Winter in New France: A Constant Battle (1535 - 1763)

TitleWinter in New France: A Constant Battle (1535 - 1763)
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2014
AuthorsToupin, Jerry
Conference Name82nd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2014
Conference LocationDurango, Colorado
Keywordsadaptation, Canada, New France, survival, winter

On behalf of King of France, François I, explorer, sailor and geographer Jacques Cartier and about 60 men sailed to North America from St. Malo, France in April-May 1534. They reached and explored parts of the St. Lawrence River banks (until August 1534) which would become the cradle of New France (for more than 2 centuries from about 1534 to 1763). Winter was brutal and merciless for the first settlers used to a milder climate in France. At the very beginning of the colony and thereafter, several people died from cold, famine and diseases, including scurvy. This article looks at how people, notably from about 20 settlers in 1608 in Québec City to approximately 65,000 in the new world in 1763 fought, managed and over time adapted to the harsh environment in what later became known as Canada.