Settling a New France

Document 2: Map of French Settlement around Quebec, 1709

Source: Carte du gouvernement de Québec levée en l’année 1709 par les ordres de Monseigneur le Comte de Ponchartrain commandeur des ordres du Roy ministre et secrétaire d’estat / par le Sr. Catalogne lieutenant des troupes ; et dressée par Jean Bte Decoüagn, 1709.


This map, published in 1709, represents some of the work military surveyors Gedeon de Catalogne and Jean-Baptiste de Couagne conducted in the early decades of the eighteenth century.  Their task was to survey each of the seigneuries in the colony. In this map of the area around present-day Quebec City, you can see how land within seigneuries (known as rotures) was most often laid out along the St. Lawrence River’s banks. Habitants, peasant families, would live on this land, creating long stretches of French settlement rather than tight knit towns. North of Quebec, however, you will notice two star shaped surveys. The rotures making up these “stars” (known as Trait-Carres in French) form the neighbourhood of Charlesbourg and reflect an early desire by Louis XIV for village settlements. This settlement pattern, however, did not take root.