Following the founding of Quebec and Montreal, colonization began in earnest and hundreds of settlers left their homes in France in order to begin new lives in New France. Many of these were hard-working young men who could withstand the heavy labour of clearing land and building homes. Most of these men were sponsored by merchants in New France who would pay their passage to the New World and support them until they were able to support themselves. Many soldiers also arrived in New France, and, at the end of their station, often remained to continue living in the New World.
Although the colonies were growing, they were growing the wrong way. One early census recorded 719 unmarried males and only 45 unmarried females. With so many men and so few women, the colonies could not be self-sufficient and would not grow naturally. For this reason, the colonies often sponsored young women to come to New France with the specific intention of marriage.
Beginning in 1663, King Louis XIV of France began sponsoring young ladies to relocate in New France. The King paid their passage to the colonies and paid for their upkeep in New France until such time that they were married. A dowry of from 50 to 300 livres was also given to each young woman as an added incentive. In the 10 years between 1663 and 1673, over 800 of these women arrived in New France.
The Filles de Roi, or Daughters of the King, were distinguised from the other females who settled in New France by the fact that they were totally sponsored from the Royal Treasury in France. They were carefully selected for their youth, strength, health, attractiveness, and fertility. Many found themselves already 'spoken for' by the time they set foot in New France and were married shortly thereafter and many other marriages were 'arranged' shortly after their arrival.
In 1673, when war broke out between France and Holland, the Filles de Roi campaign came to an end. The final group of Filles de Roi arrived in Quebec on September 3, 1773. However, the success of the campaign is undeniable. Census shows that the population of New France increased from 3,200 in 1666 to 6,700 in 1672.