55 000 people
Your Majesty King Louis XV,
Despite all our efforts, the population of New France is increasing less rapidly than in the English colonies. Last year, there were about 55 000 people in New France.
Three out four live in the countryside. The others live in the colony’s three towns: Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal. Québec is the capital and main town, with 4600 inhabitants; 3700 people live in Montréal. Only the voyageurs working in the fur trade lead a nomadic way of life; everyone else is sedentary.
The population is still concentrated in the St. Lawrence Valley between Vaudreuil and Ȋle-aux-Coudres. Our territory of Louisiana is growing even more slowly; only 4000 souls live there.
Far fewer colonists have come to settle in the colony than expected. Large Canadian families have been responsible for the increase in the population. Each family has an average of seven children. It was the arrival of the filles du roi (literally, the king’s daughters) that enabled this significant growth in the population. As a result, most of the colony’s habitants were born here and many of them consider themselves Canadians rather than French immigrants.
Your faithful and devoted intendant,
See a full-screen version of the period’s timeline in French at: http://www.lignedutemps.qc.ca/t36804/lecture
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
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French (If available)