Maritime trade was vital to New France. The colony's existence depended principally on the export of fur to France, and for its own provisions it depended heavily on a number of French products, including manufactured goods, wine, spirits and luxury items. From the early 17th century until the Treaty of Paris, the traffic of goods across the Atlantic increased at the same rate as the colony's population. But commercial shipping operations required major investments: the outfitting of a ship, the purchasing of goods, and insurance all gave rise to expenses that only prosperous traders could afford. Although there were a few merchants from New France involved in this type of commercial exchange, it was dominated by traders from France. Between 1730 and 1747, for example, the company owned by Robert Dugard of Rouen did a large amount of business with New France: his import and export cargoes represented a total value of 6,000,000 livres, a huge sum at the time.

Maritime Trade
Receipt for merchandise signed by the captain of the Centaure, November 1, 1742
CA ANC R721 dossier 1