The military demands made upon the French army in Europe meant that France could not assign sufficient troops to colonial defence in Canada and the West Indies. As a result, the French minister of marine, Jean Colbert, established the Compagnies franches de la Marine, or independent companies of colonial infantry, in January 1683. The troops would be recruited in France and the colonies. The Ministry of the Marine would equip and pay these Troupes de la Marine and would employ them exclusively in the defence of French colonies.

The Troupes de la Marine would soon play an important role in the defence of New France. It would also offer Canadians the opportunity for a military career as recruiting for the Compagnies franches de la Marine became more and more dependent on the local population, even at the officer level. Here is the start of a regular army establishment in Canada.

 

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Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre
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