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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Date > 1600

Compagnies franches de la Marine (Warships)

Type: Document

The names of troops raised by the French Ministry of Marine often confuse people. There were separate units of Compagnies franches de la Marine to serve aboard warships. These troops had nothing to do with the Compagnies franches found in Canada.

Site: National Defence

Soldiers' Daily Lives

Type: Document

It is difficult to reconstruct soldiers' day to day lives, because they would vary depending on where the soldier was stationed and also the time of year. Nevertheless, it can be said that days started early, would often be spent on guard duty, and less frequently doing drill.

Site: National Defence

A New Monetary System

Type: Document

Official currency in France and its colonies consisted of 'livres' (pounds), 'sous' (shillings) and 'deniers' (pence), but the shortage of coins led to common use of Spanish silver pieces in New France. The first recorded use of paper money in the modern sense was also in New France.

Site: National Defence

To the Sound of the Drummer's Beat

Type: Document

Fortified towns like Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Louisbourg were all governed by military staffs. The lives of French soldiers and Canadian civilians alike were regulated by the different drum beatings of the garrison, from La Diane at dawn to La Retraite at sunset.

Site: National Defence

Justice

Type: Document

Officers were subject to both military and civil courts, and could face the death penalty. Duelling, disobeying orders and flight in the face of the enemy were all strenuously punished.

Site: National Defence

Canada's First Warriors

Type: Interactive ResourceDocument

A slide show presentation of Native American dress from the 16th to mid-18th century.

Site: National Defence

A Canadian Military Elite is Born

Type: Document

The officers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine became more and more Canadian in nature as time passed. Eventually, a majority of these men were born in the colony, and the French-born officers also established strong roots in Canada.

Site: National Defence

A Garrison at Placentia

Type: Document

A small garrison of Troupes de la Marine arrived in Newfoundland in 1687, where fortifications were gradually established. The garrison suffered from desertion, and was attacked by pirates, English privateers and the English Royal Navy.

Site: National Defence

Twelve Hundred New Men

Type: Document

The addition of 1,200 new Frenchmen to a colony of only 3,200 made a big impact on the community. The Régiment Carignan-Salières was quickly deployed to fortifications along the Richelieu River.

Site: National Defence

Recruiting Sergeants

Type: Document

Recruiters would entice potential volunteers with false tales of the easy, glorious life they would lead in the military, and told stories of riches to be won. Getting the men drunk also played an important part in recruiting practices.

Site: National Defence