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Subject > Soldiers, Warriors and Leaders > Roles and Professions

Date > 1500

Portuguese archer and, at left, a crossbowman, early 16th century

Type: Image

Archers and crossbowmen were commonly found on ships and in the early overseas settlements of the first half of the 16th century. Such soldiers were most likely part of the early Portuguese forays to Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island. (Museu de Arte Antiguo, Lisbon)

Site: National Defence

From Footmen To Soldiers

Type: Document

Professional soldiers were a recent development in the Europe of 1500. They fought for pay, not for loot or feudal obligation, and could have firearms as weapons.

Site: National Defence

English sailor, 1570s

Type: Image

A fur cap and baggy breeches were characteristic items of clothing of English sailors during the late 16th century.

Site: National Defence

Soldiers Of The Canadian Expeditions

Type: Document

The soldiers accompanying early expeditions worked for private businesses, not for the state. Many were veterans of European wars, or gentlemen seeking land or gold.

Site: National Defence

Harquebusier, 16th century

Type: Image

Portable firearms such as the one used by this harquebusier became common in European armies during the 16th century even though they were complicated to handle and slow to fire. Pikemen, crossbowmen, archers and swordsmen continued to be present on battlefields in the old as well as the new world.

Site: National Defence

The Enlistment Of Soldiers

Type: Document

Soldiers were organized into companies of about 50. Their leader, the company captain, was responsible for recruiting, training and disciplining his men.

Site: National Defence

An Increasing Military Presence

Type: Document

During Cartier's three expeditions to Canada, there were more and more soldiers among his men. The later expeditions were very well armed.

Site: National Defence

Officier wearing armour, 16th century

Type: Image

Armour was worn by senior officers during the 16th century and would have been brought by those in the 1541 Roberval expedition.

Site: National Defence

The First Uniform Worn in Canada

Type: Document

Cartier's men wore the livery of Brittany, the French province from which they sailed.

Site: National Defence

Explorations of Martin Frobisher

Type: Interactive Resource

Follow the voyages of Martin Frobisher in 1576-1578 as he searches for gold and the Northwest Passage to Asia.

Site: National Defence