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Encyclopedia > New France Sovereign Council

The Sovereign Council of New France was a political body appointed by the King of France and consisting of a Governor General, an intendant and a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. All were answering to the French Minister of the Marine. The members of the council were chosen as part of the French nobility.

The introduction of this government cancelled the contract with the Compagnie de la Nouvelle France which apparently, had failed to organize the establishement of thousands of colonists in America. The institution lasted from its introduction in 1663 to the fall of New France in 1760.


The Sovereign Council included a dozen officials who were fully responsible for all legislative, executive, and judicial matters.

  • The governor of this new regime was the direct representant of the king of France and was responsible for defense and diplomatic relations.
  • The intendant was responsible for economic affairs and trade, the administration of justice, finance, settlement and seigneurialism.
  • The bishop was in control of religious affairs which included charity, education, hospitals and the christianization of Amerindians.
  • The Captain of the Militia had the role of informing the inhabitants of the intendant's plans of development for the colony and to report on the concerns the people had.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Sovereign Council (294 words)
Sovereign Council In early NEW FRANCE a governing council was created, comprising the GOUVERNEUR (governor), the bishop and representatives ("syndics") of Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal.
The Sovereign Council, which in 1703 became the Superior Council, was comparable to the parlements of those provinces.
The council initially comprised the governor, the bishop, the INTENDANT and 5 councillors.
Intendant (211 words)
He ensured that the king's decisions were implemented, appealed to the minister over difficulties with new policies and presented a detailed annual report on the colony.
New France's best-known intendants were Jean TALON, Gilles HOCQUART and François BIGOT.
Hocquart was intendant of New France from 1729-48, and he was generally regarded as a good administrator (courtesy Musée Historique de Vaudreuil).
  More results at FactBites »



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