d'Iberville, Pierre Le Moyne
|Culture: European - French|
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville was a French Canadian naval officer and he was the founder of the French territory of Louisiana. He was born in Ville Marie (in present Montreal), Canada. He was the third of eleven boys and three girls born from the marriage of Catherine Thierry-Primot to Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil, a merchant in MontrÃ©al.
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville was born in 1661. His father, Charles Le Moyne, came to Canada from France to work as an interpreter. He learned several native languages. He became an important citizen of Montreal. His mother, Catherine Thierry, was brought to Canada by her aunt and uncle when she was about one year old. She married Charles on May 28th, 1654. They had fourteen children, most of whom lived until they were adults. All of the boys were in the military, and many of them were killed by the English or their allies, the Iroquois.
Pierre was educated in a seminary. Along with other subjects, he studied Latin and literature. He also started basic military training, which was not unusual for Canadian boys. They were growing up in a war zone, and it was very likely they would be soldiers at some point in their lives. When Pierre was 12, he became a midshipman in the navy. There, he was taught navigation and naval tactics.
Fighting for Hudson’s Bay
The French were greatly involved in the fur trade. But competition from English traders, mostly from the Hudson's Bay Company, had been lowering their profits for years. The French needed to build trading posts in the north so they could control the fur trade more easily. When Pierre was 24, he joined an army that took James Bay from the English. Over the next few years, Pierre continued to fight in and around Hudson's Bay. He did so much damage to the Hudson's Bay Company they were unable to pay money to their share holders for twenty-five years.
Fighting in New England and New York
Given a Large Reward
As the wars between the English and the French worsened, he became more and more involved, and crossed the sea several times to present his plans to the King. He felt the key to weakening the British was to mount many small attacks against the English colonies that were making the most money. He became known as a defender of French territory and trade, and a much-feared enemy of the English. In 1690, the Governor of Quebec gave Pierre a large reward. He gave him a fief, which is a piece of land. In 1691, he became the first Canadian to reach the rank of Lieutenant in the navy.
Learns about Newfoundland
On one of his trips to France, Pierre met an English ship which was loaded down with salt cod. He captured it, and found out that it was going to England from Newfoundland. He searched the ship's papers and questioned a Frenchman who was among the crew. He learned that the English were making a fortune from the Newfoundland fishery. Despite this, their settlements on the island were small, scattered, and badly fortified... and they would make very easy targets. That was in 1692.
Fighting in Newfoundland
Pierre was still more interested in the damage he was causing in Hudson's Bay, but now he had Newfoundland on his mind. King Louis XIV had also noticed Newfoundland. A treaty had been signed in 1687, that gave both English and French the right to fish off Newfoundland, but the English had attacked the French capital in Placentia twice since then. Also, the English economy would be badly hurt if the fishery was damaged. Four years after Pierre first became interested in Newfoundland, he was given the opportunity to go there. His orders were to destroy every English settlement he found. Except for Carbonear Island , he was successful in carrying out his orders. He did not attack Bonavista, so it was not destroyed.
His Last Fight for Hudson Bay
In the summer of 1697, Pierre led one last campaign to Hudson's Bay. When he got there, three English ships attacked his single ship. Besides being outnumbered, 40 of his crew were too sick from scurvy to fight, and 26 others had left in a shallop to scout ahead. But Pierre and his crew won the battle with only 17 wounded. It was the greatest naval battle of Pierre's career. The rest of the campaign was also a success. He asked to become the governor of Newfoundland and to be promoted to ship's captain. The King refused because he was Canadian. But he still got to keep a monopoly over Hudson's Bay, and was asked to explore the Mississippi and increase the French influence in the south.
Pierre helped to found the colony of Louisiana. The English colonies in North America had been growing fast, and were a threat to Canada and Acadia. He worried that unless the French fought hard, the English would become too strong and take over Canada and Acadia.