Thursday, July 7, 2016

Celebrating French-American Heritage Month: What Brought the French to America

Have you ever wondered what brought French citizens to America? While the population of French Americans in the U.S. is rather large (more than 11 million), we don't hear about them as much as, say Italian Americans, German Americans, or Spanish Americans. Here are some of reasons the French made their home in American:

Like most other nations, exploration first brought the French to the New World. The explorers were sent to look for a new route to the Pacific Ocean, a finding that would result in great wealth for the country. 
In the 1500s, the Protestant Reformation caused conflicts between French Catholics and French Protestants. To escape the loss of freedom to practice their religion, French Protestants left France to settle in the New World.
Another major cause of French immigration to the United States occurred with the influx of French-Canadians between 1840 and 1930. These immigrants left Canada because of overpopulation in rural areas of Canada that made it difficult to make a living.

Today, about 11.8 million U.S. residents are of French or French Canadian descent, and about 2 million speak French at home. An additional 750,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language, according to the 2011 census.

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