur trade and
territorial expansion

The French-American Empire

Chapter 3 / HEART OF AN EMPIRE / The French-American Empire  Previous pageNext page
The French-American Empire  

In the early 18th century, the French-American Empire stretched from Acadia to Louisiana, covering a large part of the continent. It was based on a political alliance with the Amerindians, the cornerstone of which was the Great Peace of Montréal. This treaty was signed in 1701 by France, thirty-odd Amerindian nations under French influence and the Iroquois League of the Five Nations.

Four major wars opposing France and England broke out in Europe between 1689 and 1763. Their impact was felt in North America, and Montrealers took part in the military effort. Several noblemen became officers in the French army, while merchants, crafsmen and peasants enrolled in the Canadian militia.

No one more brilliantly illustrated Montréal’s participation in France’s military action and expansionist strategy than Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, the son of merchant Charles Le Moyne. Between 1686 and 1697, he joined numerous campaigns against English settlements in Hudson’s Bay, colonial New York, Acadia and Newfoundland. In 1699, he founded Louisiana and built its first French fort.

The presence of officers and soldiers from the Troupes de la Marine, French troops serving full-time in the colony, had been a fact of life in Montréal since 1683. They were supplied by France at first, but Canadian merchants and farmers gradually took over military provisioning, thus stimulating the local economy.

In the long run, however, the balance of power was detrimental to Canada. The Seven Year War (1756-1763) allowed Anglo-American troops to deal New France a fatal blow. In 1759, Québec City fell to the invaders, and three British armies marched on Montréal in the summer of 1760. Governor Vaudreuil, who had retreated to the city, realized that resistance would be futile, and surrendered on September 8th. And so ended the French-American Empire.

Mr. Vignal
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Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville
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View of Montréal
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