The Canadian Centenary Series

The Beginnings of New France 1524-1663

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Volume II of the Canadian Centenary Series 

Now available as e-books for the first time, the Canadian Centenary Series is a comprehensive nineteen-volume history of the peoples and lands which form Canada. Although the series is designed as a unified whole so that no part of the story is left untold, each volume is complete in itself.

French explorers first came to North America in 1524, but it was not until Cartier’s discovery of the St. Lawrence River in 1535 that any attempts at exploration and settlement inland became possible. Even with that, Roberval found it necessary to abandon his attempt at colonization in 1543, and a veil of mystery fell once more over the great river of Canada. Subsequent expeditions were beset by difficulties and defeats arising from the climate, the hostility of the natives, and political and economic conditions in Europe. Finally, early in the next century, French official policy again turned to New France, and a new era of colonization and exploration began.

Marcel Trudel has produced an expert and distinguished work, recounting the first years of French exploration and colonization in the New World, a record filled with setbacks, hardships, and frustrations, but also with successes. Throughout his long academic career, the author has devoted himself to research and writing on the history of New France from its beginnings to the 1760s. In this volume, he has been able to call upon all his past work to produce a lucid and exciting account of the earliest journeys in the sixteenth century and the complete history of exploration, settlement, and commerce during the first part of the seventeenth century. Particular attention is given to the relationship between the events in the New World and in Europe, and also to the role of the First Nations peoples who, with their vitally important trade networks, were so closely involved in the history of New France.

First published in 1973, Professor Trudel’s important contribution to the Canadian Centenary Series is available here as an e-book for the first time.