The role of the Church in New France

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In the early 16th century France had began colonizing North America, naming it New France. Samuel Chaplain has been considered the founder of New France, establishing settlements in Quebec. This settlement led to the exploitation of the indigenous people that inhabited the North American cotenant. It was the unexploited abundance of natural resources that attracted the Europeans. Fur trading posts were established to provide the bourgeois of Europe with fashionable fur pelts. Pervious attempts were made to establish settlements, but were unsuccessful due to the harsh weather and conditions. Champlain allied with the Huron people, who at the time were at war with the Iroquois people. This bond helped Champlain maintain his settlement and survive the harsh winters. Eventually the King of France demanded the growth of New France. This resulted in promise of land to anyone willing to settle in Quebec. The seigneurial system was established, a system where the land was divided into strips of land along the St. Lawrence River. Individuals who lived on the land were required to maintain the land and pay taxes. However, this new incentive forbade the settlement of any non Roman Catholic to settle on the land. Jesuits and Recollets began to settle in New France. These were Roman Catholic missionary groups. They were ordered to maintain and spread the Roman Catholic beliefs. Initially few aboriginal people converted; however, after much persistence and the introduction of other groups reform schools for girls began to arise. With it Catholic groups began to establish hospitals and hospices. It is apparent that this is the beginning of the assimilation of the Aboriginal people, eventually leading to the horrors of residential schools. Aboriginals were viewed as savages. Their “pagan” beliefs were seen as devil worship. The land the lived on was seen as
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