Spain and Portugal, the first European powers in 16th-century America, conquered territory from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic, North America eventually became the object of a prolonged struggle between France and England. As wars broke out in Europe, spread to America and were settled in a succession of treaties, New France expanded to cover three quarters of the continent. Then, with the loss of Acadia, Newfoundland and Hudson Bay, under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, its boundaries shrank. It was finally dismantled for good in 1763, with the Treaty of Paris. The desire of France’s monarchs to maintain a presence in North America was manifested a number of times in military operations that demanded considerable resources, given the ongoing need to protect the country’s European possessions. By the mid-18th century, however, the economic system that was established in the West Indies was more in tune with France’s goals. Of the 30,000 French people who made the voyage to New France between 1604 and 1760, roughly half chose to remain. Some, refusing to submit to English rule, returned to France or tried their luck elsewhere. The most tragic fate fell to the Acadians, who suffered mass deportation in 1755. By 1763, there were about 80,000 people living in New France, most of them concentrated in the province of Quebec and a few small enclaves in the Great Lakes region and in Louisiana.

A view of the Bishop’s house with the Ruins ...,
engraving by Richard Short, 1761
CA ANC C-000350
The Surrender of Québec
The Treaty of Utrecht
The Acadians in Nova Scotia
The Boundaries of Acadia
The Deportation of the Acadians
The Displacement of Canadians
to Louisiana
Reactions to the English Conquest
The Military Regime
The Treaty of Paris
The Liquidation of Paper
The Aboriginal Peoples and
the English Government
The Acadian Refugees in
Changed Lives