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Monday, October 30, 2023

Fascinating Genealogy History: Who Were the The Carignan-Salières Regiment? Uncovering the Heroes of New France


    Nestled in the heart of North America, New France was once a thriving French colony that played a crucial role in the history of the continent. One of the lesser-known chapters in this remarkable history revolves around the Carignan-Salières Regiment, a group of soldiers sent across the Atlantic to reinforce and protect the interests of the French in their budding North American colony. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating story of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, exploring who they were and why they came to New France. Prepare to be transported back in time to an era filled with adventure, courage, and the forging of a new world.

    Carignan-Salières soldier

    The Genesis of New France

    To understand why the Carignan-Salières Regiment journeyed to New France, we need to first set the stage by exploring the historical context in which this remarkable event unfolded. The roots of New France can be traced back to the early 17th century when French explorers and fur traders started to venture into the vast wilderness of North America.

    Samuel de Champlain, the "Father of New France," played a pivotal role in establishing the first permanent French settlement, Quebec, in 1608. This bustling trading post on the banks of the St. Lawrence River laid the foundation for French colonial interests in North America.

    The main driving force behind the French colonization of North America was the lucrative fur trade. Beaver pelts, in particular, were highly sought after in Europe for the manufacturing of fashionable hats, a valuable commodity during this period. The French, as well as other European powers, recognized the potential for immense profit in the fur trade, and thus, New France was born.

    However, this newfound paradise was not without its challenges. The French settlers in North America faced numerous obstacles, including rival European powers, hostile Native American tribes, and the vast and untamed wilderness itself. To secure their hold on the territory, the French Crown needed to send reinforcements.

    The Birth of the Carignan-Salières Regiment

    In 1665, King Louis XIV of France took a momentous decision that would have far-reaching consequences for the future of New France. He ordered the dispatch of the Carignan-Salières Regiment to the colony. But who were these soldiers, and why were they chosen for this perilous mission?

    The Carignan-Salières Regiment, or more formally known as the Régiment de Carignan-Salières, was a French infantry regiment established in 1644. It was named after its first colonel, Thomas-François de Savoie, the Prince of Carignan, and his wife, Marie de Bourbon, who held the title of Princess of Carignan and Duchess of Salières. The regiment earned its place in history due to its pivotal role in shaping the destiny of New France.

    The choice of the Carignan-Salières Regiment for this ambitious undertaking was no coincidence. These soldiers were renowned for their discipline, combat prowess, and unwavering loyalty to the French Crown. King Louis XIV saw them as the ideal candidates to reinforce and protect his interests in the New World.

    The Regiment's Mission

    The Carignan-Salières Regiment's mission in New France was clear: to bring stability, security, and control to the French colony. Their arrival marked a turning point in the history of New France and set in motion a series of events that would significantly impact the region.

    Countering the Iroquois Threat: The Iroquois Confederacy, a powerful Native American alliance, had been a constant source of conflict for the French settlers. The Iroquois sought to control the fur trade and often raided French settlements. The Carignan-Salières Regiment was tasked with quelling the Iroquois threat and protecting French interests in the region.

    Expanding French Territory: With the arrival of the regiment, the French aimed to expand their territorial holdings in North America. This was not only to secure access to valuable fur resources but also to assert their dominance over other European powers like the British and Dutch.

    Strengthening the Colony: The regiment was not only a military force but also a group of settlers. They were accompanied by their families, and this marked an effort to reinforce the French presence in New France with permanent inhabitants. This was crucial for the long-term viability of the colony.

    Building Fortifications: The Carignan-Salières Regiment was instrumental in constructing a series of forts along the Richelieu River and the shores of Lake Champlain. These forts served as strategic defensive points against Iroquois incursions and other potential threats.

    Establishing Law and Order: Beyond their military duties, the soldiers were tasked with maintaining law and order in the colony. They were responsible for resolving disputes, enforcing regulations, and ensuring that the settlers could live and work in safety.

    The Arrival in New France

    In the spring of 1665, the Carignan-Salières Regiment set sail from France for the shores of New France. The soldiers, numbering around 1,300, along with their families and support personnel, embarked on this arduous journey across the Atlantic. The voyage was not without its hardships, as the Atlantic Ocean could be treacherous. After a long and challenging journey, they finally reached their destination.

    Upon their arrival, the regiment was greeted with great anticipation. The French settlers in New France saw them as their saviors, their protectors against the ongoing threats they faced. The Carignan-Salières Regiment was a symbol of hope for a brighter and more secure future in the New World.

    The regiment's commander, Lieutenant General Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy, took charge of the operation. With steely determination and a clear sense of purpose, they set about fulfilling their mission.

    Confronting the Iroquois

    One of the most pressing challenges the Carignan-Salières Regiment faced was dealing with the Iroquois Confederacy. The Iroquois had been a constant source of conflict and instability in the region, and the French were determined to put an end to their raids and assert their control over the fur trade.

    The regiment's first major engagement with the Iroquois occurred at the Battle of Long Sault in 1666. This fierce and bloody battle took place near present-day Carillon, Quebec, and was a pivotal moment in the conflict between the French and the Iroquois. Despite being outnumbered, the French forces, with their superior tactics and firepower, emerged victorious.

    The Battle of Long Sault demonstrated the military prowess of the Carignan-Salières Regiment and sent a powerful message to the Iroquois that the French were not to be trifled with. It marked the beginning of a decline in Iroquois raids and a period of relative peace in New France.

    Building Fortifications

    In addition to their military victories, the regiment played a vital role in fortifying the colony. They constructed a series of forts and defenses along key waterways, including the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain. These fortifications served both as defensive structures and as centers for the fur trade.

    One of the most notable forts built by the regiment was Fort Sainte-Thérèse, constructed on the banks of the Richelieu River. This strategic fort helped secure the route to Montreal and provided a base for further French expansion into the region. The presence of these forts not only deterred potential threats but also facilitated the safe passage of French settlers and traders.

    The Carignan-Salières Regiment's efforts in building these fortifications left a lasting legacy on the landscape of New France. Many of these forts would play a significant role in the later history of the region.

    Settling in New France

    The Carignan-Salières Regiment was unique in that it was not just a military force; it was also accompanied by a significant number of settlers. The soldiers and their families were encouraged to establish themselves in the colony and contribute to its growth.

    The regiment's arrival brought a much-needed influx of manpower to New France. With their agricultural skills and knowledge, the settlers began cultivating the land, expanding the colony's agricultural output. This was crucial for the colony's self-sufficiency and long-term viability.

    One of the most well-known settlers to arrive with the regiment was Zacharie Cloutier, an ancestor of numerous French-Canadian families. Cloutier settled in the region of Quebec and went on to become a prominent figure in the early history of New France. His descendants would play a significant role in the development of French-Canadian culture.

    The Arrival of the Filles du Roi

    As part of King Louis XIV's plan to strengthen the colony, the Carignan-Salières Regiment was accompanied by a group of women known as the Filles du Roi, or the "King's Daughters." These women were recruited from orphanages and convents in France and were sent to New France to become wives for the male settlers.

    The arrival of the Filles du Roi was a crucial step in ensuring the colony's growth and stability. It helped address the gender imbalance in the colony and encouraged family life and the birth of children, further securing the French presence in North America.

    These brave women embarked on their own challenging journey across the Atlantic, leaving behind the familiarity of France for the uncertainties of the New World. Their courage and resilience in the face of such a life-altering decision are a testament to the determination of the French Crown to establish a lasting presence in New France.

    Who were the Filles du Roi? Unveiling the Remarkable History of the Filles du Roi in New France

    The Treaty of Montreal

    The success of the Carignan-Salières Regiment in quelling the Iroquois threat and securing French interests in the region was a significant achievement. However, the path to a lasting peace involved diplomatic efforts as well.

    In 1667, negotiations between the French and the Iroquois Confederacy led to the signing of the Treaty of Montreal. This treaty marked the end of hostilities between the two parties and set the stage for a more peaceful coexistence.

    Under the terms of the treaty, the Iroquois agreed to cease their raids on French settlements and to allow French traders and settlers safe passage through their territory. In return, the French promised to provide military assistance to the Iroquois in their conflicts with other Native American tribes.

    The treaty was a crucial step in stabilizing the region and allowing for the further expansion of New France. It also marked the beginning of a more harmonious relationship between the French and the Iroquois, although tensions would flare up at times in the years to come.

    The Legacy of the Carignan-Salières Regiment

    The presence of the Carignan-Salières Regiment in New France had a profound and lasting impact on the colony. Their arrival marked a turning point in the history of the region and set the stage for its future development.

    Military Victory: The regiment's military successes, particularly their victory at the Battle of Long Sault, helped bring an end to the Iroquois threat and ensured a period of relative peace in the colony.

    Territorial Expansion: The construction of forts and the securing of key waterways allowed for the expansion of French territory in North America. This laid the groundwork for the development of New France.

    Settlement and Growth: The presence of the soldiers and settlers from the regiment contributed to the growth and development of the colony. Their agricultural expertise and the arrival of the Filles du Roi helped establish a more stable and self-sustaining community.

    Cultural Impact: The descendants of the Carignan-Salières Regiment and the Filles du Roi played a significant role in the development of French-Canadian culture. Their contributions to the language, traditions, and identity of Quebec and the surrounding regions are still felt today.

    Historical Significance: The Carignan-Salières Regiment's mission and achievements hold a significant place in the history of New France. They are remembered as pioneers and heroes who helped secure the future of the colony.


    The Carignan-Salières Regiment's journey to New France and their mission to secure and strengthen the colony is a captivating tale of courage, resilience, and determination. These soldiers and settlers, sent by King Louis XIV, played a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the region.

    Their military victories, the construction of fortifications, and their commitment to settlement and growth left a lasting legacy on the landscape and culture of New France. The Carignan-Salières Regiment's story is a testament to the enduring spirit of exploration and colonization that marked the age of European expansion into the New World.

    As we look back on this chapter of history, we remember the heroes of the Carignan-Salières Regiment and their remarkable contribution to the rich tapestry of North American history. Their legacy lives on in the heritage and culture of the French-speaking communities of Quebec and beyond, a reminder of the enduring impact of their journey to New France.

    To Learn More:

    If you're eager to dive deeper into the history of the Carignan-Salières Regiment and explore their family backgrounds, you'll find a treasure trove of information about the Carignan-Salières Regiment. This website offers an extensive list of Carignan-Salières Regiment Soldiers, along with valuable insights into their family histories. It's a fantastic resource for those keen on unraveling the stories of these remarkable men and their enduring legacy in New France. So, go ahead and explore the rich tapestry of the Carignan-Salières Regiment's past at and embark on a captivating journey through time.

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