What a large territory New France was! There was no end of new places for the explorers to discover, or to take possession of for the king of France. In 1745, the territory of New France stretched all the way from Newfoundland to Mexico. The climate varied greatly from one end of the territory to the other.

In the St. Lawrence River Valley, the summers were short and the winters were severe. The soil in the valley was very fertile, but crops had to be chosen carefully. They had to grow before winter and be able to endure the northern climate.

The north of the colony was rich in furs and timber, which was very important for trade. But since everything was frozen solid during the winter months, including the St. Lawrence River, all activities slowed down. Boats could not come to do business all year long; this was a weak point in the north of the colony.

In the south of the colony, all along the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, things were quite different. It was warm and humid all year long and the further south you went, the swampier the land became. Boats could travel there all year long, which was great for trading. The same plants were not cultivated there as in the St. Lawrence Valley. Instead, sugar and indigo (a blue dye) were cultivated for trade. The colony’s territory was so vast that one end had snow while the other end was more like a tropical country.

Author: Léon Robichaud

See also – Traces of the past:

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