Open main menu

French colonial empire

set of territories that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s

The French colonial Empire was land under French rule from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 17th and 18th centuries France gained and lost large territories in North America and India. The "first colonial empire" is often taken to start with the French colonization of the Americas and to end with the Napoleonic Wars. The "second colonial empire" is often taken to start and end with French rule in Africa.

French Colonial Empire

Empire colonial français
1534–1946
Flag of France
French conquests and territories over the centuries
French conquests and territories over the centuries
Capital
and largest city
Paris
Bourbon
Bonaparte
History 
• Established
1534
• Cartier planted the French flag at Gaspé Bay
24 July 1534
30 April 1803
• Independence of Vanuatu
30 July 1980
• Disestablished
1946
Area
12,347,000 km2 (4,767,000 sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeFR
Today part of

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. Because it was so big, many people now speak French.