Virtual museum of New France

Colonies and Empires

Wars and Imperial Rivalries

New France was a disputed territory, an issue of conflict with Aboriginal peoples and strong rivalries between the European powers. The outcome of competition between empires is well known: in 1763, at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, France signed the Treaty of Paris by which it relinquished Canada and its interior to Great Britain; the vast territories of Louisiana west of the Mississippi were ceded to Spain. The wars prior to the fall of New France were no less fundamental to its development.

Mortar from Louisbourg, cast c.1750-1756

Mortar from Louisbourg, cast c.1750-1756

This section examines the conflictual aspects of the French presence in North America. The European wars played a major role in the development of the colonies. After the civil wars, which curbed the first attempts at settlement, followed the battle between France and Great Britain. In the early 18th century, this imperial power struggle would become one of the main drivers of colonial development. New France would become a real imperial stronghold.

At the same time, the opposition of Aboriginal peoples to expanding networks of French alliances would bring about multiple conflicts. The Iroquois would long oppose, and with success, the colonists of the St. Lawrence Valley. In the interior of the continent, the Fox, the Natchez and the Chickasaws would prove to be equally fierce opponents. Recounting the story of the development and the consequences of these numerous conflicts reveals a portrait of the soldiers, the militiamen and the indispensable Aboriginal allies on which the defence of the colony depended.

Armed explorers

In the 16th century, the Atlantic was a highly disputed territory. France’s foreign policies were dominated by the rivalry between Francis I and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, ruler of Spain and the House of Habsburg. Following the French fishermen who reached the Grand Banks of Newfoundland at the turn of the century, French privateers and pirates headed for the Caribbean in order to attack wealthy Spanish fleets and settlements. This harassment wasn’t actually “official,” but it became the precursor of a trend that would characterize the history of French colonization; while some of the great powers, like Spain and, later, England, would bravely turn to the sea, the kings of France and their entourage always favoured the Exchequer and were only mildly interested in the colonies.

From the very first European explorations to the unknown lands of America, men-at-arms were always present. When Jacques Cartier began his exploration of Canada in 1534 and 1535, he was well armed. As he approached the shores of the St. Lawrence River, he made sure to fire his cannon to impress the Aboriginals he met. During the 1541 expedition of Roberval and Cartier, whose goal was to establish a colony in Canada, a Spanish spy related that 400 harquebuses, 200 crossbows and 200 shields were loaded aboard, in addition to a thousand pikes and halberds, swords, daggers and armour pieces brought by the noblemen and soldiers who were part of the adventure. Two years later, they were all back in France with their weapons and belongings. However, the fact that they brought along a veritable arsenal confirms that it truly was necessary to be well armed, and thus all European stakeholders did so, both during their first expeditions and when they founded European settlements in the New World.

Nearly forty years of civil war between Catholics and Protestants in France, from 1562 to 1598, postponed yet again the establishment of a New France in America. Settlement attempts by French Protestants were blocked by the religious fervour of adverse powers, as the Portuguese military put an end to the colony of Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon in the bay of Rio de Janeiro and the Spanish attacked the colony of Jean Ribault and Goulaine de Laudonnière in northern Florida.

Vulnerable colonies

It was under the reign of King Henry IV (1589-1610) that the first French settlements in Canada were founded by Samuel de Champlain. Interestingly, the “Father of New France” had acquired military experience before becoming a merchant and explorer. In fact, these three skills were indispensable to any enterprise leading to a permanent settlement in the New World. The military aspect was essential; without efficient armed protection, no other activity would have been viable for long. This was true not only in times of war for fighting, but also during peace time for government management, which, in those days, was autocratic and basically run by the military.

In North America, the conflicts that faced the French came from two sources: Aboriginals and rival European nations. Among the latter, in the 17th century, were the Netherlands, but especially England. At the time, many British pioneers settled along the North-American coast, from Massachusetts to South Carolina. In 1674, England occupied Dutch settlements so that English colonies, which were much more populated, became New France’s only neighbours. With a low population scattered on an immense territory, New France became the target of many a battle.

French-Iroquois wars

For the First Nations, commercial partnerships and military alliances went hand in hand. The nations encountered by the French — Micmac in Acadia, Innu and Algonquin in the St. Lawrence Valley — expected that they would participate in their wars; this was usually included in trading agreements. This would explain why the French took part in the war that opposed the Innu, the Algonquin and the Huron-Wendat to the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy in the early 17th century.

The long-standing hostility between the French and the Iroquois, which was interspersed with battles that were sometimes latent, sometimes quite intense, began in July 1609 with the victorious battle of Champlain and his Aboriginal allies over warriors of the Five Nations near present-day Ticonderoga, in the state of New York. Then, in the 1640s, the Iroquois became a most formidable enemy; in 1649, they eliminated the Huron-Wendat, who were allied with the French, then went on to harass the small French settlements of Montréal and Trois-Rivières by staging several raids that would put the French colony in peril.

How do historians explain the Iroquois wars?

Throughout the years, historians have attributed a variety of causes to the wars waged by the Five Nations Iroquois against their Aboriginal and French neighbours in the 17th century. For a long time, written history stated that the Iroquois were motivated by innate barbarism, a thirst for violence that was almost animalistic. But today, this ethnocentric explanation is no longer accepted. The hypothesis that claims the Iroquois wars were simply “beaver wars” also drew the attention of historians for a long time. According to this explanation, the Iroquois would attack their neighbours to take over the best hunting grounds and to maintain their role as middlemen in the fur trade, which was booming at the time.

But a new generation of historians prefers yet another explanation: the Iroquois wars were actually “mourning wars.” Indeed, for the Iroquois, as well as many other Aboriginal peoples, the purpose of war was not to conquer territories or control the fur trade, but rather to compensate for the human loss and suffering caused by the great epidemics of the early 17th century. Some enemies, men, women and children, were killed, or worse, tortured and cannibalized, but more often they were adopted and forcefully integrated to the Iroquois community. Assimilating these strangers allowed the community to mourn their lost loved ones, and this is how the Five Nations Iroquois managed to maintain their population and keep their spirits high during a very difficult time.

During the entire 17th century, the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy was a real threat to the French established in Canada. In 1665, King Louis XIV sent 1,200 soldiers to improve the situation. The French and the Iroquois were able to forge some kind of peace in 1667, but relations remained tense during the following decade. The Seneca, the most western of the Five Nations Iroquois, sought to protect their territory and their sphere of influence, which were being threatened by the expansion of the French and their allies in Upper Canada.

War began again in 1682. Canada’s new governor, Joseph-Antoine le Febvre de La Barre, convinced the Court to send troops to invade the Iroquois territories and eradicate them completely. But de La Barre’s expedition of 1684, as well as the one led three years later by his successor, the marquis de Denonville, did not succeed in defeating the enemy. The Five Nations Iroquois soon invaded the heart of the colony; in 1689, 1,500 warriors launched a surprise attack and destroyed the small town of Lachine, near Montréal. This French-Iroquois conflict took place almost at the same time as the War of the League of Augsburg, which was then raging in Europe and reached the colonies. The Iroquois only ceased being a threat after the Great Peace of Montréal was signed in 1701.

To the interior

For the French, the road to the west was open once again. Around the same time as the peace treaty of Montréal, a detachment of soldiers founded Fort Pontchartrain in present-day Detroit. However, this increasing French presence in the Great Lakes region and the consolidation of trade and alliance networks led to opposition by the Meskwaki, also known as Outagamie or Fox. Because of their close links with this nation’s usual enemies, the French were pulled into a series of armed conflicts. In May 1712, the Fox launched a surprise attack on the Outaouais and the French in Detroit, but they were pushed back. Four years later, a French-Aboriginal expedition entered their territory, now known as the state of Wisconsin, and succeeded in making them surrender.

In 1719, war began again between the Fox, who, this time, were associated with the Sauk, the Kickapoo and the Winnebago people, and the Illinois. The French aligned with the latter, who were long-time allies and trading partners. For over a decade of intermittent war, colonial authorities oscillated between attempts to negotiate lasting peace with the peoples of the interior and a desire to eliminate the Fox enemy. In 1735, the French and their Aboriginal allies chased the Fox nation all the way to present-day Iowa and exterminated it.

In Louisiana, French expansion and the alliance game first opposed the French to the Natchez. In 1729, the nation launched a surprise attack and destroyed Fort Rosalie, located too close to their large village, on the site that is now the town of Natchez, Mississippi. In 1730, a punitive expedition allowed the French to reclaim the territory and, the following year, to disperse the Natchez for good. Some of the tribe members found refuge with the Chickasaw, a neighbouring nation that was against French hegemony, was open to the British and, for a while, had been threatening communications along the Mississippi. France, which for a long time had been satisfied with simply encouraging raids by its Illinois and Choctaw allies against the Chickasaw, then led two proper campaigns in 1735 and in 1739-1740. They failed. The Chickasaw kept on standing in the way of French interests, as did part of the Choctaw nation, once France’s loyal ally, who was turning more and more to the Chickasaw and the British.

Intercolonial wars

During this time of conflict with defiant Aboriginal nations, the French of America were also at war with the English. In the early 17th century, the vulnerable trading posts that had been established in Acadia and Canada were overtaken by adventurers and privateers. But treaties between the two great powers soon reversed the situation, and Québec, which had fallen to a fleet of English privateers led by the Kirke brothers in 1629, was retroceded to France in 1632.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Europe was almost permanently torn apart by armed conflicts that were often caused by dynastic feuds. During the 54-year reign of King Louis XIV (1661 to 1715), France spent 33 years at war. Although many of these wars had no bearing on the fate of French colonies in America, forces on site were still in a state of alert; indeed, even when there was no threat on land, the ships that had to cross the Atlantic could easily be attacked by enemy nations.

French-English rivalries reached a pinnacle in North America at the end of the 17th century. It was then that began a series of four large-scale European conflicts that spread over to the great powers’ settlements: the War of the League of Augsburg (1689-1697), the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the War of the Austrian Succession (1744-1748) and the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). Peaceful times in between these conflicts were more or less a cold war, during which French colonial authorities built a network of fortifications and tried to turn Aboriginal peoples against Anglo-American trading.

In this climate, the threat of an Anglo-American invasion was constant. Acadia was especially vulnerable. In 1690, its capital, Port-Royal, was captured by the fleet of Admiral William Phips. Then, repossessed by France, Port-Royal managed to fight off two more attacks in 1704 and 1707, but ultimately fell to the British in 1710 and remained under English rule. Following the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession, France relinquished Acadia to Great Britain. Louisbourg, the imposing fortress established on Île Royale (today Cape Breton) to counter the effects of this strategic loss, also became vulnerable to Anglo-American expeditions; it was taken by the enemy in 1745 and 1758.

The St. Lawrence Valley, the heart of New France, was easier to defend. In 1690, Admiral Phips and his troops, triumphant after their Acadian victory, were pushed back as they tried to land in Québec. Governor General Louis de Buade de Frontenac responded to the ultimatum that was presented by Phips’ envoy with his famous declaration: “I will answer your general through the muzzles of my cannons and muskets.” The St. Lawrence River itself contributed greatly to the colony’s defence. In 1711, the inhabitants of New France got extremely lucky when a fleet led by Admiral Hovenden Walker, stuck in a storm on the way to Québec, ran aground on the reefs of Île aux Œufs, in the St. Lawrence. But without sufficient resources, New France was unable to defend itself against the British invasion of 1759-1760.

Garrison soldiers

To ensure the safety of their settlements, the French had to maintain garrisons consisting of men who were familiar with handling arms. There were two types of these men: regular soldiers (by trade) and militiamen, i.e. civilians called to bear arms during times of conflict.

The first settlements founded by Samuel de Champlain included a few “soldiers” and “companions” called to fight to ensure the safety of all inhabitants. Until 1665, though, the number of soldiers was very limited. These regular soldiers were not detached by the royal army, but rather hired by the trading companies that were running the first settlements. These companies invested as little as possible in defense because soldiers were quite expensive; there were thus only a handful of them to affront the enemy. The few soldiers on site had a hard time fighting back against the Iroquois warriors, who favoured ambushes and could show up at any moment. The inhabitants of Trois-Rivières and Montréal, for example, were forced to be armed to the teeth, carrying guns, swords and pistols everywhere they went.

The Carignan-Salières Regiment

The faltering colony drew the attention of a young King Louis XIV, who established a royal government. In 1665, Lieutenant-General de Tracy arrived in Canada to lead the Carignan-Salières Regiment, which was comprised of an impressive 24 companies, including four that came from various French regiments of the Royal Army. The troops attacked the Mohawk, and two years later, the Iroquois and the French signed a peace accord.

The king was set on increasing the country’s population. In 1667, its soldiers and officers were invited to settle permanently in the colony. Many of them accepted the offer; it is estimated that some 30 officers, 12 sergeants and 404 soldiers planted roots in the colony. Their comrades returned to France, save for 150 who stayed behind to stand guard in forts, only to be discharged four years later. And thus, to defend the country, there were only about 50 soldiers in the cities and about 20 guards of the governor general.

Navy troops

In 1683, as the Iroquois threat started looming again, Governor General de La Barre urged France to send regular troops in order to face a military situation that seemed almost desperate. The Marquis de Seignelay, Minister of the Navy, quickly responded by ordering three companies of “Troupes de la Marine” (Troops of the Navy) to head overseas at once. They landed in Québec in early November of 1683.

The arrival of 150 officers and soldiers, who were followed by a great number of comrades from France, marked the beginning of an important chapter in Canada’s social history. Indeed, the country was not only secured, but all aspects of life in the colony were affected. French forts filled up with soldiers, armed with guns and swords, wearing a gray, white and blue uniform. Most of them were men in their early twenties looking for a bright future. The social impact of approximately 1,400 soldiers on the colony, which, in 1689, was home to 11,000 inhabitants, was manifold. Many of the soldiers were taken in by settlers. Consequently, these young men in the prime of their lives got the chance to meet the young women of the households while also helping out with various chores. In addition, their economic contributions were not negligible; even though the soldiers’ pay was not high, they represented about one seventh of the country’s population and had dollars and cents to spend within the colony.

Navy troops were not recalled to France; they stayed in the colony permanently to stand guard. These regular officers and soldiers were the true “colony military.” The organisation was not regimental; rather, it consisted of companies that remained independent, i.e. “franches” in the French of that era, hence the name “Compagnies franches de la Marine.” The appellation “de la Marine” indicates that these troops were under the charge of the Minister of the Navy, who was responsible not only for naval warfare, but also for the management and defense of French territories in America. The Minister of the Navy thus had a small army of independent companies, distinct from the regiments of land troops led by the War Minister to defend the fleet’s ships and galleys, as well as French territories in America.

Acadia, Newfoundland, Île Royale and Louisiana

At the end of the 17th century, the Minister of the Navy had garrisons of “Compagnies franches” in Canada, Louisiana, Acadia and Placentia, Newfoundland. When the two latter colonies were relinquished to Great Britain in 1713, their garrisons were established on Île Royale (today Cape Breton Island).

The number of officers and soldiers varies depending on the era: between 1700 and 1750, Canada counted over 900 officers and soldiers; this number later rose to approximately 1,600 men. In 1757, during the Seven Years’ War, there were about 2,300 officers and soldiers. On Île Royale, the garrison was almost entirely in the fortress of Louisbourg; the number of officers and soldiers fluctuated between 370 to 590 and 1,750, and later reached 1,300.

In 1703, Louisiana only had two companies, for a total of about 100 officers and soldiers. More companies were gradually added; in 1754, there were almost 2,000 officers and soldiers in the “Compagnies franches de la Marine” on duty in this vast territory.

In addition, in 1719, the Minister of the Navy requested a regiment of Swiss soldiers, led by Colonel Karrer, to serve in America. Starting in 1722, a detachment of 50, then 100 and, between 1741 and 1745, 150 officers and soldiers served in Louisbourg. The fourth company, 200-men strong, served in New Orleans and Mobile from 1732 to 1763. In 1752, this regiment, wearing a red-and-blue uniform, was renamed Hallwyl.


Throughout the years, a significant number of artillery pieces were installed in the fortresses of Québec and Louisbourg. Elsewhere, in the other towns and many forts and fortlets, there was also a fairly high amount of cannons.

During the 17th century, a few master gunners were enough to teach soldiers how to fight the guns. At the end of the century, however, this no longer sufficed. In 1698, a school of artillery in Québec began teaching one soldier from each “compagnie franche” and, in 1735, a similar school was founded in Louisbourg. Ten years later, one was also established in Mobile, Louisiana.

The importance of artillery led to the creation of veritable corps of artillery in New France. In 1743, the first company of gunner-bombardiers was established in Louisbourg and, seven years later, in Québec. In 1757, a second company joined the first in the two cities. Finally, in 1759, Louisiana set up its own company of gunner-bombardiers. All of the artillerymen in these companies wore a blue-and-red uniform.


In 1683, the officers of the “Compagnies franches de la Marine” in Canada were all French. Most of them, however, settled down in the new country, had families and became part of Canadian society. But French authorities also wanted “real” Canadians to become officers. In 1690, it is estimated that about a quarter of officers were born in Canada. This proportion increased during the 18th century: in the 1720s, half the officers were Canadian by birth, and in the 1750s, that percentage rose to 75. Permanently settled and often married to women of noble families, these regular officers became quite “Canadianized.”

The officers were not only responsible for defending the country, but they also held several administrative positions and acted as town governors and staff officers, which was similar to today’s municipal governments. Others served as commanding officers in forts and posts established on the shores of the Great Lakes and in the continent’s interior. Commanding required much more than simply managing military garrisons; indeed, officers had to maintain harmonious relationships with Aboriginal nations to ensure their continued alliance or, at the very least, their neutrality, in order to promote trading with the merchants of New France. The country’s very economy depended on it.


In order for Canada’s young noblemen to acquire the necessary knowledge to become commissioned officers in the “Compagnies franches de la Marine du Canada,” an initiative was created in 1687: each company was assigned a “little officer.” They were later nicknamed “cadets of the aiguillette” due to the distinctive blue-and-white cord they wore on the shoulder. These young candidates, raised in families of Canadian noblemen and French officers who had made Canada their home, were not only very useful from a military standpoint, but their training also ensured a new generation of colonial officers. Without it, notes one observer, officers would have had no other “experience, nor science, than that of having stood guard and properly shot a gun.” Some student officers were also sent to Aboriginal nations to learn native languages and customs.

Of the approximately 650 officers serving in the “Compagnies franches de la Marine du Canada” from 1683 to 1760, almost half were born in Canada. They were most likely trained within the colony. During the French regime, some 321 Canadian-born student officers became commissioned officers in the regular troops of the French Navy. In addition, many cadets did not obtain their credentials, but still benefited from its training. This “royal military college” before its time thus seems to have been one of two major training schools in Canada under the French Regime. In the 18th century, there were also “cadets of the aiguillette” in the “Compagnies franches de la Marine” in Louisiana and in the ones standing guard on Île Royale.


Soldiers in the Troops of the Navy were enlisted for a period of six years and could then stay in the country as settlers. Later, they were able to benefit from the State’s aid. They were usually replaced by new recruits from France, but in the years when there were none, the engagement period of many a soldier was extended. Before 1755, it is estimated that about 3,000 soldiers settled in the St. Lawrence Valley.

Some remained in the country’s service for many years and, after a few decades of service, were demobilised and received a pension called “Invalides de la Marine.” Those who could read and write sometimes became sergeants (non-commissioned officers), a position that required a bit of education.

In those days, French soldiers often had nicknames, and it was not unusual for them to replace actual family names. For example, soldier Jacques Vadeau was known as Saint-Jacques. Others took on names like Parisien, Picard, Boulanger, Laframboise, Blondin, Léveillé, Vadeboncoeur, etc.; today, many French-speaking Canadian families bear names that were originally the nicknames of soldiers.

In Canada and Louisiana, soldiers — in variable numbers depending on the era — served in faraway posts and fortlets, especially in the Great Lakes region and in Upper Louisiana. Most of them stayed there for two years, but some fell in love with the land and never left. Their comrades stood guard in New France’s two fortresses, Québec and Louisbourg, as well as in the trading cities of Montréal and New Orleans, which were also major military bases.

Land troops

Starting in 1755, amidst increasing tension between France and Great Britain, French Army battalions were sent as reinforcements to the companies of Navy troops in the French territories of America and Asia. Between 1755 and 1757, eight battalions arrived in Canada. They were detached by the regiments of La Reine, Languedoc, Béarn, Guyenne, Royal-Roussillon, La Sarre and Berry (two battalions). Between 1755 and 1758, four battalions reached Louisbourg, detached by the regiments of Artois, Bourgogne, Cambis and Volontaires-Étrangers, which represented about 7,450 officers and soldiers. In 1762-1763, another battalion of French troops, the regiment of Angoumois, was sent to New Orleans.

The militia

The militia was an organization that involved every aspect of the everyday life of New France’s inhabitants. Formally established in 1669, its organisation was centred on the parish; each one in the colony was to have at least one militia company of about 50 men, i.e. all of those who were fit to bear arms.

In theory, these militiamen got together on a regular basis, usually once a month, armed and equipped for combat. They were all under the command of the parish’s militia captain, who was assisted by lieutenants, ensigns and sergeants. In addition to conducting inspections and shooting exercises, the captain or one of his subordinates would read the orders of the governor general, the town governor and the intendant. Many of these orders had nothing to do with military duties, but they did require the participation of all of the parish’s men. Once a duty was decided, it was the captain who organised it and distributed tasks amongst the inhabitants. These were usually road or fortification works. In an absolute and hierarchical mode of government, the militia was a link between the people and the authorities.

Unlike the French homeland, a high number of men in the colony owned weapons. Most Canadians hunted and many of them were known as talented gunners. Militiamen who were associated with the fur trade were the most capable and, without a doubt, the most numerous to take part in the raids against faraway enemy establishments. Hundreds of others manoeuvred canoes on rivers and lakes, offering their logistical support to all corners of the explored territory.

That being said, despite the frequent assemblies that kept the militia in a state of alert, it was only mobilized in its entirety for invasion attempts. In 1759, approximately a quarter of the entire Canadian population was in the military, a Herculean task in those days, which was unparalleled in the Western world.

Aboriginal allies

The defense of New France depended not only on regular soldiers and militiamen, but also on Aboriginal allies from several nations. At the dawn of the 17th century, the French had joined a network of alliances that gave them their first comrades in arms: Micmac, Innu, Algonquin and Huron-Wendat. They later found allies with the Algonquin populations of the interior, such as the Outaouais and the Illinois, as well as the Iroquois who started settling in the missions of the St. Lawrence Valley in the late 1660s. The “Christian Savages” who inhabited these missions — Huron, Iroquois, Abenaki, Algonquin and Nipissing — served as assault troops in all of France’s wars.

These Aboriginal allies fought with the French for several reasons, but oftentimes, the conflict was simply the prolongation of a long-standing intertribal rivalry. In the case of wars opposing the French and the Five Nations Iroquoisg, for example, the Algonquin, the Huron, the Abenaki, the Outaouais and the Illinois were natural, even zealous allies. In addition, these and many other nations considered their role as military allies to go hand in hand with their role as trading partners. This kind of reciprocity, ceaselessly consolidated and renewed by diplomatic relations, gifts and exchanges, led allies to the war path.

French-Aboriginal campaigns also gave warriors the opportunity to distinguish themselves among their own, and to bring back prisoners, scalps or other loot that could contribute to the emotional and material well-being of their community. At the end of the 17th century, colonial authorities offered their allied additional incentives in the form of rewards to those who returned with war prisoners or enemy scalps. Prisoners were often adopted by victorious communities or handed to the French. In the case of the latter, Anglo-American prisoners were sometimes invited to assimilate, but they were more often exchanged during peace treaties and agreements. As for Aboriginal prisoners from faraway nations, they were fated to become slaves.

The benefits and limitations of the “Canadian” tactic

As of the end of the 1680s, the officers of the Navy troops in Canada realized that the only way to reach the enemy was to adopt Aboriginal tactics, which consisted of launching surprise attacks in the weak areas of the enemy’s territory. Aboriginal warriors were, however, very independent and could refuse to fight at any moment. By combining European military organisation and discipline to the Aboriginals’ stealth tactic, the “war party” that led such an expedition would become a formidable opponent.

In the 1690s, this type of “war party,” composed of Canadian officers, soldiers, militiamen and volunteers who were accustomed to canoe trips and forest hiking in both summer and winter, and which benefited from the help of Aboriginal warriors from allied nations, was an immediate success. Within a few years, they captured and destroyed many fortlets and hamlets, first on the edge of New England and New York, then in Iroquois territories. In July 1755, by using this tactic, French, Canadian and Aboriginal allies succeeded in crushing the Anglo-American army of General Braddock.

However, during the Seven Years’ War, Great Britain sent tens of thousands of regular soldiers, with the support of part of its naval-warfare branch as well as American troops. France, after having sent a few battalions of its own army, abandoned its North-American colony. The “Canadian tactic” was not enough to defend the country against so many enemy forces, no more, in fact, that during pitched battles (European style). The opposing forces were too uneven. In September 1760, surrounded by three British armies, French and Canadian troops capitulated in Montréal.

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Original research: René CHARTRAND, historian