France and Great Britain vied for control of the lucrative fur trade and fought periodically for supremacy of North America. Both powers also sought alliances with Native people: the French had allied themselves with the Hurons and the British with the Iroquois. The towns of New France had to provide defence for the colony's inhabitants. Stone walls, earthworks and wooden palisades were erected around major sites like Quebec, Louisbourg and Montreal. To enter into the New France town square, you pass through the fortified wall that protected urban dwellers from enemy attack.
Between 1713 and 1744, New France enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace, population growth and economic development. Even during prosperous times, it continued to be an agrarian society, with approximately eighty percent of the population living in the countryside. Quebec and Montreal remained small, with a combined population of less than 10,000 inhabitants.
Most towns were located at strategic points on the banks of rivers
and lakes. Port towns, like Montréal, Québec and Louisbourg
were centres of military, administrative, and commercial activity.
Adjacent to markets and public squares could be found colonial offices,
military fortifications, warehouses, churches, missions, schools, and