By the beginning of 1691, the French in Quebec had prepared to take the offensive. Governor Frontenac's raids on the English colonies and successful defence of Quebec in 1690 had eliminated the possibility of any further English attacks on Canada.

In 1692, Governor de Villebon reoccupied Port Royal. He immediately began to organize militia and Abenaki warriors for raids on English settlements. Between 1692 and 1694, de Villebon's raiding parties terrorized Maine and New Hampshire. The Abenaki destroyed the towns of Oyster Bay, York, and Wells.

D'Iberville continued his daring exploits. He led militia raids into New Hampshire then embarked upon another expedition to Hudson Bay. By 1695, d'Iberville's force had seized all but one of the English forts on Hudson Bay. Fort Albany was the only post to elude him. In 1696, he conquered Newfoundland with a force of 125 Canadian militia. Bonavista was the only part of Newfoundland that remained in English hands.

Governor Frontenac personally commanded the French forces for the final offensive against the Iroquois Confederacy (the Five Nations-Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida) in 1696. He led a force of 2,000 Troupes de la Marine, militia, and Native allies into Oneida and Onondaga territory. The French force inflicted heavy losses on the Iroquois and devastated their lands. The only French losses in the campaign were four killed.

However, D'Iberville's greatest victory came in 1697. Aboard the Pelican, a 44-gun frigate, D'Iberville led a small squadron of ships toward Hudson Bay. Having lost contact with the other ships in the fog, he arrived at the mouth of the Hayes River on September 4. The next day, the lookout spied three large vessels on the horizon. Action stations! They were three English warships: the 56-gun Hampshire, escorted by the frigates Dering, with 36 guns, and Hudson's Bay, with 32 guns. There was only one hope for D'Iberville: to attack.

The Pelican took on the Hampshire first, firing a few broadsides. The great English ship began to heel and then went straight to the bottom. The Hudson's Bay was then engaged and suffered the same fate, while the Dering turned and fled. However, the Pelican had been damaged and sank in turn. Finally, the rest of the French squadron arrived. York Factory was taken and renamed Fort Bourbon. The French press caught wind of all these exploits, and D'Iberville was awarded the Cross of Saint Louis in 1699, thus becoming the first Canadian-born military man to receive this honour.

The French and English signed the Treaty of Ryswick on 20 September 1697. The French gained all of the forts and trading posts in Hudson Bay, retained control of Newfoundland, and had their occupation of Port Royal confirmed. One year later, the Iroquois negotiated a treaty with the French. In it, they recognized French control of the area north of the Great Lakes and the alliances with the First Nations to the west.

During the war, the Canadian militia became a seasoned and highly skilled combat force. The Troupes de la Marine had originally been organized and trained to fight as regular troops, but, by 1697, they had also mastered the techniques of la petite guerre (guerrilla warfare).

When peace returned, D'Iberville went to Biloxi Bay and built Fort Maurepas (today Ocean Springs, Mississippi) in March 1699. This was the first permanent settlement in Louisiana. He returned to this colony during the following years, reinforced the new settlements, and founded Fort Saint Louis de la Mobile (today Mobile, Alabama). Numerous Canadians participated in all these expeditions.

In 1702, France and England found themselves at war once again, but D'Iberville, weakened by fever, was convalescing in La Rochelle until early 1706. Then he sailed for the West Indies, leading a fleet of 12 ships. After stopping over in the French islands, he headed for the British island of Nevis, which he captured without difficulty and looted in April 1706.

D'Iberville then headed for Havana; however, once in the Cuban capital, his fever returned and he died on July 6, 1706, two weeks short of his forty-fifth birthday. He was buried on July 9 in San Cristobal church. Some claim that his tomb was transferred to the San Ignacio of Havana cathedral in 1741, after the demolition of San Cristobal, but there is no evidence of this, and the final resting place of the first great hero in Canadian military history remains a matter of conjecture.


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