French and Dutch Settlements

Throughout the history of European settlement in the New World, there were many countries that sent their explorers to try to take over the lands for their royal members and country. The French and Dutch took a different approach, as they were more interested in the fur trade, which they could rely on the Native Indians to hunt. Both Dutch and French colonists developed friendly relationships with many of the Native tribes, which resulted in military alliances and even marriages. Another reason for both French and Dutch interests was in converting the Native Indians to Christianity.

French explorers sent missionaries with the settlers in an attempt to convert the Native Indian tribes to Catholicism. The Dutch began looking for an alternate route to Asia through North America but found that the fur trade was incredibly profitable and claimed one of the locations as New Netherlands.

During this time, the English and Spanish were building permanent settlements. However, the French and Dutch were organizing relationships and methods to profit with merchants and fur traders, and the missionaries were working on converting the native population to their religion. By 1672, the Dutch and French had only around 5,000 settlers in the area. The small Dutch settlements had only half that was Dutch, while the rest were a mixture of people and cultures, including Huguenots, French, and German.

Both the Dutch and the French created excellent relationships with the Native Indians. The French aligned with the Algonquian and Huron tribes. Each group relied on intermarrying with Native Indians to increase the success of their fur trade.


  • The French had successful colonies in South America and the Caribbean islands and were profiting from the export of sugar, rice, furs, and fish. They had also established settlements and forts in Canadian areas such as Montreal and Quebec, as well as in America in Detroit, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Green Bay, Mobile, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and New Orleans. They extended the merchant trade and small settlements all the way to Brazil.
  • Explorers such as Samuel de Champlain and Jean Nicolet created some of the oldest permanent settlements in North America. Others expanded their search for trade and settlements to the St Lawrence River and down to the Gulf of Mexico.


  • The Dutch had established settlements in parts of Asia. However, they didn’t share the same land style interests as other European countries. The Dutch were far more interested in trade and in 1602 created the Dutch East Indian Company that led to a number of expeditions to what they would eventually call New Netherland.
  • Commercial development of the New World was the goal of the Dutch, and they invited anyone to join then in New Netherland. The first Dutch settlement in North America was in 1615 at Fort Nassau, near what is Albany New York today. The settlement was more of a fur-trading outpost as they worked with the Native Indian Lenape tribe.
  • The Dutch participated in the slave trade in 1624, expanding the settlements into forts. The colonies that were created are those that are today called Pavonia, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island, New York.
  • When Prince James, Duke of York, sent an English expedition in 1664 to the New Amsterdam harbor, they threatened to attack, and the fort was given up. Other areas in the lower Hudson were also relinquished and were later deeded to new owners and called New Jersey.
  • The Second Anglo-Dutch War from 1665-1667 led to losing New Netherland. The Third Anglo-Dutch War was between 1673 and 1674, and it ended with the loss of lands.


How did the French and Dutch differ in their exploration goals from other European countries?
They were interested in trade and not so much creating colonies

What was the name of one of the Dutch settlements?
New Netherland

What religion did the French want to convert the Native Indians too?

What is the current name of the Northeastern area of America that the Dutch settled in with trading forts?
New York

What personal relationships did the Dutch and French rely on to increase their alignments with the Native Indian tribes?
Intermarrying with tribe members

Dutch settlements often had what other groups of people in them?
Huguenots, French, and German