What happened to the French colonists in the US. ? (kbin.social)

Something stunning when travelling to the US is the number of cities called some something Ville, Nashville, Jacksonville and all the small ville you’ll see when going at a random place on google maps, let alone a state called “vert mont” which can’t sounds more french.

So there is definitely evidence for a significant french influence in former Louisiana. However, the french-influence seems very diluted in modern US, especially when looking at the cliché regarding American pretending to be Irisish/Italian because of one ancestor from that country. Moreover, US isn’t really famous for their wine/bread/cheese

So i am curious to learn how these colonist merged with the anglo-saxon and what’s left of their heritage in modern US .


You could also read up on (or just check the Wikipedia page for) "Nouvelle France;" there's a section on the settlers. All around the Great Lakes and all the way down to the Gulf were French settlements, and the names are largely still there, just weirdly Anglicized. In Arkansas, "La Petit Roche" is Little Rock, there's a mountain called Petit Jean that's pronounced "Petty Gene," and (my favorite) "Aux Arcs" became "Ozarks." The French influence is still everywhere in the Louisiana Purchase area, it's just misspelled, mispronounced, or we've forgotten it was once French. It blended right in.

@MoonshineDegreaser@lemmy.world avatar

There’s still people in Louisiana that speak French. Also Louisiana doesn’t have counties. It had parishes. I think Louisiana is the closest remainder to the French colonies


The ones that went to Canada became "Acadiens", and the ones who went to Lousiana became "Cajuns". Similar names, right?


It's the same name! Some of the Acadians that were expelled by the British went to Louisiana.


Isn’t that where Creole and Cajun people came from?

@pinwurm@lemmy.world avatar

In some cases, they never went away. In New England - especially northern parts of Maine and New Hampshire, there are communities that are plurality Francophone, and have been Americans for generations. 

I think one thing that people often don’t understand is that American English is highly influenced by the French language - accounting for 30% of all words. Words like Lieutenant are pronounced differently in British and American because of the French influence. Or the word “herb” - Americans don’t pronounce the H just like the French.

As far as cultural things, of course the US is known for its wine. Napa Valley is one of the best wine regions in the world. Those wines consistently beat French and Italian wines in international competitions. Finger Lakes, as well. American cheeses like cheddar are very popular. There are entire states known for this, like Vermont and Wisconsin. I think in terms of bread, you see more influence from Italian and German breadbakers then French.

That said, French influence is just one of many patches on the rich tapestry that is America. It was impactful, but the influence was definitely overshadowed by groups like Irish, Italian, Polish, Chinese, and African Slaves - whose descendants have created our greatest modern cultural exports.

@Toadvark@mander.xyz avatar

You may enjoy reading about this linguistic offshoot, Missouri French!


“C’est bon d’vous dzire eune fouès c’étaient ein vieux rouè pis eune vieille reine. ‘L ontvaient eune fille qu’était mariée et qui I’avait ein mouèyen p’tsit garçon. Pis dans c’te ville-là, ‘I avait ein homme qui s’app’lait Som’pson. l’ restait dans I’bois, lui. I’avait pas d’dzifférence quoi ‘rouè faisait, i’ l’détruisait, lui, i’ l’démanchait. L’rouè avait fait perdre ein tas des hommes pour essayer d’faire détruire Sam’son. II a offert eune bonne somme d’argent pour n’importe qui y’aurait donné ein avis pour attraper Sam’son.”

I can really hear the old-farmer accent here. Looks like another wikipedia rabithole to be stuck in


The French came not to settle but to make money. So many of the cities you name exist around French trading posts, but the French who lived there went back home as settlers from other countries moved in. The French did settle Louisiana and other places named elsewhere, but for many of them the goal wasn't to settle.

@lasagna@programming.dev avatar

That’s around the time the French invented baguettes. They just had other priorities.

@PlaidBaron@lemmy.world avatar

New England has a decently strong Acadian presence. But Acadians dont typically think of themselves as French, per se. They think of themselves as Acadian. The French influence is recognized of course, but its a different way of looking at ancestry.

chuso avatar

It's interesting that you say that while using a French word like "cliché". Maybe it was intentional from you? :-D
And maybe reducing not having a strong French influence to not having a wine/bread/cheese culture is, you know, reductionist?


It is notable though that you have lots of Americans which claim Italian, German, Irish etc. descent, but in comparison basically nobody outside of Louisiana claims French descent.

@AppaYipYip@lemmy.world avatar

I think someone said it above but that’s probably because there were less French immigrants in the 19th century compared to Italian, German, and Irish. Italy and Ireland had famines and Germany had a revolution in the 19th century which led to lots of immigrants to the US. Many (maybe most) French immigrants were much earlier which may have led to decendents feeling fully American versus calling upon a more recent immigrant identity.

Anecdotally, I know a guy of French descent whose family had settled an area (forget where now) before the US existed. They chose to join the US (voted for their state to join the union) and felt fully American. It’s possible that many more older French settlers felt the same.

BaldProphet avatar

You're overthinking it. Yes, we have immigrants from just about everywhere, but not every French-sounding city was founded by Francophones. Especially in the 19th century, non-English place names added a hint of poshness, because Americans of the time considered Europe to be the cultural center of the world.

Louisiana and northern Idaho being exceptions.


There are plenty of French-sounding place names that are due to francophones, e.g., Vermont was part of New France… but most “ville” suffixed towns have nothing to do with Frsnce, to your point.

In fact I think you’d be hard pressed to find 19th century Americans (or 21st, for that matter) that recognized ville as a particularly French suffix at all.

BaldProphet avatar

Yeah, I think it just sounded foreign and exotic to them.


I think it may have been more deliberately pro-French, since it only started after the Revolutionary War (e.g., Louisville was named for King Louis XVI in 1780 specifically in thanks, which may have created a bit of a template).

BaldProphet avatar

Oh, hey, that makes a lot of sense.


Yeah, even though I know it's French inspired, in practice it's no different than the -ton suffix, or -berry/-bury, -boro, -burg, or adding "City" at the end.


There’s a Wikipedia article on French Americans, including colonial-era migrations, exchange with Canada, later arrivals (lots of French immigrants to California during the Gold Rush, for instance), etc.

Franco-Americans are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups and are relatively uncommon when compared to the size of France’s population, or to the numbers of German, Italian, or English Americans. This is partly due to the tendency of Franco-American groups to identify more closely with North American regional identities such as French Canadian, Acadian, Brayon, Louisiana French (Cajun, Creole) than as a coherent group, but also because emigration from France during the 19th century was low compared to the rest of Europe. Consequently, there is less of a unified French American identity as with other European American ethnic groups, and French descent is highly concentrated in Louisiana and New England. Nevertheless, the French presence has had an outsized impact on American toponyms.


the tendency of Franco-American groups to identify more closely with North American regional identities such as French Canadian, Acadian, Brayon, Louisiana French (Cajun, Creole) than as a coherent group

That’s a pretty french attitude, and still what France expect from immigrant, like you’ve been in the country from 10 years, forget about where your from and claim an identity from Bordeaux, Brittany or Marseille, also don’t forget to hate Paris

@MaxVoltage@lemmy.world avatar

I think it’s funny that Quebec is right there and yet their French people are so tame compared to the French people coming here from Congo


The word you want to Google for is Cajun. That and the Louisiana Purchase.

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