The year is 1700...

The year is 1700...

Jamestown, Québec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings

Where does everything stand?

This map of North America by Guillaume de L’Isle presents a French view of the continent about 1700.  It confines English and Spanish colonies to small strips on either side of the continent.  Yet the French remained a tiny minority, even in that part of the continent claimed as New France.  No one knew if France would be able to sustain its ambitious claims in the coming century.   
Alderman Library, University of Virginia

  • There is not yet a nation called Canada, or a country called the United States.  


  • Settlement is taking place not only from east to west, but begins at many points and moves in many directions.  Unsettlement—the loss of population and disruption of Native societies—may be the key characteristic of the era.  Still, Native peoples outnumber European colonists at least nine to one.


  • The continent is international.  Events, rivalries, and wars in Europe will continue to affect what happens in North America. 


  • As yet, neither Spain, France, nor England dominates. Native nations and European ones will continue to contend with one another, some for domination, others for survival.