French Colonial Empire

set of territories that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s

The French Colonial Empire comprised the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made between the "First French Colonial Empire," that existed until 1814, by which time most of it had been lost or sold, and the "Second French Colonial Empire", which began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830. At its apex, the Second French colonial empire was one of the largest empires in history. Including metropolitan France, the total amount of land under French sovereignty reached 11,500,000 km2 (4,400,000 sq mi) in 1920, with a population of 110 million people in 1936.

Flag of the French Colonial Empire
National Anthem of France and the French Colonial Empire
Colonial empire from 1542 to 1980 Dark Blue: Second colonial empire Light Blue: First colonial empire


  • Gentlemen, we must speak louder and truer! We must say openly that indeed the higher races have a right over the lower races.... I repeat, that the superior races have a right because they have a duty. They have the duty to civilize the inferior races.
    • Jules Ferry, former prime minister of France, addressing Parliament in 1884.

French AlgeriaEdit

The French conquest of Algeria
Arrival of Marshal Randon in Algiers in 1857 by Ernest Francis Vacherot
  • For my ancestors, the arrival of the French was an enormous progress. The door to culture, freedom and emancipation opened, they were no longer second-class citizens.

Second French intervention in MexicoEdit

  • If the same successes had been obtained by the Mexican imperialist army without the help of our soldiers, the future of the new government could be considered as better assured, but as long as it will be to Marshal Bazaine and our brave army that will come back to us. The main honor of these victories, they will indicate rather the need that Mexico has of us than that which it feels to retain its current sovereign.

French concession in TianjinEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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