Fewer than 1000 people
I have been the governor of New France for several years now and I am discouraged to see that there are so few of us here. Most of the colonists have settled in the St. Lawrence Valley, near Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal. Outside these areas there are very few people. Since there are seven times more men than women in New France, it is difficult for these men to find a wife and start a family so that they can settle here permanently.
Most of the inhabitants in New France live near fur trading posts because this is the main source of work in the colony. The territory is large but we cannot settle all of it because there are so few of us. Also, most of the inhabitants are engagés (contract labourers) and many of them return to France after a few months or years of work.
It has been almost 40 years since Québec was founded, but the colony is not growing quickly enough. Indigenous Peoples and the British greatly outnumber us (French), so we are vulnerable to attacks and invasion. We desperately need colonists to populate and develop the colony!
Charles Huault de Montmagny, governor of New-France.
Did you know?
It is hard to know how many people lived in Canada in 1645. That’s because a census had not been taken that year. However, we do know that there were 250 inhabitants in 1641 and 2000 in 1653. Using these numbers, we can estimate how many people lived in Canada in 1645.