By Kenneth J. Banks
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Extra info for Chasing Empire Across the Sea: Communications and the State in the French Atlantic, 1713-1763
6 Henri iv revoked the monopoly upon the protests of Saint Malo, whose merchants had been excluded, in effect opening all transatlantic trade to many French ports. This ruling marked an important watershed, a switch from a monarch’s support of regional interests to the state’s desire to harness and balance competing interests. In the next two critical years, Champlain resurrected a dream dating back to Jacques Cartier’s expeditions (1534–42) of harvesting furs in the St Lawrence River valley. 7 With the assistance of Algonquian-speaking peoples, the post hung on and even grew large and productive enough to attract the notice of Scottish privateers in 1629.
Throughout France, meanwhile, economic devastation, riots, and famine reappeared and ravaged several regions; Louis became widely despised. These two long wars of attrition eventually became colonial wars of attrition. Settlers in New France faced a series of attacks by the Five Nations Iroquois up the St Lawrence River, including the massacre off four hundred people at Lachine (near Montreal) in 1689, and a concerted invasion effort by militia from New England sailing down the river the next year.
At the same time, Pontchartrain also authorized a scheming former fur-post commander, Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac, to build a fur post at the strategic narrows connecting Lakes Erie and Huron, close to the portages to the Wabash and Saint Joseph Rivers. From 1701 the post, called simply “The Strait,” or Le Détroit, became a magnet of settlement for Huron, Wyandot, and Potawatami families and some French traders. Île Royale formed the third and final piece in France’s burgeoning North Atlantic empire.