At the beginning of the 18th century, New France entered into triangular trade with France and the West Indies. In this trade network, each partner exported its production surpluses in exchange for other products. France controlled this trade. This type of trade was particularly effective because the boats were always full of merchandise, taking it from one place to another.

Around 1745, fur was still the main export of New France, but it now also exported agricultural products like timber and fish, and wheat when the harvest was good.

France meanwhile exported finished products that had been manufactured in its factories, like wine, textiles, metal objects, salt and glass. The West Indies exported products like sugar, tobacco, molasses and rum.

The port of Louisbourg on Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island), served as a warehouse for this trade because it remained ice-free year round. Through this port, New France could participate in the triangular trade all year long, which allowed it to develop its economy.

Author:  Léon Robichaud, text updated by the Service national du RÉCIT en univers social

See also – Traces of the past: