The Seigneurial System

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  • Topic: New France, Seigneurial system of New France, Coffee
  • Pages : 3 (991 words )
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  • Published : July 17, 2010
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Country Life
Seigneurialism was the typical landholding system in early Canada. Seigneurialism allowed agriculture to take shape in Canada. The land of each colony was essentially owned by the Crown; however, it was decided that the land would be divided and then sub-divided into strips in which settlers would care for. The seigneurial system was created to reach many objectives: “to provide the colony with a basic land survey; to perpetuate a traditional class structure; to establish relations between privileged landowners and dependant peasant families; and to develop a system for recruiting and settling immigrants” (Conrad and Finkel, 2007, p. 46). In the end, the seigneurial system accomplished all three of these goals. Each person that was a part of the system had a way of life and roles that they were expected to uphold. Estates would be granted to people known as seigneurs by the Crown; the seigneurs were expected to maintain a household and the land with the help of peasant workers, known as censitaires.The censitaires were expected to pay a fee, known as cents et rentes, to work the land themselves and for their seigneurs. Notaries called such habitations and the people who lived on these habitations were soon called habitants. Seigneurs could make a censitaire work a certain amount of hours per day, known as demesne, on his property. The seigneur could also charge the habitants a fee, known as lods et ventes, to use their mill to grind wheat, since seigneurs were the only tenants allowed to own such equipment. In New France it was traditional survey for the grants to be issued by the St Lawrence River or other waterways, in long, narrow trapezoids. Seigneural estates or grant were ten times long as they were wide. The pieces of land that the tentants possessed were strip-like. The first lines of farms, also known as cote, were the first strips of land to be given away. When all of the first lines were given away, the second line of land, known as...
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