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Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
(includes activity)

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LESSON 7: Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
(includes activity)

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This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 3 Claiming the Wilderness

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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.

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    Episode 1
    When the World Began...
    Lesson 1 Canada's First Peoples
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 2 Stories of Creation
    Lesson 3 Cartier and Donnacona

    Episode 2
    Adventures and Mystics
    Lesson 4 The Beginning of the Fur Trade
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 5 The Jesuits and the Huron
    Lesson 6 Immigration to New France

    Episode 3
    Claiming the Wilderness
    Lesson 7 Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 8 The Expulsion of the Acadians

    Episode 4
    Battle for a Continent
    Lesson 9 Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 10 The Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 11 The Quebec Act
    (includes activity)

    Episode 5
    A Question of Loyalties
    Lesson 12 Conflict in Quebec, 1775
    Lesson 13 United Empire Loyalists
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 14 Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

    Episode 6
    The Pathfinders
    Lesson 15 The Fur Trade in Canada
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 16 The Selkirk Settlers
    Lesson 17 The Gold Rush

    Episode 7
    Rebellion and Reform
    Lesson 18 The Rebellions of 1837
    Lesson 19 Union of the Canadas
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 20 A Land of Hope

    Episode 8
    The Great Enterprise
    Lesson 21 Newcomers to Canada
    Lesson 22 The Making of Confederation
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 23 Confederation in the Maritimes

    Episode 9
    From Sea to Sea
    Lesson 24 The Red River Resistance
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 25 The Pacific Scandal

    Episode 10
    Taking the West
    Lesson 26 The North-West Rebellion
    Lesson 27 The Trial of Louis Riel
    Lesson 28 Macdonald's National Dream

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