In 1685, about 2,000 English people were living on the east coast of Newfoundland, whereas the French population, which consisted of only 640 individuals, was concentrated in the north and on the south coast near Plaisance (Placentia), the island's only fortified settlement. Throughout the 17th century, the French and the English fought for control of the lucrative cod fisheries, and the French fishing installations were forever coveted by the English. The recruitment of 23 soldiers who left La Rochelle in 1697 to serve in Plaisance helped to maintain the colony until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

The Garrison at Plaisance
Rôle des soldats qui composent la recrue sur le vaisseau Le François pour la garnison de Plaisance [Roll of the recruited soldiers on the vessel the François for the garrison at Placentia], 1697
FR CAOM D2C 47 fol. 208-209