1534 to 1763
New France was a colony and more precisely a viceroyalty of the Kingdom of France, located in North America and having existed from 1534 to 1763. It was part of the First French Colonial Empire and its capital was Quebec. It was first a colony-trading post administered by colonial companies, then a settlement colony under the royal government of the Sovereign Council.
His descendants are Acadians, Brayons, Cadians, French-speaking Quebecers whose old name is French Canadians, Louisiana Creoles and Métis. The territory of New France was made up of the following colonies: Acadia, Canada, and Louisiana. At its peak, it thus included the watershed of the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, northern La Prairie, and much of the Labrador Peninsula.
The geographical position of New France prevented the westward expansion of the British colonies in North America, as well as the rallying of the thirteen colonies to Rupert’s Land. This led to many tensions which culminated with the Jumonville affair in 1754, an event that triggered the war of conquest or the Seven Years’ War which ended with the surrender of New France in 1760, then the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
The Jumonville case
By the mid-18th century, control of the fur trade in the Ohio Valley became a major issue for English and French merchants. The French strategy of building a series of forts in the area is a source of tension between the colonial representatives of the two metropolitan powers. In May 1754, young George Washington became commander of the troops from Virginia dispatched to the region. On May 28, early in the morning, he and his men discovered a French encampment established in the Great Meadows area. Without warning, Washington gives the order to fire. Ten French soldiers are killed and 21 are captured.
Claude-Pierre Pécaudy Contrecoeur, commander of the nearby Fort Duquesne, had been strictly ordered not to attack British colonial troops. He had to defend his positions. Pécaudy Contrecoeur, however, sent a patrol led by Joseph de Villiers de Jumonville to verify whether Washington’s troops were invading territory that France claimed as its own. Jumonville was to call on the Virginians to withdraw. Jumonville is killed in the battle. Washington writes in his diary that it was the tomahawk of Half King, a Native American ally of the British, that caused the death of Sieur de Jumonville. The testimonies on these events remain contradictory. France then accuses England of murdering a diplomat.
The event is known as the Jumonville Affair. On the one hand, we cry murder on the other, we denounce the illegal occupation of a border. Historian Marcel Trudel has delved into the question and supports the conclusions of French historian Ernest Lavisse: Jumonville is “killed in combat, not murdered, as has been wrongly claimed for too long.”
The clash is now known as the Battle of Jumonville Glen. This fight is the prelude to the War of Conquest. This interpretation is also criticized by many, such as historian Sophie Imbeault, who argue that Jumonville was instead assassinated by the future American president.
By François Droüin