From Francis I to Louis XIV, the will of the French monarchy was to extend its glory and influence abroad, in order to successively rival the Spanish and English crowns. The backing by the kings of France began with Giovanni da Verrazzano's explorations in 1524 and Jacques Cartier's first voyage in 1534. The plan Cartier devised for Francis I to establish the French in Canada was first put into action in 1541, when the King signed a commission in favour of Jean-François de La Roque, Sieur de Roberval, making him his Lieutenant-General in Canada and the Commander-in-Chief of the expedition. Cartier was placed under his orders. In addition to the wish to Christianize the Aboriginal inhabitants, there were more material concerns: finding and exploiting precious metals. The goal was also to found a colony to be populated with men and women of all stations and occupations from the provinces of France. This attempt ended in failure. In 1603, Henri IV made Pierre du Gua de Monts his Lieutenant-General, with authority over all the territory in North America, between 40 degrees and 46 degrees, and the right to grant seigneuries and a ten-year monopoly on trade with the "savages." The King also commissioned him to help propagate the faith. Assisted by Samuel de Champlain, Du Gua de Monts established his first colony on Île Sainte-Croix and then moved south, where he founded Port Royal. In 1608, he entrusted Champlain with the responsibility of establishing a new trading post in the St. Lawrence Valley, at the future site of Québec.

The Royal Will
Letters patent granted to Pierre du Gua de Monts as Lieutenant-General, November 8, 1603
FR CAOM COL C11A 1 fol. 58-61vo