Adel en heerlijkheden in Québec. De opkomst en het voortleven van een sociale groep en een feodaal instituut (ca. 1600-2000)

Benoît Grenier, Wybren Verstegen


The colonization of French Canada started in the late sixteenth century. In Québec a seigneurial system was implemented, dominated by nobles. Not all seigneurs were noble though. A few of the larger seigneuries belonged to the clergy and others to non-noble bourgeois families or even farmers. In 1763 French Canada was occupied by the English and some of the French noble families migrated to France. Though even some of the English ‘liberators’ wanted to abolish the seigneurial system, English governors accepted tout court the legal system installed by the French. Formally, the seigneurial system was abolished in 1854, but the remnants remained in place until around 1980. In the end, supplied with loans by the government, local communities bought up the (last) seigneurial rights. The population was taxed to pay back the loan. Meanwhile, the number of noble seigneurs had slowly diminished, but in the nineteen thirties and even today, we can find old noble families within the elite of Québec.

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