THE HISTORY OF CANADA
New France continued to grow slowly. The fur trade served both to keep alive an interest in the territory and at the same time to discourage the development of agriculture, the surest foundation of a colony in the New World. Settlers founded Trois-Rivieres, farther up the St. Lawrence, in 1634.
The most distant outpost for many years was Montreal, founded by Paul de Chomedy, sieur de Maisonneuve, on May 18, 1642. First known as Ville-Marie, this settlement, one day to become Canada's largest city, was begun as a mission post. One of the most famous of the leaders who accompanied Maisonneuve was Jeanne Mance, founder of the Hotel-Dieu, the first hospital at Ville-Marie.
The establishing of Montreal was part of a large Canadian missionary movement which was based in France. The work and self-sacrifice of the Christian missionaries in the young colony and in the wilds that lay beyond it is one of the most stirring chapters in the history of New France. During the 40 years following the founding of Quebec, a dozen mission posts were built in the Huron country south of Georgian Bay.
The Hurons lived under constant threat of attack by the other Iroquois tribes dwelling south and east of Lake Ontario. Suddenly, in 1648, the Iroquois launched their final invasion of Huronia. Several brave Jesuit priests died as martyrs, and within a year both the Hurons and the missionaries had been either wiped out or driven elsewhere.
The Iroquois menace continued as one of the great obstacles to the expansion of settlement. The history of New France contains many accounts of heroism on the part of soldiers, settlers, and missionaries during this long guerrilla warfare on the outskirts of the colony. In 1660 Adam Dollard des Ormeaux led a small band of men in a stand to the death against an Iroquois war party which was on its way to destroy the settlement at Montreal. When they had counted the losses they suffered at the hands of so few Frenchmen, the Indians abandoned their plans. As late as 1692, 14-year-old Marie-Madeleine de Vercheres with only five companions defended her father's fort for two days against marauding Iroquois until help arrived.
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