New France was the name given to an area in North America colonized by the France between the 16th and 18th centuries. In 1523 an Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was able to convince the King of France to sponsor an expedition to find a new route to China. Although he didn’t quite reach China he was the first European to discover New York Bay. Upon hearing news of this discovery the French King was convinced to establish a colony in this area. In 1534 French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on the Gaspésie (Gaspé Peninsula), located in modern day Quebec, and claimed the land in the name of the King. This established the first province of New France.
Although the early settlements failed, the French continued to establish colonies and trading posts in the region. The region floundered until the region was made a royal province by Louis XIV in 1663. A strong fur trade developed and the French territory was expanded after French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed territory stretching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. A series of skirmishes, battles and wars saw New France gain more territory and by 1712 the territory stretched from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains and from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. This region was separated into five colonies; Louisiana, Newfoundland (Plaisance), Hudson Bay, Acadia and Canada. The following is a map of land claimed by New France in 1712.
In 1713 a peace treaty was signed and New France lost control of Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and part of Acadia to Great Britian. The peace brought prosperity to the region, but it wasn’t long before more fighting broke out. By 1760 New France had been completely conquered by the British and the territory was formally given to Great Britain with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. France gained a large part of North America under a secret treaty with Spain in 1800. This was sold to the United States by French leader Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, which is known as the Louisiana Purchase. This means that the only remnant of New France that remains are the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which is still a French territory today.