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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The excavated hull remains of La Belle

La Belle was one of Robert de La Salle's four ships when he explored the Gulf of Mexico with the ill-fated mission of starting a French colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1685. La Belle was wrecked in present-day Matagorda Bay the following year, dooming La Salle's Texas colony to failure. For over three centuries the wreckage of La Belle lay forgotten until it was discovered by a team of state archaeologists in 1995. The discovery of La Salle's flagship was regarded as one of the most important archaeological finds of the century, and a major excavation was launched by the state of Texas that, over a period of about a year, recovered the entire shipwreck and over a million artifacts.

In the late 17th century, much of North America had been claimed by European countries. Spain had claimed Florida, and New Spain included both modern-day Mexico and much of the southwestern part of the contintent. The northern Atlantic coast was claimed by Britain, and New France covered much of what is now Canada as well as the Illinois Country. The French feared that their territory in the center of the continent was vulnerable to the expansionist whims of their neighbors. In 1681, French nobleman René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, launched an expedition down the Mississippi River from New France, at first believing he would find a path to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, La Salle found a route to the Gulf of Mexico. Although Hernando De Soto had explored and claimed this area for Spain 140 years before, on April 9, 1682 La Salle claimed the Mississippi River valley for the French king, Louis XIV, naming the terrotiry Louisiana in his honor.

La Salle knew that French control of the Mississippi would split Spanish Florida from New Spain, and he believed that the Mississippi River was near the edge of New Spain. On his return to France in 1683, La Salle argued that a small number of Frenchmen could successfully invade New Spain by relying on the help of 15,000 Indians who were angry over Spanish enslavement.

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Louisbourg rue.JPG
Port of cod fishing founded in 1713, Louisbourg lived peacefully for three decades as a port of the French colony.

A fortress was built in 1719 to protect the interests of France in the New World and to serve as a center of operations for seasonal fishing industry. In 1758, the British took Louisbourg to the French. The fortifications were destroyed in 1760.

Over 200 years later, in 1961, the Government of Canada began to rebuild a fifth of the historic town of Louisbourg to provide work for coal miners out of work and awareness of the city as a museum of living history.

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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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Posthumous portrait of Champlain by E. Ronjat (19th century). No period portrait of Champlain exists.

Samuel de Champlain (French pronunciation: ​[samɥɛl də ʃɑ̃plɛ̃])(c. 1575 - 25 December 1635), "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, geographer, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, ethnologist, diplomat, chronicler, and the founder of Quebec City on July 3, 1608, of which he was the administrator for the rest of his life.

In every way but name, Samuel de Champlain was Quebec City's Governor. Given the fact that Champlain did not come from the class of nobility, he never would have been able to reach that title. However, he received the title of "lieutenant" (adjunct representative) of the, one after the other, designated Viceroy of New France, the first being Pierre Dugua de Mons.

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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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