Seigneuries – a large piece of land in New France given to a Seigneur by the King or the Governor
means of organizing the French population along the St. Lawrence encourage the settlement of New France to promote the distribution of land At a Seigneury is a seigneur, and tenants known as Habitants
Government in France gave large blocks of land to: French nobles Army officers Merchants Government officials Roman Catholic Church
The seigneurs had to split the large piece of land into smaller pieces and gave them to settlers (called Habitants). In addition to giving the land away, the Seigneur had to build a small church or chapel, and a mill where the habitants could grind their wheat into flour.
Access to the river was important as no roads had been built when the land was first settled Therefore, the typical farm was a long, narrow strip. All the seigneuries and all of the settler’s strips of land had access to the river Successive generations were given land in the second & third rows
They all needed water frontage because the rivers were the highways of New France. There were very few roads, and most of those were of very poor quality.)
The aim of the seigneurial system was to: Get the land settled as quickly as possible so that people could grow enough food to feed the people of New France
Seigneur – a “land lord” who was given a piece of land by the king. the owner of a large piece of land They were usually wealthy, important citizens e.g. retired military leaders, bishops, merchants.
The seigneurs had to split the large piece of land into smaller pieces and gave them to settlers (called Habitants). Ever heard of Habitant Pea Soup?
Clear the Land Find settlers for it Maintain a house to which the habitants came to pay their rents and to settle minor disputes Had to build a mill to grind grain
If the Seigneur could not complete his duties, his seigneury could be taken away from him. Would be given to someone else. Habitant Paying Rent to Seigneur.
a settler who worked on the land given to him by the Seigneur
The habitants could make a good living on the land given to them They built their own homes, cleared and farmed their land, and produced enough to live on. However, the habitants owed something to the seigneur for letting them live there.
Building themselves houses Ploughing their land Starting farms Pay Seigneur various forms of rents called cens et rentes These could be paid in grain, other produce, money Grain Mills
They also had to agree to give him 1/14 th of the flour they produced at the mill, a certain amount of the wood cut on their land, and some of the fish they caught on their river front.
The Habitants also agreed to give 3 days each year to help farm the Seigneurs’ piece of land This was usually done during planting and harvesting season Think about it: Why do you think the Seigneur would have the Habitants work during those times of the year?
With this system they could own their own farms Could leave their farms to their children But, if they sold the land outside the family, the Seigneur would receive part of the money from the sale
Habitant Farm Habitant House Seigneurs land with house located here
The British keep the Seigneurial system Not abolished until 1854 From the air you can see the pattern of the strip farms today. This satellite photo shows the strategic point in the St Lawence River "where the river narrows" (the meaning of the word Québec). This was the region first settled by the French (courtesy Canada Centre for Remote Sensing).