Life in New France
Seigneury, The Habitants, Old vs. New France, Early
Towns, Roles of Women
By: Esther, Julianna, Robyn, and Katelyn
Seigneuries- were land strips
along the St. Lawrence river.
Each piece of land belonged
to the king of France and was
maintained by the landlord,
or seigneur.
 The seigneurial system was
introduced to New France in
1627 by Cardinal Richelieu.
Under this system, the lands
were arranged in long narrow
strips, called seigneuries, along
the banks of the St. Lawrence
River. Each piece of land
belonged to the king of
France and was maintained by
the landlord, or seigneur.
The seigneurial system
was introduced because
the St. Lawrence River
was something like the
"Highway of New France".
The river provided water
and a means of
transportation, which
enabled settlers with land
along the St. Lawrence to
be successful. Land along
the river, therefore, was
much in demand.
The seigneur divided the
land further among his
tenants, known
as censitaires or habitants,
who cleared the land, built
houses and other
buildings, and farmed the
The habitants paid taxes
to the seigneur called
cens and another
inheritance tax
called lods and ventes. The
habitants would also
divide their land for their
children once they had
families of their own.
Unlike the French feudalism
from which it came from, the
lord of the manor was not
granted the jurisdiction to
impose fines and penalties as
in Europe. Those powers
were given to the Intendant
of New France, which was a
commissioner sent by the
Seigneurs were vassals to the
king, who granted them the
deeds to the seigneuries. The
seigneurial system differed
somewhat from its
counterpart in France. The
seigneurs of New France
were not always nobles.
Seigneuries in North
America were granted to
military officers, some were
owned by the Catholic clergy
and even by unions of local
There were about
2572 people using the
seigneual system.
There were 3215
people living in new
France at the time and
80% of all people
farmed. It rapidly grew
later on. In 1712 the
population had grown
to 20000 people.
They subdivided the
tracts of land into lots
or censives each
approximately 3
arpents of frontage by
30 arpents in depth
(180 by 1,800 meters).
Seignuery Map
Five things that the
Seigneury had to do:
- Clear the land
- Build church
- Grant the farm lots
- Have a court to
settle people’s
- They had the rights
to repossess land if it
was not being used
Five things the
habitants had to do:
Paid a rent of 2 bushels
of wheat, 1 chicken, and
5$ a year
They provided service
for the Seigneur
Cleared the trees
Grounded the grain
Fight in the military
Young People had
jobs also.
They could work
with their father on
the farms.
They were
educated and could
set up their own
businesses or
inherit/get farm
 In 1663, half of
the seigneuries of
New France were
managed by
women. This
situation came to
be because a
woman could
inherit her
property after his
New France Versus Old France
Old France
Down sides
Already a country
You don’t have to
move (be on a boat
for like ever) and sell
everything to go
You have everything
you need around you.
Many people were
It isn’t an adventure
You don’t get a new
New France
More Job
Not as many people
New beginning
You had to move
It was across the sea
-Extremely cold
-Almost starved
New diseases
New place you don’
know what you are
getting yourself into
The First Women of New France
Jeanne Mance was one of
the founders of Montreal in
New France. She also
established a hospital.
Marguerite Bourgeoys
initiated the construction
of the Notre-Dame-deBon-Secours Chapel. She
also became the first
Canadian Saint.
The First Women of New France
Madeleine Jarret de
Vercheres was the
daughter of a seigneur.
She is a hero of New
France because she
warned the Fort
Vercheres of an Iroquois
Madame d'Youville
founded a group of
women called the Grey
Nuns that provided
homes for the poor.
Women of New France were
originally the Filles du Roi of
 They came to France to marry
the men there.
 The women of New France
were considered the household
runners. They also were often
put in charge of the duties of
their husbands and brother's
while they were away or if
anything happened to them.
These women were well
educated as they were often put
in charge of the children's
education. They sometimes had
duties with military and political
Women were more
knowledgeable than men about
the business as the men were
often on fur routes.
Women had some of the same
duties as men, but men were
Women were better off in New
France than in France. They had
a chance to be educated. But
they definitely didn’t have the
same freedoms as today.
Legal rights
Women couldn’t sue or be sued,
They easily carry on business, or
dispose of own property, without
the husbands permission.
Women could carry on their
husband’s business if he died.
They were able to work in family
business and be business partners.
They worked alongside men in the
Learned skills of buying, selling,
investing, and bookkeeping
Some women were sent out by
religious leaders to convert the
native peoples.
Farm Life
Life on Seigneuries
revolved around the
harvest seasons.
Farm products included:
- grain
- wheat
- oats
- corn
- barley
- tobacco
- livestock (pigs, cattle,
horses, sheep, goats, and
Farm Life
In their spare time,
Habitants attended
dinners and dances.
Sons and daughters of
habitants intermarried
with people who lived
in towns.
Early Towns
Towns provided
irrigation, drinking water,
and transportation.
The towns had small
industries, schools,
hospitals, and other
Merchants, traders,
artisans, craftsmen, and
musicians lived in the
Early Towns
Merchants bought the
habitants’ wheat and fur
then traded them for a
profit. The artisans were
brought from France to
paint religious decorations
in Churches and portraits
of wealthy people living in
People who worked
Seigneuries didn’t have
these traits.
Some People preferred
starting businesses instead
of farming.
Early Towns
The two largest towns in
New France were
Quebec and Montreal
Quebec was the capital
and later became
Quebec City.
Immigration to New France
peaked from 1666-1672.
War in France delayed it for
80 years- colonists were
forbidden to go to New
In 1752 it picked up again.
Time to play Millionaire
Dun Dun Duhhhh!!