In 1534, Jacques Cartier discovered the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of Francis I of France. For the better part of a century the Iroquois and French clashed in a series of attacks and reprisals. That is why Samuel de Champlain arranged to have young French men live with the natives, to learn their language and customs and help the French adapt to life in North America. These men, known as coureurs des bois (runners of the woods), were the first European mushers in North America, extended French influence south and west and in 1609, New France controlled all the Canadian Shield. In 1680, the intendant of New France, Jacques Duchesneau de la Doussinière et d'Ambault, estimated that there was not one family in New France who did not have a "son, brother, uncle or nephew" among the coureurs des bois. During the winter, sled became the ordinary transportation in the north of New France.
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