List of French possessions and colonies

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This is an historical article. For current French possessions see French overseas departments and territories

Map of all French possessions and colonies

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the French colonial empire was one of the largest in the world, just behind the Spanish Empire and later the British Empire ; it extended over 12,898,000 km2 (4,980,000 sq mi) of land at its height in the 1920s and 1930s. The French colonial empire was the second largest empire in the 17th century and the second largest empire in 1929 after Spain and Britain respectively. Including metropolitan France, the total amount of land under French sovereignty reached 13,018,575 km² (5,020,000 sq. miles) in 1929, which is 8.7% of the Earth's total land area. In terms of population however, France and her colonial empire totaled only 110 million inhabitants on the eve of World War II, compared to 330 million for British India alone.

France began to establish colonies in North America, the Caribbean and India, following Spanish and Portuguese successes during the Age of Discovery, in rivalry with Britain for supremacy. A series of wars with Britain during the 18th century and early 19th century, which France finally lost, almost ended its colonial ambitions in these regions, and without it what some historian term the "first" French colonial empire. In the 19th century, France established a new empire in Africa and South East Asia. Most of these colonies lasted beyond the invasion and occupation of France by Nazi Germany during World War II. At present, France possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world, just after the United States; it measures approximately 11,351,000 km2 (4,383,000 sq mi).

Here is a list of all the countries that were part of the French colonial empires in the last 500 years, either entirely or in part, either under French sovereignty or as mandate.

In the Americas

File:Frank bond 1912 louisiana and the louisiana purchase.jpg
This map shows the Louisiana Purchase area, which corresponds approximately with colonial French Louisiana.
Taking up of the Louisiana by La Salle in the name of the Kingdom of France

In Africa

The pith helmet (in this case, of the Second French Empire) is an icon of colonialism in tropical lands
Map of French colonies in Africa (in pink)
Italian-French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who, without a shot, acquired territory which included the Gabon, Central African Republic and Republic of the Congo

French North Africa

French West Africa

French Equatorial Africa

French East Africa

In Asia

Map Of French Colony in India
Zones of French and British influence and control established by the Sykes-Picot Agreement

In Oceania

French flags in Polynesia
Flag of Anglo-French joint Naval
Flag of the Alo/Tu`a chiefdom
Flag of the Sigave chiefdom
Flag of the ʻUvea chiefdom

In Antarctica

Territory claim by France in Antarctic (Adélie Land)

See also

Notes and references

  2. "Domaines nationaux - Consulat Général de France à Jérusalem". Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  5. "Consulter le sujet - L'Australie serait-elle française ?!... • [Forums". Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  6. Godard, Philippe; Kerros, Tugdual de; Margot, Odette; Stanbury, Myra; Baxter, Sue; Western Australian Museum; Godard, Phillippe; De Kerros, Tugdual; Margot, Odette; Stanbury, Myra; Baxter, Sue (2008), 1772 : the French annexation of New Holland : the tale of Louis de Saint Aloürn, Western Australian Museum, ISBN 978-1-920843-98-4 
  7. Philippe Godard, Tugdual de Kerros 2002, "Louis de Saint Aloüarn, un marin breton à la conquête des terres australes", Les Portes du large, Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, 331-336
  8. "TAAF". Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  9. "Kerguelen – yves trémarec – james cook – asia – hillsborough – rhodes". 

External links

de:Französische Kolonien