French Americans

French American Heritage Month – July more info

About: French Americans. Many of the earliest French settlements in North America were mainly intended as trading outposts. Jean Ribaut, a French Huguenot sailor, established two of the first French colonies near Beaufort, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida, in the 1550s. He settled in these locations in order to compete with the Spanish for control of trade in the Caribbean region. In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier became the first to travel the length of the St. Lawrence River. Although he failed to find the gold he was seeking, by 1542 he did reach the area that would become Quebec, including Montreal, in Canada. After forming an alliance with the powerful Algonquin Indians, Samuel de Champlain founded the first permanent French settlement in Quebec in 1608.

Originally, French colonial policy allowed only Catholics to emigrate, but most French Catholics were reluctant to leave their homes. As a result, the few people who came to North America from France were mostly explorers, traders, or Jesuit missionaries seeking to convert the Indians. These individuals tended to spread out and travel far into the wilderness. In fact, by the time the Pilgrims arrived in New England in 1620, the French had already discovered three of the Great Lakes. This migration to the Midwest later led to French bases in Detroit and St. Louis. Robert Cavelier de La Salle traveled the length of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico in 1682, and upon completion of his journey founded Louisiana by claiming the entire Mississippi Basin in the name of King Louis XIV of France. Jean-Baptiste Bienville followed by forming a successful French colony in New Orleans in 1717.

Read more:

%d bloggers like this: