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French Colonial Empire

Empire colonial français
Flag of France
French conquests and territories over the centuries
French conquests and territories over the centuries
and largest city
• Established
• Cartier planted the French flag at Gaspé Bay
24 July 1534
30 April 1803
• Independence of Vanuatu
30 July 1980
• Disestablished
24,000,000 km2 (9,300,000 sq mi)
ISO 3166 code FR
Today part of

The French colonial Empire was land controlled by the French 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. Like the other empires of the time, was powered by slaves captured from Africa. The Haitian Revolution, when many of these slaves in the colony of Saint Domingue fought and defeated the French, caused major changes in the empire.

Sometimes, people say there was a first and a second French colonial empire. The "first colonial empire" was from the French colonization of the Americas to the Napoleonic Wars. The "second colonial empire" is the French colonies in Africa.

From the 16th to the 17th centuries, the First French colonial empire stretched from a total area at its peak in 1680 to over 10,000,000 square kilometres (3,900,000 sq mi), the second largest empire in the world at the time behind only the Spanish Empire. In terms of land area, the Second French colonial empire extended to over 13,500,000 square kilometres (5,200,000 sq mi) at its peak in 1936, the second largest in the world at the time, which accounted for 10% of the world's land area. The total land area of the first and second French colonial empire combined reached 24,000,000 square kilometres (9,300,000 sq mi).

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