In 1663, the French Crown assumed control of Canada from the Company of New France, a fur-trading enterprise, and large-scale colonization got off to a slow start. The activities in which the company engaged did not require a large settler population. Washington Map Tourist Attractions Also, there were not as many economic push factors driving French men and women to Canada as there were for the English settlers farther south, as France was not undergoing the same dramatic commercialization of the countryside.
In the 1660s, the French population of New France was only 3,000, while the population of New England and the Chesapeake topped 85,000. Its development subsidized by the Crown, Canada began to grow, although many indentured servants brought there returned to France when their indentures were up. Canada remained primarily a trading venture, although agricultural exports helped local farmers. Nominal French control of the interior of North Country branched out from a narrow base along the St. Lawrence River from Quebec to Montreal.
The French, not primarily interested in settlement, allied themselves with a network of native traders that stretched out along the river systems of the Midwest. The French hold on the St. Lawrence River Valley was tenuous, but that fact did not prevent them from attempting a massive reorganization of their empire in the 1750s. This project brought the French into conflict with the populous, aggressively expansionist Anglo-Countrys in the Ohio River Valley, with devastating results for French rule in Canada.