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Back to America: A.D. 1501 to 1600

North america (see map in next module)

In the early 17th century northern Europeans, already experienced in smuggling and raiding Spanish-American shipping, began to establish permanent colonies of their own in America. The north Europeans ' advantages included their access to the sources of shipbuilding material (particularly around the Baltic), fewer political commitments and diversification of European interests and finally more sophisticated devices for obtaining capital and spreading risks - the chartered joint-stock company. (Ref. 8 )

Canada and the far north

The Thule Arctic Culture, which has been discussed in several previous chapters, is generally conceded to have ended about 1700, merging into the Modern Eskimo Culture. Samuel Champlain was sent out to Canada from France in 1603 to map the known rivers. Establishing Quebec as a base, he explored Lakes Huron and Ontario and sided with the Algonquin and Huron Indians, while defeating the hostile Iroquois. The Jesuit priest, Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, who wrote a Histoire de'la Nouvelle France in the 18th century, accumulated much information about the French-Iroquois war of 1610. He told of terrible atrocities committed by the Hurons on the Iroquois prisoners, including cannibalism

This information is found in de Tocqueville (Ref. 218 ), pages 337 and 338).
. Champlain was the most versatile of colonial founders, a sailor, soldier, scholar and man of action, artist and explorer. (Ref. 151 ) The friendly Hurons became the middlemen for the fur trade between Montreal and the Indian trappers of the Great Lakes areas. Nova Scotia was founded as the French colony of Acadia in 1632. (Ref. 222 )

At the death of Champlain in 1635 Canada was the property of a joint-stock company, the Hundred Associates. Settlement advanced very slowly, however, and by 1643, a year after a stronghold had been built at Montreal, there were not 300 Frenchmen in all New France, exclusive of Nova Scotia. Even by 1665 Quebec contained only 70 houses and 550 people. The French fur traders, however, soon carried their commerce 2,000 miles inland to the Tetons. They could live on the barest vegetation and in the crudest shelter, in terrible weather. It was those French guides who later staffed the Lewis and Clark expedition. (Ref. 151 , 39 ) In 1685 the governor of Canada wrote to Louis XIV complaining that the colonial French had not civilized the Indians, but on the contrary, the Frenchmen who lived among the savages themselves became savages. (Ref. 217 )

Throughout the entire first 2/3 of the century New France had to continually fight the Five Nations of the Iroquois League and largely because of this the Hundred Associates gave up in 1663 and surrendered their charter, allowing Canada to become a crown colony of Louis XIV. In 1665 the Marquis de Tracy arrived with 800 soldiers to wage a total war campaign against the Iroquois, killing and burning their fields and villages. (Ref. 39 ) The new military regime was absolute, with severe laws stringently enforced by torture, when necessary. The Marquis' chief claim to fame is that he brought girls along to be the soldiers' wives and these, along with a few descendants of extraneous unions of coureurs de bois with young Indian girls, are primarily the ancestors of all present day French-Canadians.

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history (organized by region). OpenStax CNX. Nov 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10597/1.2
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