What Is a List of Former French Colonies?

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The French colonial empire included many colonies in its holdings. Some of these colonies included Senegal, Gabon, Chad, New France, Saint-Domingue, Côte d’Ivoire, Louisiana, Mauritama and Grenada.

The French colonial empire was made up of the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 17th century onward. A distinction is usually made between the first French colonial empire and the second one.

The first colonial empire started during the 16th century with the colonization of the Americas. The excursions of Giovanni da Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier in the early 16th century in addition to the frequent voyages of French boats and fishermen to the Grand Banks off of Newfoundland were the precursors to the story of France’s colonial expansion. The first colonial empire existed until 1814, coming to an end after a series of colonial conflicts between France and Britain that culminated in the Napoleonic Wars.

Britain restored a majority of France’s colonies to it at the close of the Napoleonic Wars. The origins of the second French colonial empire were laid in 1830 with the French invasion of Algeria, which was conquered over the next 17 years. The second colonial empire mostly ended with the granting of independence to Algeria in 1962. However, the last territory to achieve independence was Vanuatu in 1980.