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New France (French: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America during a period 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 (1763).

At its peak in 1712 (before the Treaty of Utrecht), the territory of New France, also sometimes known as the French North American Empire or Royal New France, consisted of five colonies, each with its own administration: Canada, the most developed colony and divided into the districts of Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal (before 1717, extending south through the Illinois Country); Hudson's Bay; Acadie, in the northeast; Plaisance, on the island of Newfoundland, and Louisiane. (after 1717, extending north through the Illinois Country); Thus, 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.

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Fur traders in Canada

The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Before the colonization of the Americas, Russia was a major supplier of fur-pelts to Western Europe and parts of Asia. Fur was a major Russian export as trade developed in the early Middle Ages, first through the Baltic and Black Seas. With the development of railways, Russia traded through the European city of Leipzig (Germany).

The European discovery of North America, with its vast forests and wild-life, particularly the beaver, led to the continent's becoming a major supplier in the 17th century of fur pelts for the fur-felt hat and fur trimming and garment trades of Europe. Fur was a major source of warmth in clothing, critical prior to the organisation of coal distribution.

The North American fur trade was a central part of the early history of contact in the New World (North America) between European-Americans and Native Americans in the United States and First Nations in Canada. In 1578 there were 350 European fishing vessels at Newfoundland. Sailors began to trade metal implements (particularly knives) for the natives' well-worn pelts.

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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.

Did you know?


  • ...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.

Selected biography

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville.

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (b. 16 July 1661 - d. (probably) 9 July 1706), founder of the colony of French Louisiana, was born at Ville-Marie, (now Montreal, Canada) on 16 July 1661. He died at Havana, Cuba on 9 July 1706. He was the third son of Charles Le Moyne, a native of Dieppe in France and lord of Longueuil in Canada, and of Catherine Primot. He is also known as Sieur d’Iberville.


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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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