In the 1600s, France had a problem. Both it and England were trying to build colonies in the Americas, and from population standpoint, England was way ahead, with its number of colonists in the low six figures. France, on the other hand, had only about 3,000 settlers in New France, thanks to a rather utilitarian view of women and children as inessential to a fur trapper’s bottom line. Louis XIV’s solution to this problem: shipping eligible ladies across the Atlantic to find husbands and start having babies.
We’re not blind to the many other issues that came about as a consequence of European colonization of the Americas (you’ll hear me mesh “colonization” and “colonialism” into one novel non-word) but today’s story is really about who these women were, how they got to New France and what happened to them after they arrived.
Here’s a link to our notes and research.