New France

New France (French: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris.

New France
Nouvelle-France  (French)
Location of New France (dark green)
StatusViceroyalty of the Kingdom of France
Common languagesFrench
King of France 
Francis I (first)
Louis XV (last)
Viceroy of New France 
Jacques Cartier (first; as Governor of New France)
Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (last)
LegislatureSuperior Council
Historical eraColonial/French and Indian War
 Exploration of Canada begins with Jacques Cartier
24 July 1534
 Foundation of Quebec by Samuel de Champlain
3 July 1608
 Cardinal Richelieu creates the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France, responsible for colonizing the country.
29 April 1627
 Louis XIV integrated New France into the royal domain, endowed it with a new administration and founded the French West India Company.
18 September 1663
 By the Treaty of Utrecht, France ceded most of Acadia to the Kingdom of Great Britain as well as its claims on Newfoundland and Hudson's Bay.
11 April 1713
 Beginning of the Seven Years' War in America
28 May 1754
 Defeat of the French led by Louis-Joseph de Montcalm at the "Plains of Abraham", near Quebec
13 September 1759
 By the Treaty of Paris, Louis XV cedes New France to Great Britain
10 February 1763
CurrencyLivre tournois
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Province of Quebec
Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia
Indian Territory
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Today part ofCanada
United States
Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The vast territory of New France consisted of five colonies at its peak in 1712, each with its own administration: Canada, the most developed colony, was divided into the districts of Québec, Trois-Rivières, and Montréal; Hudson's Bay; Acadie in the northeast; Plaisance on the island of Newfoundland; and Louisiane.[6][7] It extended from Newfoundland to the Canadian Prairies and from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, including all the Great Lakes of North America.

In the 16th century, the lands were used primarily to draw from the wealth of natural resources such as furs through trade with the various indigenous peoples. In the seventeenth century, successful settlements began in Acadia and in Quebec. The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht resulted in France giving Great Britain its claims over mainland Acadia, the Hudson Bay, and Newfoundland. France established the colony of Île Royale, now called Cape Breton Island, where they built the Fortress of Louisbourg.[8][9]

The population rose slowly but steadily. In 1754 New France's population consisted of 10,000 Acadians, 55,000 Canadiens, while the territories of upper and lower Louisiana had about 4,000 permanent French settlers, summing to 69,000 people.[10]

The British expelled the Acadians in the Great Upheaval from 1755 to 1764, which has been remembered on July 28 each year since 2003. Their descendants are dispersed in the Maritime provinces of Canada and in Maine and Louisiana, with small populations in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia and the Magdalen Islands. Some also went to France.

In 1763, France ceded the rest of New France to Great Britain and Spain, except the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, at the Treaty of Paris which ended the Seven Years' War, part of which included the French and Indian War in America. Britain retained Canada, Acadia, and the parts of French Louisiana which lay east of the Mississippi River, except for the Île d'Orléans, which was granted to Spain with the territory to the west. In 1800, Spain returned its portion of Louisiana to France under the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, and Napoleon Bonaparte sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, permanently ending French colonial efforts on the American mainland.

New France eventually became absorbed within the United States and Canada, with the only vestige of French rule being the tiny islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. In the United States, the legacy of New France includes numerous place names as well as small pockets of French-speaking communities.

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