In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano led the first French expedition to America. Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay. He was closely followed in 1534 by Jacques Cartier who explored the coast from the Cape Fear River to Nova Scotia. Jacques Cartier visited the Gulf of St. Lawrence and sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. Jean Ribault explored the Carolina coasts and Florida. Jean Ribault became a colonizer in the south eastern area of North America. In 1603 Samuel de Champlain set sail from France to Quebec. Samuel de Champlain was the Founder of Quebec City and known as 'The Father of Canada'. He discovered Lake Champlain on the border between present day northern New York and Vermont. In 1608 an expedition party under Samuel de Champlain made the first permanent settlement on the St. Lawrence River, at Quebec. These famous men reported their findings to France and many others followed them - the French colonization of the new continent of America had begun - the French called the lands New France.
French in America - New France
The lands claimed by the French as 'New France' were located in the area of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. New France was divided into five colonies, each with its own administration. The five colonies of New France were Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Louisiana.
French in America - Arcadia
The New France colony of Arcadia comprised what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and a part of Maine. It was settled by the French in the early years of the 1600's at Port Royal (now Annapolis, Nova Scotia), at Mount Desert Island, and on the St. Croix River.