How Did the French Treat Native Americans?
When French explorers and fur trappers came to the New World, they experienced a largely peaceful, friendly, and conflict-free relationship with the Native Americans living in the region. Historians attribute this peaceful relationship to the ongoing fur trade between the two groups, as well as to the fact that the French were respectful of land occupied by Native Americans
When the French first came to North America in the 1530s they were primarily interested in the North American fur trade. The Native Americans in the region, who were experienced fur traders, began accompanying the French on hunting trips, instructing them on where to find fur animals in the North American forests. The French quickly established a yearly routine that consisted of spending the spring and summer months in North America, returning to France with ships full of furs, and returning to North America the following spring with European goods for the Native Americans, such as horses, metal pans, and weapons.
The relationship between the two groups became closer when the French established their first permanent North American settlement at Quebec in 1608. The Native Americans living in the area and the French settlers continued to trade with each other, and intermarriage was common between the two groupsIn the mid-1700s Native Americans in the region clashed with English settlers. The French settlers largely supported the Native Americans during these conflicts, and even fought alongside them. The Native Americans and the French settlers fought together in the French and Indian War in 1979, and were defeated by the British after a battle in which forces led by General James Wolfe bested the French and Indian forces, led by General Louis-Joseph.