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The search for a Northwest Passage to Asia and the burgeoning fur trade in Europe, drove the French to explore and settle North America. LEARNING OBJECTIVES [ edit ] Evaluate France’s economic motivations for the exploration of the Americas. Identify the regions where France established settlements. KEY POINTS [ edit ] In 1524 Giovanni de Verrazano explored the territory between English Newfoundland and the Spanish settlements in southern North America, which he named Francesca and Nova Gallia in service of the French Crown. Jacques Cartier explored some of northern Canada, established friendly relations with the American Indians, and discovered that the St. Lawrence River Region had neither abundant gold nor a northwest passage to Asia. France unsuccessfully attempted to establish the first European settlement in North America at Cap-Rouge (Quebec City) in 1541. Fleeing religious persecution in Europe, French Huguenots settled in what would later become the lower United States, only to encounter hostile Spanish explorers advancing northward from the Caribbean. The first permanent settlement in Canada was established by Samuel de Champlain at Quebec City. French settlements in North America were destroyed by a combination of harsh weather, as in the case of Cap-Rouge, and Spanish aggression, as in the case of Fort Caroline. Fleeing religious persecution in Europe, French Huguenots settled in what would later become the lower United States, only to encounter hostile Spanish explorers advancing northward from the Caribbean. French settlement of the New World was shaped by Spain's competing interests in North America. The first permanent settlement in Canada was established by Samuel de Champlain. Several French settlements in North America succeeded as a result of their integration with the fur trade. TERMS [ edit ] Huguenots The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Lesser Antilles The smaller islands of the West Indies, to the south and east of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Sea. Give us feedback on this content: FULL TEXT [ edit ] The French Empire Christopher Columbus's voyages prompted other European powers to seek out the New World as well. Major French exploration of North America began under the rule of Francis I. In 1524, Francis sent Italian-born Giovanni da Verrazzano to explore the region between Florida and Newfoundland for a route to the Pacific Ocean . Verrazzano gave the names Francesca and Nova Gallia to that land between New Spain and English Newfoundland, thus promoting French interests. Giovanni da Verrazzano Verrazzano was an Italian explorer under the service of the French crown. Later, in 1534, Francis sent Jacques Cartier on the first of three voyages to explore the coast of Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence River, and to investigate whether Asian lands could be reached from the north . His journey in 1534 retraced many of the voyages of the Vikings and established contacts with natives in modern-day Canada. He explored some of northern Canada, established friendly relations with the American Indians, and discovered that the St. Lawrence River Region had neither abundant gold nor a northwest passage to Asia. Cartier attempted to create the first permanent European settlement in North America at Cap-Rouge (Quebec City) in 1541 with 400 settlers, but the settlement was abandoned the next year after bad weather and native attacks. Jacques Cartier Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River Region for France and established friendly relations with the American Indians. During the 16th century, the taming of the Siberian wilderness by the Russians had brought about a thriving fur trade, which created a great demand for fur throughout Europe. France was quick to realize that North America held great potential as a provider of fur. Samuel de Champlain began the first permanent settlement of New France and Quebec City in presentday Canada and created a prosperous trade with the Native Americans for beaver pelts and other animal hides. Meanwhile, further to the south, French Protestants, called Huguenots, had the opportunity to leave hostile European lands while advancing French claims to the New World. Settlements in present-day Florida and Georgia created tension with Spanishconquistadors, who after conquering Caribbean lands would begin to expand northwards in search of new territory. From the middle of the 15th century forward, France tried to establish several colonies throughout North America that failed due to weather, disease, or conflict with other European powers. A small group of French troops were left on Parris Island, South Carolina in 1562 to build Charlesfort, but left after a year when they were not resupplied from France. Fort Caroline, established in present-day Jacksonville, Florida in 1564, lasted only a year before being destroyed by the Spanish from St. Augustine. An attempt to settle convicts on Sable Island off Nova Scotia in 1598 failed after a short time. In 1599, a sixteen-person trading post was established in Tadoussac (in present-day Quebec), of which only five men survived the first winter. In 1604, Saint Croix Island in Acadia was the site of a short-lived French colony, which was plagued by illness. The settlement was moved to Port Royal following year. Fort Saint Louis was established in Texas in 1685, but was gone by 1688. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France ruled much of theLesser Antilles at various times. Islands that came under French rule during part of this time include Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante, Martinique, St. Barthélemy, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent, and Tobago. Control of many of these islands was contested between the French, the British, and the Dutch. A major French settlement lay on the island of Hispaniola, where France established the colony of Saint-Domingue on the western third of the island in 1664. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Antilles, Saint-Domingue became the richest colony in the Caribbean until a 1791 slave revolt, which began the Haitian Revolution, led to freedom for the colony's slaves in 1794. A decade later, they gained complete independence for the country. France also briefly ruled the eastern portion of the island, which is now the Dominican Republic.