Portal:New France

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Welcome to the New France portal. This Wikipedia portal aims to provide easy access to all Wikipedia articles relating to the history of New France. You will find below both a featured article, a biography, a location and an image related to New France. The topics tab presents a selection of articles, the most exhaustive possible, dealing with the realities of the French colonization of North America and classified by topic.


New France (1534 - 1763)


New France, circa 1750


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. "
Le Cardinal de Richelieu Blason ville fr Chambellay (Maine-et-Loire).svg Cardinal Richelieu - Quote from Maximes.


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Iroquois women at work grinding corn or dried berries (1664 engraving).

The economy of the Iroquois originally focused on communal production and combined elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems. The tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and other Northern Iroquoian-speaking peoples, including the Huron, lived in the region including what is now New York State and the Great Lakes area. The Iroquois Confederacy was composed of five different tribes — a sixth was added later — who had banded together shortly before European contact. While not Iroquois, the Huron peoples fell into the same linguistic group and shared an economy similar to the Iroquois. The Iroquois peoples were predominantly agricultural, harvesting the "Three Sisters" commonly grown by Native American groups: maize, beans, and squash. They developed certain cultural customs related to their lifestyle. Among these developments were ideas concerning the nature and management of property.

The Iroquois developed a system of economics very different from the now dominant Western variety. This system was characterized by such components as communal land ownership, division of labor by gender, and trade mostly based on gift economics.

Contact with Europeans in the early 1600s had a profound impact on the economy of the Iroquois. At first, they became important trading partners, but the expansion of European settlement upset the balance of the Iroquois economy. By 1800 the Iroquois had been confined to reservations, and they had to adapt their traditional economic system. In the 20th century, some of the Iroquois groups took advantage of their independent status on the reservation and started Indian casinos. Other Iroquois have incorporated themselves directly into the outside economies off the reservation.

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Port Royal Nova Scotia 4.jpg
Rebuilding of housing in Port-Royal you can see at the National Historic Site of Canada, Port Royal, near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada.
On July 27, 1605: Foundation of Port-Royal in Acadia (now Nova Scotia), the French are the first Europeans to settle in what is now Canada, thus way for the creation of a French colonial empire.

Did you know?

Québec-Drapeau-400e.jpg

  • ...On July 3, 2008, Quebec City celebrated its 400th birthday! It was the first city founded by Europeans in North America, always on the same site. All year 2008 is devoted to festivities.
  • ...The Battle of Quebec occurred on October 16, 1690 between the British and French forces. When the British sent a request for the city to surrender, Frontenac replied "I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouths of my cannons and muskets.". This legendary response, and a poor assessment of the fortifications by the British, allowed France to keep Quebec for almost another seventy years.
  • ...During the Great Upheaval of the Acadians in 1755, seventy-eight survivor families settled on Belle Île in France while the British took possession of French colonies in America. Since then, their descendents have remained on the island. Today most islanders have Acadian ancestry.

Timelines of New France history

For the detailed chronology of this epic of New France, simply visit this
Nuvola apps kworldclock.png Timeline of New France history.

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Marguerite Bourgeoys

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys (17 April 1620 – 12 January 1700, feast day: January 12) was born the sixth of twelve children of devout parents. When Marguerite was 19 her mother died and the young lady cared for her brothers and sisters. Her father, a candle maker, died when she was twenty-seven. A few years later, the governor of Montreal, Canada, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve was in France looking for teachers for the New World. He invited Marguerite to come to Montreal to teach school and religion classes. She accepted the offer.

Marguerite gave away her share of her inheritance from her parents to other members of the family and in 1653 she sailed for New France. On arriving, she initiated the construction of a chapel to honor Our Lady of Good Help. She opened her first school in 1658. She returned to France in 1659 to recruit more teachers, and returned with four. In 1670, she went to France again, and brought back six more. These brave women became the first sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

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Quebec City

Québec or Quebec City, also Quebec City or Québec City (French: Québec, or Ville de Québec), is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in the province – after Montreal, about 233 kilometres (145 mi) to the southwest. Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America.

Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain on 3 July 1608 at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement called Stadacona. It was to this settlement that the name "Canada" refers. Although called the cradle of the Francophone population in North America, the Acadian settlement at Port-Royal antedates it. The place seemed favourable to the establishment of a permanent colony.

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Royal Standard of King Louis XIV.svg The New France circa 1750 Royal Standard of King Louis XIV.svg

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