Individual Investigation #1

Question: To what extent did the Filles du Roi influence Canadian culture?

Historical Significance:

My question focuses on a group of women called the Filles du Roi, which means ‘Daughters of the king’. The Filles du Roi are a group of women sent to New France in 1663-1673 by King Louis XIV to populate the settlement. These women were necessary to solve the gender imbalance in New France and encourage men to settle. These 768 Catholic women from the ages 16-24 braved a journey oversea from Paris. One in ten women died along the way. Documents written at the time of their immigration show they made up 50% of all female immigrants during this time. These women were made up of lower class citizens seeking a better life in the New World. Once these women arrived in New France they were married off within months of their arrival. “On average, they were wed within four to five months of their arrival and would bear seven to eight children,” states Geneviève Thauvette in an interview with an online magazine. They were to choose a husband during organized interviews and marry the settler to increase the population.

13896270171My question is important to ask since it sheds light on the significance and legacy of the Filles du Roi. These women are significant since they populated new France so much during this time that 50% of French Canadians can trace their lineage back to these women. The Filles du Roi left a huge impact on Canadian culture in several ways. They helped form a unified language of French throughout New France since many men spoke many languages women are to thank for the pass down of many traditional practices and language patterns. French traditions that are celebrated in Quebec to this day have been passed down from these original women. In addition to French Canadian culture, the Filles du Roi also impacted and paved the way for the Canadian dynamic around women’s rights. While the population of women in New France was slowly growing there was still an imbalance between men and women. As a result, the demand for feminine skills at the time was more, this caused the worth and status of women in New France to be much higher and this is reflected in their rights. Women could own property, take over businesses, and had many other rights, unlike their peers during this time. In addition, the Filles du Roi enforced the values of hard work since they had mostly come from lower classes. These women often ran farms and constantly had their work ethic tested. The Filles du Roi dramatically impacted the culture and values of Canada.

Continuity and change:

There are many ways in which our lives are comparable to those of the Filles du Roi. The Filles du Roi had a large impact on Canadian culture and in turn many traditions have been passed on. The French language is much the same as it was in the 1600’s although some changes have been made, most of the dialect is similar. Unlike their fellow peers in France, the Filles du Roi were valued for their hard work to become successful wives in New France. This is perhaps the first time in history where we see a monarch reach out to a lower class for assistance. Although there was almost no recognition the Filles du Roi are a great example of our hiring process in Canada, and how we hire based upon skills and not stature. Moreover, the Filles du Roi had some of the same rights as women today. They could own property, were entitled to their husband’s property, and some were even very successful business women. In this way, New France was one of the first places to grant women rights. Although this recognition was largely due to the population gap between men and women during this era, these rights were still relevant for a large time and are very similar to women’s rights today. In contrast, there are many differences between us and the Filles du Roi. Although I have already mentioned how women’s rights are similar to today there are many rights that these women were denied. The Filles du Roi did not have the option of not marrying once they arrived in New France, this is because they were sent to boost the population and were often forced to remarry if their husband passed away. Although women were valued they were still considered their husbands property, and when Filles du Roi entered abusive marriages there was little they could do. This is greatly different from today where women have almost all the same rights and are granted ways out of abusive situations. Overall, there are many similarities and differences between our lives and the lives of the Filles du Roi.

Cause and Consequence:

expsetfillesduroi1The King of France sent the Filles du Roi to New France to solve the gender imbalance to stay ahead of England in their colonization of the New World. However, there are many positive and negative consequences of this decision. The arrival of the Filles du Roi succeeded in initiating a population boom that the world had never seen before. However, this population bloom cost France a lot of money since they had to finance the travel and lodgings, of the Filles du Roi until they were married. The cost of sending one person was roughly 100 livres, which is over 1000$ today. Moreover, after spending all this money New France was overtaken by the British nearly a century later. However, a positive impact for us today is that New France is largely responsible for much of our French-Canadian culture. Language, traditions, religion, and values have all been passed down from these original settlers. In addition to traditional cultural knowledge, these women also are responsible for health care advances made during this time as well as the advocation for education. The Filles du Roi are also largely responsible for the improvements in homes and cities. Since they refused to marry unless the man was a property owner with a house, these women unknowingly heightened the quality of living in New France as a whole. Overall, the implementation of the Filles du Roi had many consequences both positive and negative.

Social Studies inquiry process:

Throughout the inquiry process, I came to many conclusions. I learned that the Filles du Roi not only impacted the culture of Canada, but that they also shaped the values of our society. The Filles du Roi are a significant part of Canadian history, which expanded the population and colonized territory. They synthesized the French language across New France, creating the language we speak today in Quebec. Many traditions that we celebrate today in Quebec were brought here by these settlers. Moreover, these women shaped the values of the future by taking advantage of colony life as women. The Filles du Roi shaped the path of women’s rights merely by taking advantage of the very issue they were sent to abolish. Lastly, since the Filles du Roi were from lower classes in France their story continues to inspire Canadians to value hard work over stature. Their contribution to Canadian society is demonstrated by the many people who can trace their lineage back to these women. They were the start of Canada’s values of hard work and skills and represent a group of people who took a risk to reach for a better life. However, not all aspects of the Filles du Roi are positive these women were still oppressed during their time and were often forced into abusive marriages. Many women lived in poverty and many died along the way from France. This shows us that in the past monarchs often put individual needs much lower than the country seeing as many of the Filles du Roi died during the journey to New France. However, I feel that the Filles du Roi learned from this and passed down their knowledge through their There are many things we can learn from the Filles du Roi.



  1. This is a great post! First, I like how you also addressed the cons as well as the pros of sending the Filles du Roi to New France. From the video, we were left with the impression that sending the Filles du Roi had really positive effects for France (which it did, to an extent), but your post clearly explains the negative financial consequences for France. Additionally, the fact that you used a variety of sources to back up your research adds credibility to your writing.

    Your post relates to my post about the impact the Hudson Bay Company had on the First Nations as in both of the topics we researched, the predecessors had a significant impact on their future generations. The Filles du Roi had a profound impact on Canadian culture, carrying on French traditions and the French language, while the First Nations people of the past faced many problems, such as alcohol and loss of social structure, that still affect the modern First Nations today.

  2. * I love the use of images and quotes from other articles! It makes the inquiry feel very professional
    * Your post is very organized and easy to read. I like how the questions are easy to find and how detailed they are explained!

    – My inquiry question was about ‘Life in New France’, and your question was on the Filles du Roi and their lifestyle/impact. The connection is that your inquiry question goes into more detail on woman’s life’s (specifically the Filles du Roi), and mine goes into detail on the overall lifestyle of all New France citizens.

    Great job Sarah!!!

  3. Very in-depth and well written!I really liked how you shed light on both the pros and cons of the immigration of the Filles du Roi to New France. From the video, we were left with the impression that the Filles du Roi had very positive effects for France (which it did, to an extent), but your blog post shows also shows the negative financial strain it put on the French to send these women. Additionally, your ability to draw multiple conclusions from your inquiry, and how you connected the theme of people in power putting their own needs before their country makes a connection to the theme in the English Civil War, showing how themes are universal.

    I can connect my inquiry with yours because both our inquiries investigate how previous generations had a significant impact on their predecessors. The Filles du Roi preserved French culture and traditions for modern Quebec, while the loss of cultural traditions for First Nations who made contact with the Hudson Bay Company continues to affect many indigenous communities today.

  4. This was a very well written blog post! I really admire how clear and concise your writing is; you captured many important ideas in a very well organized, succinct way. I also enjoyed how thoroughly you explained the differences and similarities of the rights of the Filles du Roi and the rights of modern women. The Filles du Roi had a significant impact on the culture of New France. Because of this, they also had a large role in the influence of French colonists on Indigenous people, specifically the Wendat Confederacy. Because of this, there are many connections between your inquiry question and mine.

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