Life was not always rosy for the colonists in the years around 1645. Many difficulties complicated daily life. They had to build, clear the land and adapt to the harsh winter climate.  These were also times of conflict and even war, so French settlers had to be wary of attacks, in this case by the Iroquois from the south, known as the Haudenosaunee or the Five Nations.

Friends of their enemies were their enemies too!

When the French settled in the St. Lawrence Valley, the Haudenosaunee did not immediately go to war against them. Instead, they went to war against other Indigenous nations like the Algonquins, the Innu (Montagnais), and even the Iroquoian-speaking Wendats (the Huron).  Why do you think the Haudenosaunee did that? Well, that is a good question! Let’s just say they wanted to protect their hunting territory, and they wanted to be the most important nations in the fur trade. So the French, who were friends with those enemy Algonquin, Innu and Wendat nations also eventually became the enemies of the Iroquois to the south.

Fear in the colony

The forts of Montréal and Trois-Rivières were repeatedly attacked by these Iroquois, which caused the deaths of many colonists. The habitants were afraid to farm the land. To protect themselves, they farmed in groups, some standing guard armed with weapons while the others worked. Fortunately, there were also periods of truce (agreed to pauses) that allowed the colony to grow.

But how did these wars end? Find out by reading about the Great Peace of Montréal.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See also – Traces of the past:  

And the related page:  The Great Peace of 1701!

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