Following early French colonization attempts at Tadoussac, Saint-Croix island (Maine) and Port Royal (Nova Scotia), the French colonization of America really began with the foundation of Quebec in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. Sieur de Laviolette founded Trois Rivières in 1634 and eight years later Paul de Chomedey founded Fort Ville-Marie (Montreal). By 1645 the French had explored and sparsely settled large tracts of St Lawrence River and Great Lakes region, known as New France. In this underpopulated region women were in short supply and there were frequent intermarriages between French and Indians, giving rise to Métis I people. By an Ordnance of 1627, issued by Cardinal Richelieu, it was declared that Indians who converted to Catholicism were considered as ‘natural Frenchmen’. France’s initial interest in Canada was in the rich fishing grounds off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, but by the beginning of the 17th century they had turned their attention to the fur trade. Meanwhile the English were consolidating their territory further south, founding the colony of Jamestown in Virginia in 1607, while Puritans settled in Massachusetts in the 1620s. By the mid-17th century European colonists were poised to take their own territorial disputes to the newly-discovered continent.
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