Under the French régime, the history of Canada can be divided, according to the events which mark them, into three distinct periods: the periods of foundation, of colonization and of expansion. The first volume of this work described the longest of these, the period of foundation, extending from pre-historic origins to the transfer of the colony to royal administration in 1663. It is also the heroic period during which, under the monopoly of the trading companies, indomitable pioneers and missionaries strove stubbornly to establish a new France in Canada in the face of the unceasing and cruel Iroquois wars. Continuing the chronicle, the present volume studies the period of colonization which begins in 1663 with an officially sponsored emigration of heads of families, engagés, soldiers and marriageable girls. These new Canadians adapted themselves to an environment rich in gifts and in promise, and their natural increase in numbers was astonishing. They cleared the Laurentian forest, and they sowed and civilized the land thus cleared on both sides of the river from Tadoussac to Lachine. Jesuit fathers established distant missions and bold coureurs de bois extended the beaver trade. They explored an immense territory stretching from the Acadian coast to Louisiana and the mouth of the Mississippi. During this period of a half a century, from 1663 to 1713, in spite of rivalries and Anglo-Iroquois wars, this veritable empire was maintained in its entirety. In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht confirmed the victory of the anti-French coalition in Europe and made the first breach in the French empire in America by ceding to England Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Acadia.
It is this period of colonization, during which New France was settled and enlarged that, with the help of contemporary documents, the present volume proposes to recount.