New France Genealogy

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New France {Nouvelle-France} was the area colonized by France in the New World beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763. At its peak in 1712 (before the Treaty of Utrecht), the territory of New France extended from current day Newfoundland to the Canadian prairies and from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, including all the Great Lakes of North America. In the sixteenth century, the lands were used primarily to draw from the wealth of natural resources. In the seventeenth century, successful settlements began in Acadia, and in Quebec by the efforts of Champlain. By 1765, the population of the new Province of Quebec reached approximately 70,000 settlers. In 1763, France had ceded the rest of New France, except the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, to Great Britain and Spain at the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years' War (the French and Indian War). Britain received 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, along with the territory to the west – the larger portion of Louisiana. In 1800, Spain returned its portion of Louisiana to France under the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. However, French leader Napoleon Bonaparte in turn sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, permanently ending French colonial efforts on the North American mainland. New France eventually became part of the United States and Canada, with France keeping the tiny islands Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

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