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Canadian Military Heritage
Table of Contents

The First Warriors
Soldiers of the Sixteenth Century
The First Soldiers of New France
The King's Soldiers
The Compagnies Franches de la Marine of Canada
The Ministry Of The Navy Takes Control
Canadian Officers
Canadian Campaigns
The Strategic Defence Of Canada
European Tactics: Impractical In Canada
Canadian Tacticians
An Original Doctrine Of War
Organization Of Expeditions
Pierre Le Moyne D'iberville
Dominance Of Raid Warfare
Treatment Of Prisoners
Canadian Militiamen
Canadian Voyageurs
Militia Weapons
Militiamen In Combat
Specialized Militia Companies
The Shock Of The Attack On Lachine
1690: A Key Year
The American Colonies Attack New France
Phips At Quebec
The Exhaustion Of The Iroquois
The Failed Invasion Of 1711
Toward the Creation of an Empire
The First Expeditionary Corps
Soldiers of the Atlantic Seaboard
The Military Empire
The Organization of New France
Daily Life in New France
Flags and Uniforms

CHAPTER 5 The Compagnies Franches de la Marine of Canada

The Exhaustion Of The Iroquois ( 2 pages )

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A Strategic Problem
Amerindian warriors, first half of the 18th century
Amerindian warriors, first half of the 18th century
(Click image to enlarge)

The Iroquois subsequently mounted a few small offensives of their own, including the one that gave rise to Madeleine de Verchères' celebrated defensive action in 1692.  In response, the French counterattacked the Iroquois in their own territory.  In January 1693, an expedition razed several Mohawk villages north of Albany, at a critical time for their nation.  The Iroquois began to feel that their allies did not provide much support in difficult times.  The Iroquois were willing to mount raids for the English, but the latter in turn would have to attack the French by sea, for it was "impossible to conquer Canada just by land." 70  This demonstrates a perfect understanding of the strategic and tactical problems of invading Canada.  The Iroquois also noted that the Amerindian allies of the French had powder and large quantities of arms, while they lacked the former and had little of the latter.

The largest French attack on the Iroquois was mounted in 1696.  Under the leadership of Governor Frontenac, who at the age of 74 was carried through the woods in a canoe by bearers, the army of more than 2,000 men went to the heart of Onondaga country, setting fire to their villages and destroying their crops.  The success of this attack, on the heels of the other French victories, led to some rather sad conclusions for the Iroquois: the French had completely mastered the art of attacking sites far from their bases, and the English colonies had done nothing at all to help the Amerindians, even though they were allies.  Furthermore, the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 put an end to the war between England and France.  Discouraged and exhausted, the Iroquois negotiated a final peace, which they signed in 1701 as part of a broader agreement with the French concluded with many Amerindian nations around the Great Lakes.

The Treaty of Ryswick lasted only a few years.  Several European countries were opposed to the grandson of Louis XIV acceding to the Spanish throne, and when Philippe d'Anjou nevertheless became Felipe V, Great Britain, Austria, Holland and numerous German states declared war on France and Spain.  The conflict naturally spread to the colonies.

Additional Images
Madeleine Governor General Frontenac brandishing a war hatchet Statue of Madeleine de Verchères    
Click image to enlarge

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  Last Updated: 2004-06-20 Top of Page Important Notices