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A New France | The Iroquois  | English Invasion | Peace | Seigneiurial System | The Kings Girls | Canadian Identity | Society | Government | The Church | Champlain | Frontenac | Acadia | The Fall

One of the challenges that New France faced was that of becoming a self sustaining society able to increase it's population through birth as well as immigration. The issue was lack of females. Most of the colonists were soldiers, businessmen with charters, fur traders, tradesmen or farmers. Danger from the Iroquois discouraged voluntary female settlers and the rough conditions also made it difficult for any women who lived in New France. One of the differences between New France and the English settlements to the south was that the French government took a more direct interest in the development of the colony.

From 1663 to 1673 Louis XIV supported a plan to increase the female population of marriageable age in New France. The belief was that the society would become more stable, grow faster with indigenous production of babies, and hence lead to a self sufficient colony which might contribute to the wealth of France and not drain the King's resources. The population of New France in 1663 was around 2500 people which were mainly men and mainly concentrated along the north shore of the St Lawrence between Quebec City and Montréal.

The girls were selected in France via a screening process which was to insure that they were single, healthy, and of child bearing age. They were then prepared for the crossing of the Atlantic and 1663 the first group of 36 girls arrived in New France. The girls were housed in a dormitory which was overseen by the church. Interviews were arranged for interested men to come and meet the girls. A mutual agreement between the man and the women had to be archived in order that for a marriage to take place.. More girls arrived the following year but it was soon decided that girls would be exclusively recruited from peasant stock and not from the city population, due to the difficulty experienced by the city girls in adapting to the rigorous conditions in New France.

By 1671 Jean Talon, governor of New France, declared that with the birth of over 600 babies, the program had proven to be a great success and by the following year with war breaking out in Europe, France decided to end the program.