They Could’ve Been Contenders
In This Chapter
Champlain founds Quebec
Joliet and Marquette discover Mississippi and claim “Louisiana”
The Dutch West India Company creates New Netherland
The English seize New Netherland and rename it New York
Compared to the Spanish, the English got off to a slow start in the New World, but they soon became one of the two principal forces in the Americas. The other was France, which directed its main efforts at settlement along the St. Lawrence River in present-day Canada and in the West Indies. Although “black robes”—Catholic priests—came in the wake of French exploration and set up missions to the Indians, religion was never as strong a component of settlement as it was for the Spanish, nor so compelling a motive for settlement as it was for the English. The fact was that the ambitious Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), who, in effect, ruled France as prime minister under the weak-willed Louis XIII, needed money to finance his campaign to make France the dominant power in Europe. And the New World offered opportunity for profit.