Frontenac was appointed governor of New France in 1672 by the King. Louis XIV felt that this experienced military man would be able to protect the colony and help develop it. Frontenac agreed to go to this distant colony and took his role as the King’s official representative very seriously.

Frontenac encouraged the fur trade, which was a profitable activity. To further develop this trade, Frontenac supported explorations. This allowed him to expand the territory of New France and establish new trading posts where furs could be traded with Indigenous Peoples. He profited directly from this trade and made many enemies among merchants who did not benefit from his protection. The king called him back to France in 1682.

During his absence, war broke out with the Iroquois and the British. Frontenac returned to New France in 1689 to organize the colony‘s defence. This boosted morale among the habitants, who had been frightened by the Iroquois attacks. He then launched a major offensive (attack) in the heart of Iroquois territory.

In 1690, Admiral William Phips tried to invade New France with a large naval fleet. When he arrived at Québec, he demanded Frontenac’s surrender. Frontenac immediately replied: “I will respond by the mouth of my cannons!” Helped by the climate and a lack of preparation among the British, Frontenac successfully defends the colony and restores alliances with the Indigenous Peoples.

Frontenac once again drew criticism, however, by favouring certain merchants in the fur trade. He indirectly participated in this trade through these alliances, which were to the detriment of several established merchants. Despite his tendency to mix his role as governor with his own personal interests, Frontenac remained in office until his death at Québec in 1698.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social 

Video available:
Governor Frontenac HERITAGE MINUTE at

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