Why wasn't there much European settlement in France's North American colonies?

Futurist

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May 2014
21,898
SoCal
Why wasn't there much European settlement in France's North American colonies?

After all, apart from Quebec and Louisiana, Europeans don't appear to have settled in large numbers in any of the French colonies in the Americas. In turn, this raises an interesting question--why exactly was this the case?

Why was there a lot of European settlement in England's North American colonies but not in France's (with the exception of Quebec and Louisiana)?

Also, what would have been required for France's American colonies--especially France's North American colonies--to have much more European settlement?

Any thoughts on all of this?
 

stevev

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Apr 2017
3,526
Las Vegas, NV USA
The British colonies on the east coast were more easily accessible. New Orleans and Quebec were the most accessible in New France, but the the rest of New France was more difficult. Even river access from the coast meant going upstream. The situation wouldn't have changed much until steamboats and railroads were built. Canals helped open the midwest also, but they only could practically be built in certain places and were very expensive.
 
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Bart Dale

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Dec 2009
7,095
The French didn't seem to have as many religious dissent groups as England. New England was settled largely by religious Dissenters, such as Puritans. The Massachussets Bay Colony alone had some 20,000 mostly Puritan immigrants.

I doubt France would have wanted entire colonies of French Protestants, and had French Huguenots tried to emigrate in like large groups as the English Dissenters Protestant groups did like the Puritans, they would have likely been shut down.

Nor, besides the fur trade, which was hard work, was there much means to get rich just by farming in most of the French colonies like tobacco in the southern American British colonies. There was sugar, but that did not require a lot French settlers, just slaves. So you wouldn't get many persons looking to get wealthy immigrating to them.

Finally, the climate was a lot more different from France in the French colonies. New England reminded English sertlers of home, with many familar plants and animals. (England was colder in the 17th to 18th century, the Thames River would freeze, so there wasn't as great a temperature difference between the 2 back then) .

Quebec is a lot colder than France, and the climate and growing season would be less familiar. Louisiana would be a lot hotter, humid than what they were used to in France, and there were never any alligators in France.

The English were willing to open their colonies up to non English settlers. A fair number of Germans settled in Pennsylvania.

Also, the fur trade, which was a major source of profit for the French, would have been damaged by large scale immigration like that of the English colonies, so the French may not have an big incentice to encourage a lot of settlers.

Then too, it did not seem like the French had social reformers who wanted to dump debtors and convicts into America to give them a fresh start, like the way the Georgian colony was created for.

Another factor is that the British had more ships, it was just easier for someone to get a ship to the New World. Many of the German settlers arrived in the American colonies on British ships. I can't see the French using British ships to get to America. Fewer ships probably means higher fares for passage, discouraging people to emigrate.

Finally, the British just seem to have more people who wanted to leave, and set up shop somewhere else, people like the Pilgrims who emigrated with their entire families, and they didn't have to be bribed to do so. The French just seemed less willing to leave the comforts of civilization to set up new lives in the wilderness with their entire family.

Finally, for what ever reaons,
 
Jun 2017
2,969
Connecticut
Why wasn't there much European settlement in France's North American colonies?

After all, apart from Quebec and Louisiana, Europeans don't appear to have settled in large numbers in any of the French colonies in the Americas. In turn, this raises an interesting question--why exactly was this the case?

Why was there a lot of European settlement in England's North American colonies but not in France's (with the exception of Quebec and Louisiana)?

Also, what would have been required for France's American colonies--especially France's North American colonies--to have much more European settlement?

Any thoughts on all of this?
Because they saw Native America as more of a marketplace to expand into rather than a people to conquer(Spanish, though via accident) or a place to settle(English). France certainly had the people to settle their colony's, they had a larger population than the English they also were undergoing religious conflict same as the English and it would have made sense to mass settle Hugenouts there. It was more of a business venture while the English colonization was intentional and for the means of settling people.

That being said there might have been a point where they thought of changing priority's crossed the French agenda but regardless during the Seven Years War when the time came to fight for the New World, there priority was clearly Europe.
 
Oct 2011
833
Trade, furs and fish was all that France looked at NA for. They also had Caribbean islands that were making more money then cold Canada.
 

botully

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Feb 2011
3,545
Amelia, Virginia, USA
Because they saw Native America as more of a marketplace to expand into rather than a people to conquer(Spanish, though via accident) or a place to settle(English). France certainly had the people to settle their colony's, they had a larger population than the English they also were undergoing religious conflict same as the English and it would have made sense to mass settle Hugenouts there. It was more of a business venture while the English colonization was intentional and for the means of settling people.

That being said there might have been a point where they thought of changing priority's crossed the French agenda but regardless during the Seven Years War when the time came to fight for the New World, there priority was clearly Europe.
Virginia was a business venture. A corporation, investors, shares, fraud and embezzlement....until the crown took it over. Virginia was also seen as a way to get rid of surplus population. So was Massachusetts Bay, for that matter.
French Huguenots did try to start their own colony, in Florida in the 1560’s, but the Spanish killed them.
It took a lot of money to finance a trip, so either rich folks pooled their money (Virginia), or they needed help from the crown. The French were decidedly lukewarm about colonizing, money wasn’t forthcoming, so they never had the numbers. The cold climate was certainly another powerful deterrent, as subsistence agriculture was more difficult.
 

Code Blue

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Feb 2015
4,290
Caribbean
The French didn't seem to have as many religious dissent groups as England. New England was settled largely by religious Dissenters, such as Puritans. The Massachussets Bay Colony alone had some 20,000 mostly Puritan immigrants.

I doubt France would have wanted entire colonies of French Protestants, and had French Huguenots tried to emigrate in like large groups as the English Dissenters Protestant groups did like the Puritans, they would have likely been shut down.
Agree. British emigration is often couched in the abstract, as seeking religious freedom or freedom from persecution - but to a large extent it was generically "protestants" running from "catholics," running from Bloody Mary's and Bloody Assizes, etc.
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
6,171
US
I agree with a number of posters who have posted about English citizens seeking religious freedom as a reason they came to America. The French did not seem t have this issue to the same degree.
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,776
Ohio, USA
I agree with a number of posters who have posted about English citizens seeking religious freedom as a reason they came to America. The French did not seem t have this issue to the same degree.
Well, there were the Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, plus those from the previous centuries' religious conflicts. However, the Huguenots tended to go to other European countries (such as England itself, and Brandenburg-Prussia) rather than New World colonies.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
21,898
SoCal
Well, there were the Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, plus those from the previous centuries' religious conflicts. However, the Huguenots tended to go to other European countries (such as England itself, and Brandenburg-Prussia) rather than New World colonies.
Is there any particular reason that the Huguenots didn't go to the Americas while other religious dissenters such as the Puritans did?