King Louis XIV of France and his minister of marine (the person responsible for overseas trade and the colonial forces), Jean Colbert, instructed Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle, the Governor of New France, to establish a permanent militia force in the colony. French regular soldiers who had elected to stay in Canada when the Régiment de Carignan-Salières returned to France would provide officers for the militia.

Governor Courcelle was slow to act on this matter, however, and, when the new governor, Louis de Baude, Comte de Frontenac, arrived from France in 1672, he discovered that no permanent militia force existed. Governor Frontenac immediately set about the task of implementing Colbert's instructions.

Within a year, he had established a permanent militia. Veteran soldiers from the Régiment de Carignan-Salières who had settled in Canada, however, proved unwilling to command the militia units. As the primary landowners in New France, the seigneurs enjoyed a favoured social standing in the colony. However, they too were reluctant to serve as officers in the militia. As a result, habitants made up the majority of the captains of the militia. This situation proved to be an advantage. Many of the habitants had fought against the Iroquois and were highly skilled and seasoned veterans.


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