Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
March 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia




Coureurs-de-Bois, the name applied to those unlicensed traders who, during the French régime in Canada, escaped to the woods, and lived with the Indians. In its attempt to regulate even the trade with the Indians, the government of New France prohibited traders from going to the Indian country without a licence or congé. Licences were granted, however, only to a favoured few; and from an early date the young men of the colony, lured by the life of adventure in the wilds and the chances of, fortune, began to desert the seigniories of New France for the freedom and ease of the Indian villages. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, it was estimated that one-third of the able-bodied men of the colony were coureurs-de-bois. These bushrangers played an important part in the development of the fur-trade and in the exploration of Canada under the French régime. Radisson and Groseilliers were originally coureurs-de-bois, as was the famous Du Luth. See W. B. Munro, The coureurs-de-bois (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1923-4).

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 140.



© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College