During the whole period of New France, that’s Canada’s first centuries, colonial affairs, like those of French provinces, were directed from Paris. In 1663, New France was placed under the control of the Ministry of Marine, headed by Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Policy, appointments, pensions, salaries, everything what happened in Canada, was decided in Versailles. Obviously, because of the distance and the short shipping season, instructions reached the colony once a year. These interruptions left Versailles poorly informed about colonial problems, and as a result, decisions made in France could be totally inappropriate for the colony and local officials could only delay implementation while they tried to convince Paris to change direction.

As a clear example of this unreasonable policy we can cite the case of 1696, when the ministry of Marine ordered the abandonment of western military posts in Canada in an attempt to curb excessive trading in beaver. This decision imperilled the local economy, disrupted alliance with native peoples and gave chance to the British to expand. For two decades, until the posts were reopened, the governors of New France fought for the reversal of this policy.

This situation led to many conflicts and was partly responsible for the eventual collapse of New France in 1760.

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