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New France (1534 - 1763)
New France is the name that France gave to its colonies in North America. The history of New France began with the first attempts at French colonization following the first trip of Jacques Cartier in 1534.
From 1604 to 1760, the Kingdom of France gradually expanded its authority over lands inhabited and sometimes settled by Native American populations. Samuel de Champlain founded the town of Quebec on July 3, 1608. It is one of the first permanent European settlements in North American soil and it was the capital of New France for over a century and a half.
This vast territory spanned three distinct regions: Acadia, in what is now Atlantic Canada and part of North Eastern United States, Canada, then comprising only St. Lawrence valley, and Louisiana, which included the Illinois Country, comprising the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys down to the Gulf of Mexico. New France had a low population growth compared to the British American colonies adjacent to its eastern borders. Around 1730, the gap was considerable: the British colonies had about 250,000 people of European origin while there were only 30,000 people in New France.
This, in addition to its geographical position preventing the expansion of the British colonies, triggered confrontations. Those became more frequent until the fall of Quebec on September 13, 1759. A year after its capital was captured, New France fell and was dismantled. Parts were ceded to Great Britain while the rest went to Spain.
New France ceased to exist in 1763 when France ceded Canada and its dependencies to Great Britain by signing the Treaty of Paris. Then in 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte returned the vast Louisiana region to France from Spain under the Treaty of San Ildefonso. However, the treaty was kept secret, and Louisiana remained under Spanish control until a transfer of power to France on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the cession to the United States under the Louisiana Purchase. Today, all that remains to France of this once vast wilderness empire are the little islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, located off Newfoundland, Canada.
" To quickly forget
a blessing is
the vice of the French. "