Alex Curylo
Section 7204

Area inhabited/ruled [if members of your group emigrated, immigrated, or established settlement (colonies) outside of their home country you should include an explanation of that travel or settlement in this section; include places traveled and reasons for leaving home country]

France was a nation that was small back in
France in 1477
A Map of New France
15th century, but then it began an age of exploration and widened its vast empire. The territories of “true” France were small because it had many border provinces that were autonomous or foreign-held. But much expansion began duringlate 15th/16th centuries. The French explored North America starting in 1524 when Giovanni da Verrazano, and Italian working for the king of France first explored the new territory. Later, in 1534, 1535, and 1541 Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River and claimed the new territory he saw for France. New France grew slowly. King Louis the 14th had to send over about 2,500 people to try and get the population up. The French also gained land in Europe. Francis the 1st conquered land in Italy, and the French also had land in Portugal and England. Even though France started out with less land it gained more by exploring and conquering.

Everyday Life

Everyday life in France was fairly normal. Most people lived in small houses because they were easier to heat, and it was not uncommon for a family of four to share one bed. People back then had few possessions; including only two outfits and one pair of shoes. Women would usually stay home and take care of children. Men went to work on farms, in merchant shops, or in craftsman’s workshops. Boys would stay home until they were seven, and then either go to school if the family could afford it, or go to work if the family was poor. At 14, boys could become apprentices and learn a skill/craft. Girls usually stayed home with their mother learning household skills, and then if the family
An Example of French Housing
was poor; the girl would go to work as a servant in a wealthy home. Wealthy girls received limited education unlike men, and a girl was never considered fully grown until she married (if she never married, she would always be considered a child). Colonial life was similar to that of mainland France. Fur trade was the main activity for young men, who usually became farmers later on. Fishing and lumber were also major industries. Townsfolk often held social gatherings like horse races on frozen rivers. There were two main types of languages in France. The North spoke various dialects of the Oil languages. The South spoke the Occitan languages which included: Breton, Catalan, Basque, and Franco-Provencal. During the 16th century a standard language called “Middle French” was developed, although it did not adapt well because by the late 18th century, only
50% of the population spoke it. The French lived basic everyday lives, although some in different places, and with different backgrounds.

Social and Political Organization

Louis XIV, "The Sun King"

France was a powerful nation with rulers that helped it achieve greatness. Since France was an aristocratic monarchy, there were many kings which ruled it over the ages including, Charles IV, Charles V, Louis XI, Louis XIV, and Francis I. Louis XIV (the 14th) was also know as “The Sun King” and one of the greatest rulers of France. He ruled from 1643-1715, which was the longest reign in European history, and during that time fought for, and acquired land in Italy and The Netherlands. He was also a patron of the arts and he set up prosperous trading posts in North America. The social-political structure in France was also aristocratic. This was the result of many internal conflicts and legislative acts to keep order. The population of France finally re-sprung post-black death and there was population of about 11 million in the early 15th century. But many wars slowed any increase in population. There were also many wars over climate change, and what historians call “the little ice age” that lasted from 1550 to 1850 during which France lost a lot of its population. France also fought a series of wars called “The Hundred Years War” which actually lasted 116 years (from 1337 to 1453). There were two main sides to these wars: The House of Valois (France and Scotland among others) versus The House of Plantagenet (England, Portugal, Luxembourg, and the Romans among others). Many events led up to the final defeat of the Plantagenet, including when Joan of Arc helped drive many English troops out of France. These wars had positive outcomes for the French which included much development of new and improved weapons. The French government was powerful and it showed that power by fighting for their territory and not giving up.

A painting of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day

There was much turmoil over the religion in France back during the early 16th century. The main state religion in France at the time was Roman-Catholicism. A movement began
to convert to Protestants, and follow the teachings of John Calvin. These revolting Protestants were referred to a Huguenots. They were heavily executed by the French
government but grew in number and political strength. In the late 15th century they fought the Roman-Catholics in a series of civil wars that lasted over thirty years. In 1572 thousands of Huguenots were killed during what is known as the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day. This, was the bleakest moment during the wars of religion. Then Henry the 4th who was a Huguenot himself, rose to power as king. The Roman-Catholics prevented him from entering Paris (the capitol city) so he converted to Catholicism for peace. In 1598 he signed the Edict of Nantes. This granted worshiping freedom to the Huguenots and also gave them 50 places of safety all across the country which were mostly military strongholds. The French ended up resolving their conflict over religion and the nation continued its era of exploration.

Arts/Technology/Developed Culture

The French took part in a period of exploration both in art and in new worlds. This period showed the revival of many classic forms, and the exposition of individualism in art. All
The Interior of the Château de Fontainebleau
of this corresponds to the age of Atlantic World exploration. Likewise, many artists looked for new solutions to formal and visual problems, and many were devoted to scientific exploration. Math played a big part in art during this time. Linear proportions were developed, and artists now painted what they saw in raw form. During this time scholars also studied philosophical texts. Because of much exploration during these times; artists and architects alike exhibited a greater desire for knowledge and new solutions. During the 16th century, art really sprung about. Many great Italian artists were hired to work for the French including Leonardo Da Vinci, who unfortunately died before he before he could produce any great work. An example of great work that was done however, was the Château de Fontainebleau which was simply a modest château enlarged and decorated under the direction of Francis the 1st. It was marveled for its splendid architecture and gardens. France grew to

The gardens at the Château de Fontainebleau
become the great nation of over 212,000 square miles, and over 62.5 million people. Even though French, not the world’s most dominant language, it is still spoken in the areas that were once the colonies of New France. France was a powerful country which played a major part in the development of the Atlantic World, and the exploration of North America.

Works Cited

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Dickinson, John A. "New France." World Book Student. World Book, 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

Dewald, Jonathan. "France." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World.
Ed. Jonathan Dewald. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. 429-440. Gale World History In Context. Web. 26 Sep. 2011

"Early Modern France." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

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"Hundred Years' War." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.

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Nardo, Don. France. New York: Children's, 2000. Print.

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"Renaissance Art and Architecture." The Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara. Web.
26 Sept. 2011. <>.

"Wars of Religion." Infoplease. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Ed., 2007. Web. 26
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Photos Cited

Bendarjevskiy, Anton. French Village. Digital image. Flash of Eternity. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.

Chateau De Fontainebleau 1538. Digital image. GardenVisit. Nightingale Garden Co. Ltd. Web. 3 Oct. 2011.

Fontainebleau Interior. Digital image. Writing the Renaissance Blog. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.
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Louis. Digital image. History of Painters. Web. 1 Oct. 2011.

Map France 1477. Digital image. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.

New-France-Map. Digital image. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.

Religion Wars Battle. Digital image. The Folger Shakespeare Library. Web. 1 Oct. 2011.