||Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 3 Claiming the Wilderness
Backgrounder and Activity
This activity focuses on the three chapters of Episode 3 entitled "To the Upper Country", "The First Colonial War" and "The Great Peace."
Encouraged by the search for furs of higher quality, the traders and adventurers of New France continued their exploration of the Canadian interior towards the West and the South. These video excerpts trace the history of Frontenac, governor of the colony, and his associate, Cavelier de LaSalle who, despite the orders from the Sun King prohibiting the expansion of the colony's frontiers, established trading posts right to the Gulf of Mexico.
The French forged peace with the Iroquois in 1667 after the Carignan-Salières regiment arrived. This marked the end of a conflict that for over 20 years had jeopardized the very existence of the little colony established along the St. Lawrence River. Peace fostered exploration. Louis Buade de Frontenac was named governor in 1672. Under his administration, almost a third of the colony's men became coureurs des bois. They used the network of waterways that span North America to launch expeditions and claimed huge territories in the name of France.
The coureurs des bois contributed enormously to the exploration of the territory. In 1682, René-Robert Cavalier de La Salle discovered the mouth of the Mississippi and sought recognition from his discovery. However, after having convinced King Louis XIV of the importance of establishing a colony at the Mississippi, the La Salle expedition went tragically wrong. The officers began to quarrel, some of his ships were lost in the Gulf of Mexico and La Salle was assassinated by one of his own men.
Activity: In the Name of Peace
Have students list, on paper, five important reasons for making peace with our enemies. Then challenge them to describe five ways of maintaining peace and making it endure.
Create a ceremony like the ones celebrated at the gatherings of the great aboriginal chiefs. Have students sit in a circle and read their papers out loud, then place their sheets in the middle of the circle.
When all the students have read their papers, have them sign a pact in the classroom to ensure that all the students respect their vows of peace.