- from Early Settlements
New France was put on a map long before anyone from France got to the Americas. In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano explored the coast of North America. He was an Italian sailor working for France. His trip took him from what is now the Carolinas north to Nova Scotia. Five years later, his brother drew a map of the area. On it, he used the name New France.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier made it a real place. Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River as far as what is now Montreal. He claimed the land in the name of King Francis I of France. He also tried to start a colony at what is now Quebec City. However, the colony did not last. Cartier did form a fur-trading partnership with the Huron Indians. Fur trading later became the main business of New France. Much later, French missionaries came to try to convert the American Indians to Christianity. That was 100 years after Cartier claimed the land for France. Missionaries often lived among the Indians. They learned the natives’ languages and their way of life. Many fur traders also lived among the natives. Traders also built more permanent settlements.