Communauté des habitants (Compagnie des habitants), colonial merchants who held the fur trade monopoly in New France 1645-63. In principle the Compagnie des Cent-Associés ceded its monopoly to all inhabitants of the colony, but in practice only a few of the wealthiest benefited. The cost of the monopoly was the equivalent of the colony's administrative expenses plus an annual rent of 1000 livres' weight of beaver skins and the promise to import 20 colonists a year. The communauté was not a success: high interest rates, combined with a lack of experience in commerce, led to serious financial difficulties by 1652. The Conseil de Québec then declared the trade open to all habitants, not just the original communauté members. This arrangement continued until the communauté's collapse in 1663.