The history of La Courneuve begins as that of the rest of the region - with the invasion of European tribes and the eventual conquering of the area by the Romans. During the Middle Ages, the area was like many other small villages. With its proximity to Paris, it soon became a fashionable country destination, with a number of gentry residing there. It had two notable châteaux - Sainte-Foi and Poitronville. Towards the end of Napoleon's reign, the entire area experienced large population growth. This along with improved methods of farming eventually transformed the area into the major legume producer for the Paris region.
In 1863, the first major industrial enterprise was introduced and the area soon became a strange mix of factories and farmlands. Industrial estates were juxtaposed with bean plantations and that would continue until after World War II.
During the 1960s, as Paris could no longer meet the demands of a further exploding population (largely the result of immigration from former colonies), La Courneuve, like many other suburbs of Paris, was designated as one of the "zones à urbaniser en priorité" (areas to be urbanized quickly) and was built up at a very rapid pace, with the construction of large council estates and tower blocks and other HLM developments. Between 1962 and 1968 the population nearly doubled.
¹This group is made up largely of former French settlers, such as pieds-noirs in Northwest Africa, followed by former colonial citizens who had French citizenship at birth (such as was often the case for the native elite in French colonies), and to a lesser extent foreign-born children of French expatriates. Note that a foreign country is understood as a country not part of France as of 1999, so a person born for example in 1950 in Algeria, when Algeria was an integral part of France, is nonetheless listed as a person born in a foreign country in French statistics.
²An immigrant is a person born in a foreign country not having French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still considered an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.