French African colonies


From the 16th to the 17th centuries, the First French colonial empire stretched from a total area at its peak in 1680 to over , the second largest empire in the world at the time behind only the Spanish Empire. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the
French colonial empire The French colonial empire () comprised the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate Mandate most often refers to: * League of Nations mandates, quasi-colonial territories established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations ...
was the second largest colonial empire in the world only behind the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
; it extended over of land at its height in the 1920s and 1930s. In terms of population however, on the eve of World War II, France and her colonial possessions totaled only 150 million inhabitants, compared with 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 The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
, in rivalry with Britain. 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 historians term the "first" French colonial empire. In the 19th century, starting with the conquest of Algiers in 1830, France began to establish a new empire in Africa and Southeast Asia. The following is a list of all 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

* Present-day
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin and french: Hispaniola; ht, Ispayola; tnq, Ayiti) is an island in the Caribbean th ...

Dominican Republic
(1795–1809) * Canada **
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan Franc ...

New France
(1534–1763), and nearby lands: ***
Acadia Acadia (french: link=no, Acadie) was a colony of New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country pri ...

(1604–1713) ***
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
Hudson Bay Hudson Bay ( iu, text=ᑲᖏᖅᓱᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᓗᐊ, translit=Kangiqsualuk ilua or iu, text=ᑕᓯᐅᔭᕐᔪᐊᖅ, translit=Tasiujarjuaq; french: baie d'Hudson), sometimes called Hudson's Bay (usually historically), is a large body of sal ...
Saint Lawrence River The St. Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America, flowing from Lake Ontario in a roughly northeasterly direction into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, connecting the Great Lakes to the North Atlantic Ocean and forming the ...
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes in the mid-east region of North America that connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawren ...

Great Lakes
Lake Winnipeg Lake Winnipeg (french: Lac Winnipeg, oj, ᐑᓂᐸᑲᒥᐠᓴᑯ˙ᑯᐣ, italics=no, Weenipagamiksaguygun) is a very large, relatively shallow lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a Depression (geology), basin, surro ...
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

* Present-day United States ** The Fort Saint Louis (
Texas Texas (, ; : ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the region of the . At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2020, it is the second-largest by both (after ) and (after ). Texas shares borders ...

) (1685–1689) ** Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (1650–1733) **
Fort Caroline Fort Caroline was an attempted French colonial settlement in Florida, located on the banks of the St. Johns River in present-day Duval County. It was established under the leadership of René Goulaine de Laudonnière on June 22, 1564, as a new ...

Fort Caroline
French Florida French Florida ( modern French: ''Floride française'') was a colonial territory established by French Huguenot Huguenots ( , also , ) were a Religious denomination, religious group of French people, French Protestantism, Protestants. Huguen ...
(occupation by Huguenots) (1562–1565) **
Vincennes Vincennes (, ) is a Communes of France, commune in the Val-de-Marne Departments of France, department in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the Kilometre Zero, centre of Paris. It is one of the most densely populated municip ...
Fort Ouiatenon Fort Ouiatenon, built in 1717, was the first fortified European settlement in what is now called Indiana. It was a palisade stockade with log blockhouse used as a French trading post on the Wabash River located approximately three miles southwest ...

Fort Ouiatenon
in Indiana **
French Louisiana This map shows the Louisiana Purchase area, which corresponds with much of colonial French Louisiana, but the colony extended further into the Illinois Country.The term French Louisiana refers to two distinct regions: * first, to Louisiana (New F ...
(23.3% of the current territory) (1764–1804) (sold by
Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led Napoleon Bonaparte's battle record, several successful campaigns during the French Rev ...

Napoleon I
) (also see:
Louisiana (New Spain) Spanish Louisiana ( es, link=no, la Luisiana) was a governorate A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either State (ad ...
) *** Lower Louisiana *** Upper Louisiana **
Louisiana (New France) Louisiana (french: La Louisiane; ''La Louisiane française'') or French Louisiana was an administrative divisions of France, administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682 to 1769 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was ...
(1672–1764) * Present-day
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the ...

France Équinoxiale Equinoctial France (French ''France équinoxiale'') was the contemporary name given to the colonization efforts of France in the 17th century in South America, around the line of Equator The Earth's equator is an imaginary planetary line th ...
(Bay of São Luis) (1610–1615) ** The island of
Saint Alexis Saint Alexius or Alexius of Rome or Alexius of Edessa ( el, Ἀλέξιος; also Alexis) was a fourth-century monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language be ...
(1531) ** The Territory of
Amapá Amapá () is a States of Brazil, state located in the North Region, Brazil, northern region of Brazil. It is the List of Brazilian states by population, second least populous state and the List of Brazilian states by area, eighteenth largest by ar ...
(1897) (disputed Franco-Brazilian territory resolved in favour of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the ...

) ** The city of Viçosa-Ceará (Territory of Ibiapaba) (1590–1604) **
France Antarctique France Antarctique (formerly also spelled ''France antartique'') was a French colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from ...
, to Fort Coligny ( Rio de Janeiro Bay; intended as a haven for Huguenots) (1555–1567) ** Fernando de Noronha, Île Delphine's island (1736–1737) * Haiti (1627–1804) * Present-day Suriname ** Tapanahony (District of Sipaliwini District, Sipaliwini) (Controversial Franco-Dutch in favour of the Netherlands) (25.8% of the current territory) (1814) * Îles des Saintes (1648–present) * Marie-Galante (1635–present) * la Désirade (1635–present) * Guadeloupe (1635–present) * Martinique (1635–present) * French Guiana (1604–present) * Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1604–1713, 1763–present) * Collectivity of Saint Martin (1624–present) * Saint Barthélemy (1648–1784, 1878–present) * Dominica (1625–1763, 1778–1783) * Nevis (1782–1784) * Grenada (1650–1762, 1779–1783) * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1719–1763, 1779–1783) * Saint Christopher Island (1628–1690, 1698–1702, 1706, 1782–1783) * Antigua (briefly in 1666) * Saint Lucia (1650–1723, 1756–1778, 1784–1803) * Present-day Guyana (1782–1784) * Tobago (1666–1667, 1781–1793, 1802–1803)

In Africa

French North Africa

* French Morocco (1912–1956) (protectorate) (89% of the current territory) (now Morocco) * French Algeria (1830–1962) * French Tunisia (1881–1956) (protectorate) (Tunisia)

French West Africa

* Ivory Coast (1843–1960) * Dahomey or French Dahomey (now Benin) (1883–1960) ** Independent of Dahomey, under French protectorate in 1889 ** Porto-Novo (protectorate) (1863–1865, 1882) ** Cotonou (protectorate) (1868) * French Sudan (now Mali) (1883–1960) ** Senegambia and Niger (1902–1904) * Guinea or French Guinea (1891–1958) * Mauritania (1902–1960) **Emirate of Adrar, Adrar emirate (protectorate) (1909) ** The Taganit confederation's emirate (protectorate) (1905) ** Brakna confederation's emirate (protectorate) ** Emirate of Trarza (protectorate) (1902) * Niger (1890–1960) ** Sultanate of Damagaram (Zinder) (protectorate) (1899) * Senegal (1677–1960) * French Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) (1896–1960) * French Togoland (1918–1960) (formerly a German colonial empire, German colony, League of Nations mandate, mandate became a French colony) (now Togo) * Nigeria ** The Enclaves of Forcados and Badjibo (territory under a lease of 30 years) (1900–1927) ** Muri, Nigeria, The Emirate of Muri (Northeast of Nigeria) (1892–1893) * Gambia ** Albreda (1681–1857) ** Kunta Kinteh Island (1695–1697, 1702)

French Equatorial Africa

* Chad (1900–1960) * Oubangui-Chari (currently Central African Republic) (1905–1960) ** Dar al Kuti (protectorate) (1897) (in 1912 its sultanate was suppressed by the French) ** Sultanate of Bangassou (protectorate) (1894) * Present-day The Republic of Congo, then French Congo (1875–1960) * Gabon (1839–1960) * French Cameroon (91% of current Cameroon) (1918–1960) (formerly a German colonial empire, German colony, League of Nations mandate, Mandate, Protectorate then French Colony) * São Tomé and Príncipe (1709)

East Africa and Indian Ocean

* Madagascar (1896–1960) ** Kingdom of Imerina (protectorate) (1896) * Isle de France (Mauritius), Isle de France (1715–1810) (now Mauritius) * Djibouti (French Somaliland) (the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas) (French Somalia) (1862–1977) * Mayotte (1841–present) * Seychelles (1756–1810) * Chagos Archipelago (1721–1745, 1768–1814) * The Scattered Islands (Banc du Geyser, Bassas da India, Europa Island, Juan de Nova Island, Glorioso Islands, Tromelin Island) * Comoros (1866–1975) * Réunion (1710–present)

In Asia

* French Indochina **French Indochinese Union (1887–1954) ***French Protectorate of Laos, Laos (protectorate) (1893–1953) *** French Protectorate of Cambodia, Cambodia (protectorate) (1863–1953) ***Vietnam ****French Cochinchina, Cochinchina (Southern Vietnam) (1858–1949) **** Annam (French protectorate), Annam (protectorate) (Central Vietnam) (1883–1949) **** Tonkin (French protectorate), Tonkin (protectorate) (Northern Vietnam) (1884–1949) **** State of Vietnam (1949–1954) **** Spratly Islands (1933–1939) **** Paracel Islands (1933–1939) ***Some territories in the eastern part of Thailand (independent state, but after Franco-Siamese War in 1893, Thailand has lost 3 provinces during the next 15 years) **** Chanthaburi Province (1893-1904) **** Trat Province (1904-1907) **** Dan Sai District (in the area of the Loei Province:1903-1907) * India and Sri Lanka ** French India *** French Establishments of India, composed of Pondicherry district, Pondichéry (1765–1954); Karikal (1725–1954); Mahé, India, Mahé (1721–1954) Yanam, French India, Yanaon (1723–1954); Chandernagor (1673–1952) * Taiwan ** The city/port of Keelung (1884–1885) ** Pescadores Islands (1885) * Basilan (1845) * China ** The territory of Kouang-Tchéou-Wan, a dependency of French Indochina) (1898–1945) ** The foreign concessions : French Concession of Shanghai (1849–1946), Concessions in Tianjin#French concession .281860–1946.29, Tianjin (1860–1946) and Hankou (1898–1946) ** The Spheres of French influence officially recognized by China on the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, Hainan, Guangdong ** Shamian Island (1859–1949) (a fifth of the island) * Palestine (region), Palestine * Syria or French Syria (1920–1946) (French Mandate of Syria) ** Alawite State (1920–1936) ** State of Aleppo (1920–1924) ** State of Jabal Druze (1921–1936) ** State of Damascus (1920–1924) ** Sanjak of Alexandretta (now part of Turkey) ** State of Greater Lebanon (now it is Lebanon) (1920–1946) * Lebanon or French Lebanon (1920–1946) (French Mandate of Lebanon) ** Mount Lebanon (An international protocol fixes the autonomy of the mount Lebanon under the protection of France) * Yemen ** Cheikh Saïd (Some French atlases and history books claimed the territory was French, but France never occupied it and never claimed jurisdiction or sovereignty over the territory, which therefore was never French, remaining under Turkish, then Yemeni control.)

In Oceania

* Clipperton Island (1858–present) * French Polynesia ** Society Islands (became a French protectorate in 1843 and a colony in 1880) *** Otaheiti, known as Tahiti (protectorate) (1842–1880) *** Raiatea and Tahaa (protectorate) (1880) ** Tuamotu Archipelago ** Marquesas Islands (under French control in 1870, and later incorporated into the territory of French Polynesia) ** Gambier Islands *** Mangareva (protectorate) (1844/1871) ** Austral Islands *** Rurutu (Austral Islands) (protectorate) (1858–1889) * Papua New Guinea ** New Ireland (island), New Ireland (1880–1882) (attempt at colonization, unofficial) * New Caledonia ** Chesterfield Islands ** Matthew and Hunter Islands ** Loyalty Islands ** Île des Pins *Hawaiian Islands (1837) (at the beginning of French presence there; however, the United States persuaded the local Queen to negotiate with them instead, by means of the strength of a company of U.S. Marines) * The New Hebrides (Vanuatu) ** French protectorate (1887–1906) ** Anglo-French Condominium (international law), condominium (1906–1980) * Australia ** Dirk Hartog Island (1772) (made an unofficial annexation for all Australia) * Wallis and Futuna (1887–present) ** Kingdom of Uvea (Wallis and Futuna) (declared to be a protectorate by King of Uvea (Wallis and Futuna), Uvea and Captain Mallet in 1842. Officially in a treaty becomes a French protectorate in 1887 until annexed in 1917) ** Kingdom of Sigave (signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate in 1888 until annexed in 1917) ** Kingdom of Alo (Wallis and Futuna) (signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate in 1888 until annexed in 1917)

In Antarctica

* French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) ** Crozet Islands (24 January 1772– present) ** Kerguelen Islands (13 February 1772– present) ** Île Amsterdam (in 1843 but abandoned) (1892–present) ** Île Saint-Paul (in 1843 but abandoned) (1892–present) ** Adélie Land (1840–present) (sheltering one of two French Bases in Antarctica, the other one being Franco-Italian (that borders with the Australian Antarctic Territory on both sides and divides that in two)

See also

* Overseas departments and territories of France * CFA franc * Franco-Trarzan War of 1825 * French colonial forces * French colonisation of the Americas * French Colonial Union * Organisation internationale de la Francophonie * Kouang-Tchéou-Wan, a small French territory in China * French colonial flags, an open access multilingual discovery tool with book data from 1531 to 2020, full-text ebooks from 1531 to 1937 and in-text search from c. 1830 to c. 1920
*Timeline of the European colonization of North America

Notes and references

External links COLONIES (English) French Forum (French) (French)

Mappemonde (French)

France-Antarctique history (French)

France-Antarctique (French)
* (French) * (French) {{Portal bar, Geography Former French colonies, • France-related lists, Colonies French colonial empire, . French colonisation in Africa French colonisation in Asia French colonization of the Americas French Union, List Lists of former colonies de:Französische Kolonien