Inquiry Question:

What were the motivating factors behind the creation of New France?


A) Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.


For many years, France had plans to colonize the ‘New World’. Their actual first attempt to do this was when Jacques Cartier arrived in Chaleur Bay. After unboarding his ship, Cartier placed a 30-foot cross made of wood, and attached a shield to it. The shield bore the Fleur-de-lis, and upon this he carved the words, “Vive le Roy de France,”  and claimed the land for France. The phrase means “Long live the king of France” in English. After this, Cartier returned back to France really soon, only to return another two times to claim the St. Lawrence river and the present Maritimes area.


Then, in the early 1600’s, Samuel de Champlain was approved by the government to inhabit the new claimed area- which he believed had great potential. The first fort Champlain created was Port Royal, located in Acadia. Unfortunately for Champlain, this fort failed due to severe winter weather and people lacking sufficient survival and farming skills. Champlain’s next fort, which he named Québec, was established in the year 1608. The next winter though, fifteen of Champlain’s men died from scurvy- a horrific disease. Trust me, you don’t want to have it. The first nations helped Champlain throughout this winter, and in the following spring French ships arrived with supplies, securing the fate of Champlain and his men, and also securing the fate of New France.


The reason this is so interesting is because Samuel de Champlain sailed all the way from France, and founded Quebec City, which is still very successful to this day! If Champlain didn’t bother to come here in the first place, or if he didn’t survive that first winter, or even if his ship was wiped out from a storm-which is very likely-then there may not be a Quebec to this day!


(The Fleur-de-lis)

  1. Cause and Consequence:


   The reason New France was founded was because France had plans to colonize the “new world”, which is what Canada was called at the time. Despite earlier attempts failing, Champlain was the one to truly begin the foundation of New France. Champlain endured a savage winter, and he also completed a treacherous voyage across the sea, all to create his establishment for France. The consequences to Champlain’s actions are the creation of New France, and the expansion of the French empire in the area. Samuel de Champlain himself also wanted to explore the area because he personally believed that it had great potential.


He received the government’s approval to do this, which is how he got the permission to embark on his quest in the first place. If the government officials were to deny him, then Champlain likely never would’ve never created New France. There were a lot of factors that contributed to New France actually getting founded- and even the slightest change would have resulted in a totally different outcome.

(Champlain’s map of Eastern Canada/New France)

  1. Ethical Judgement:


What happened was right and fair by the values and standards of time, because Champlain had the permission and approval of the France government, and he wasn’t committing any crimes or misdeeds. Back when all of these events happened, Champlain’s actions were well-founded and reasonable, so yes they were right and fair by the values and standards back then. It was common to sail to new areas and claim them for your country, which is exactly what Champlain was doing, with the rest of his crew.


With our present day values, there still wasn’t anything wrong with Champlain’s actions, but we still would have mixed feelings. One thing we would one hundred percent think about is first nations. The fact that Champlain moved into First Nations territory would be  very large issue nowadays, even though the First Nations helped Champlain and his men through the harsh winter. The deaths of all his men would also be far more tragic and impactful to us, and our emotional feelings would’ve been drastically different.


(Champlain trading with the first nations)


B) What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?


   Champlain went through incomparable hardships and problems. The journey and weather he endured in the conditions he was forced to live in were extremely tough, and even we can’t compare. The main reasons that New France was created was because France wanted to expand their control and to colonize the new land. This is why explorers (Champlain) were sent to explore the land.


If Champlain never came to Canada, there may not even be a Quebec, and even bigger- French may not even be our second language. Just imagine that, if French weren’t our second language. This is why it’s so important that Champlain founded New France, and that we shouldn’t just disregard the fact- because many of us don’t realize how important this was- and still is.


(A sketch of Champlain-not made by me)


(Primary Source)

(Secondary Source)

(Secondary Source)

(Secondary Source) Crossroads- A Meeting of Nations (Second Edition)

(Grade 10 investigation consulted)