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French Louisiana In The Age Of The Companies, 1712–1731

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Chapter Summary

In the New World, companies quickly became involved in the French colonization of Acadia, Canada, and the West Indies. By the end of the seventeenth century, however-the time of the founding of Louisiana-these various colonies had almost all passed under direct royal authority. The companies were criticized for having contributed too little to the peopling and development of the territories over which they exercised their privileges. The decision to entrust the management of Louisiana to a company for two decades proceeded not from an irrational decision, but from necessity. Anxious to preserve a colony that played an essential strategic role and for which there were initially high economic hopes, the monarchy had recourse to this expedient, for lack of sufficient means to develop the Mississippi colony itself. The companies to which Louisiana was entrusted were formed at the instigation of the crown itself and not on the initiative of merchants.

Keywords: Canada; French colonization; Louisiana; merchants; Mississippi colony

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