France’s First Shot.
In 1523, A French expedition was set out to find a new western route to China.
These French explorers landed in the narrows of New York Bay, they were the
first Europeans to discover what is known today as New York and they claimed
it in the name of their king, the former Count of Angouleme and the named
the new land Nouvelle-Angouleme in his honor. Delighted with the prospect of
new lands the King sought to establish colonies quickly.
France’s first attempt to establish a Province was in 1534 in a place known as
the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. The settlement was riddled with problems and
failed soon after its start.
France Finds Their Footing
French fishing fleets and French Merchants continued to return to the area
and established trade and peaceful relations with the Native Americans in the
area. With the discovery of the abundance of fur bearing animals in the new
land which was extremely valuable in Europe the King decided that colonizing
and securing the territory was of great importance.
France’s colonization on North America was very different from that of Spain
and England. France did not have the resources or large population to send a
militaristic operation to establish a government in its colonies. Nor did it have
the need, France had established peaceful relations and even alliances with the
Native tribes surrounding their settlements. They traded with the Indians and
opened military diplomatic alliances which helped spread French influence
over a vast region without major conflict.
New France lasted from about 1534-1763.
At its peak in 1712, the territory of New France extended from
Newfoundland to the rocky Mountains and from the Hudson Bay to the
Gulf of Mexico.
The territory was divided into 5 colonies: Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay,
Newfoundland, and Louisiana.