Antarctic France Timeline: a French Southern Cone in America.

I am going to make a chronology where France, in the 16th century, settled in the OTL bay of Porto Alegre, managed to conquer over the centuries the whole of the Southern Cone from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and made the Southern Cone a great world power! Sorry if I make mistakes in English in my text, it is not my mother tongue (you can guess my nationality...).
 
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Part I: The French expedition to the New World.

16th century. Francis I, during his reign, had blamed the Spanish and Portuguese for having shared the New World, at the Treaty of Tordesillas, without leaving any crumbs to the other European countries. The French king also wanted his share of the cake. At the same time, in the kingdom of France, tensions between Protestants and Catholics were becoming more and more acute year after year...

In 1554, the sailor Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon, then commander of the military order of St. John of Jerusalem, decided to explore the southern part of the Brazilian coast with a view to establishing a French military base, that can be used as a colonial relay so that the French Crown could control trade in the New World and thus compete with the Spanish and Portuguese.

The expedition left Le Havre on 14 August 1555. The two ships heading for the New World were overloaded with nearly 600 men, who were to form the core of the settlement. These men were of dubious origin, many of them were former prisoners whom Villegagnon had freed for his colonial enterprise, these men were seeking freedom in the New World at the risk of their lives.

The crossing was most trying: the men were dropping like flies because of the overcrowding, which caused violence and epidemics. In September 1555, on the outskirts of the Canary Islands, the two ships were even bombarded by the artillery of a Spanish garrison in the archipelago. At the beginning of November 1555, when the two ships were close to the Brazilian coast, a violent storm broke out and the convoy was diverted even further south towards completely unknown lands.

On 2 December 1555, after several weeks of storm, the ships finally made landfall. Villegagnon realised that he had just landed on a barrier beach behind which was a huge lagoon, accessible via a mouth at the end of the beach. The site was perfect: the lagoon formed a natural barrier against any new storm, so a good port could be built on the edge of the lagoon. The lagoon was, inexplicably, populated by countless ducks that had obviously been left there, abandoned. Villegagnon therefore gave the lagoon the name "la Lagune des canards".
 
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Part II: The small colony in the wilderness.

Villegagnon quickly realised one thing: there was no trace of any Portuguese presence on the horizon, the region was clearly outside the Portuguese colonial domain (as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas), so Villegagnon and his expedition had just landed in a totally wild land.

The region was populated by various indigenous tribes, such as the Charruas, Minuanos and Caaguaras, who were particularly formidable in attack with their highly effective throwing weapons. Nevertheless, Villegagnon managed to establish relatively cordial relations with the natives to ensure the survival of his future colony. Within three months, with the help of a few natives who came as reinforcements, a military fortress was built on the edge of the Lagune des Canards.

But the colony's beginnings were difficult: the mortality rate was high and the colonists had a certain tendency to be insubordinate and even to rebel against the authority of a Villegagnon who was sometimes very rough with his men. The colony also quickly ran out of skilled workers and, above all, women. After a few months, Villegagnon asked the King of France to send several hundred women to be married, as well as workers to build the infrastructure and more soldiers to defend the colony, which Henry II accepted. After the arrival of the women and labourers, a brick village was built inland in late 1556, named "Henriville" in honour of the French king. The colony grew quite rapidly, but its eccentricity on the edge of the New World's southern lands made trade quite difficult.

There were rumours that a Spanish colony even further south had been established twenty years earlier on what was said to be a huge river estuary linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but it was abandoned because of Native American attacks.
 
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Part III: The arrival of the first Huguenots.

Villegagnon was a man of letters and was not averse to new religious ideas. He welcomed some Calvinist pastors to his colony. As a humanist he even proposed to make his colony in the New World a refuge for persecuted Huguenots. So the Calvinists organised the sending of 300 Huguenots to Villegagnon's colony. The refugees were particularly unwell when they arrived in the spring of 1557 in Henriville, but Villegagnon welcomed them with affability and they quickly integrated into the colony. This gave a boost to the colony, which was now populated by nearly 1,500 souls, but the Protestant bomb eventually exploded in Villegagnon's hands: Villegagnon was still a staunch Catholic and eventually became angry with the Calvinist pastors, whom he deemed heretical, and sent them back to Europe. In 1559, he also had to travel to the French court to justify himself against those who accused him of heresy. Villegagnon was then forced to divide Henriville into two separate districts, one for Catholics and one for Calvinists.

Villegagnon died of old age in his colony in 1571, while at the same time France was embroiled in a civil war between Protestants and Catholics. Sent by Gaspard de Coligny, the main representative of the Huguenots in France, large numbers of Huguenots arrived each year to seek refuge in the colony.

Villegagnon's nephew, Lord Legendre de Boissy, succeeded him as head of the colony after his death. Although a Catholic, Legendre de Boissy, having managed the transport of the 300 Huguenots to the colony in 1557, still welcomed new Calvinist settlers who arrived regularly. The colony soon passed the 5,000 people, the port of Henriville in the Lagune des Canards became an important naval base in the New World, and outlying villages began to spring up along the lagoon.

On 24 August 1574, St. Bartholomew's Day, the Wars of Religion in France degenerated into a terrible massacre in Paris that took the lives of nearly 10,000 Huguenots. The point of no return was reached. The troubles also reached the colony, but the Huguenot colonists, who had become the majority, forced Legendre de Boissy to adopt a policy of conciliation between Catholics and Protestants in the colony and a position of neutrality in the face of the events unfolding in France.

The rupture was consummated between the royal court and the young colony: for nearly 25 years, the colony had a quasi-independence and Legendre de Boissy, although excommunicated, took the opportunity to proclaim himself "viceroy" of Antarctic France in the New World. Meanwhile, waves of Huguenot refugees continued to arrive in the colony from the Netherlands and England. Things were soon put right with the accession of the ex-Protestant Henry IV to the French throne and the Edict of Nantes of 1598. Things had become clear: in order to pacify the kingdom of France, Antarctic France was to become a "dumping ground" of Huguenots. By the end of the 16th century, the colony had grown to 12,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of whom were Protestants.
 
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Part IV: The beginning of a prosperity.

The colony's stewards soon had to face the fact that, unlike the rich Spanish Empire, the subsoil of Antarctic France was clearly not rich in any interesting minerals, neither gold nor silver. The only wealth of Antarctic France was in its land.

During the first years of the colony, the economy of Antarctic France was based on subsistence agriculture on, nevertheless, very fertile land. But things soon changed: in the early 1570s, a Protestant merchant arrived in the colony. He had bought a new cereal from the Maghreb, not well known in Europe. This cereal could only be cultivated in a very humid environment, and the Lagon des canards, the delta and the adjacent rivers were perfectly adapted to the cultivation of this new cereal: this is how rice growing was born in Antarctic France.

During its period of quasi-independence, the colony had become closer to the Protestant European countries: as rice became more and more popular in the Old World, English and Dutch traders sold the rice from Antarctic France in Europe. The colony was thus able to purchase firearms and gunpowder to defend itself against external aggression, which were carried in the holds of the ships that also transported the Huguenot refugees.

The colony had acquired a mentality of self-reliance and self-defence, which was to have a profound effect on the society of Antarctic France for centuries to come. On 16 August 1586, the day after the Assumption, Portuguese invaders tried to take control of the colony: men, women, children and many natives went to defend the colony, and the invaders were driven back into the sea. August 16 became a day of celebration for the colony, and later a national holiday.
 
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Part IV: The beginning of a prosperity.

The colony's stewards soon had to face the fact that, unlike the rich Spanish Empire, the subsoil of Antarctic France was clearly not rich in any interesting minerals, neither gold nor silver. The only wealth of Antarctic France was in its land.

During the first years of the colony, the economy of Antarctic France was based on subsistence agriculture on, nevertheless, very fertile land. But things soon changed: in the early 1570s, a Protestant merchant arrived in the colony. He had bought a new cereal from the Maghreb, almost unknown in Europe. This cereal could only be cultivated in a very humid environment, and the Duck Lagoon, the delta and the adjacent rivers were perfectly adapted to the cultivation of this new cereal: this is how rice growing was born in Antarctic France.

During its period of quasi-independence, the colony had become closer to the Protestant European countries: as rice became more and more popular in the Old World, English and Dutch traders sold the rice from Antarctic France in Europe. The colony was thus able to purchase firearms and gunpowder to defend itself against external aggression, which were carried in the holds of the ships that also transported the Huguenot refugees.

The colony had acquired a mentality of self-reliance and self-defence, which was to have a profound effect on the society of Antarctic France for centuries to come. On 16 August 1586, the day after the Assumption, Portuguese invaders tried to take control of the colony: men, women, children and many natives went to defend the colony, and the invaders were driven back into the sea. August 16 became a day of celebration for the colony, and later a national holiday.
Isn't rice grown in Northern Italy?
 
Isn't rice grown in Northern Italy?
I looked and indeed rice is cultivated in northern Italy since the 15th century. Nevertheless, it was still a marginal culture in the 16th century. For example, it was not until the 1590s that the French royal court recognised officially the existence of rice cultivation in Europe.
 
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Part V: early 16th century, the expansion of Antarctic France.

In the early days of the colony, relations were relatively friendly between the Amerindians and the Catholic settlers, who hoped to cooperate with them and evangelise them to Catholicism, but relations deteriorated very quickly with the arrival of the Calvinist settlers: while many Catholic settlers had opened up to miscegenation by marrying Amerindian women, the Calvinists were very hostile towards the "Stranger". They mixed little, even with the Catholic settlers, and lived in very closed and almost autarkic religious communities. Some of these communities were real sects.

While the Catholic settlers mostly stayed around the Lagune des canards, which thrived on rice cultivation, many Huguenot settlers began to spread to new territories in the southern lands of the New World. They built new villages and did not hesitate to persecute the local Amerindians in order to drive them out.

By the early 16th century, French coastal settlements were beginning to spring up on the north bank of the estuary of a river called the "fleuve de l'Argent", while on the south bank of the estuary was the Spanish colony of Buenos Aires, which had been refounded in 1580. Antarctic France had also reached the limits of the Portuguese colonial domain after having founded a fortress on the island of Sainte-Catherine in the 1610s. France had now become the greatest rival of the Portuguese and Spanish for the colonisation of the New World. By the 1617 census, there were nearly 20,000 inhabitants in Henriville and 5,000 settlers in the rest of Antarctic France.
 
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Part VI: Tobacco growing.

Tobacco is originally an amerindian medicinal plant, discovered by Europeans at the end of the 15th century and quickly diverted to recreational use. By the mid-16th century, tobacco knew already a major craze in the European royal courts. In the early 17th century, tobacco plantations began to proliferate in the New World, such as in Virginia where the first plantation was established in 1612.

The warm and humid climate of Antarctic France was perfectly suited to the cultivation of this plant: Huguenot merchants soon brought back tobacco seeds and, in the early 1620s, the first tobacco plantations in Antarctic France were established along the Itajaï-Assou River. In 1626, when the triangular trade had just begun, the French royal court authorised the deportation of slaves to the colonies. The first blacks arrived in Antarctic France to work on tobacco plantations...
 
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Doing a bit of quick math, if the population of France Antarctique grows at a pace of 2.5% annually (as temperate settler colonies often do), the 25,000 colonists in 1617 would grow to 2.293 Million by 1800 with no continued immigration. At a more modest 2% clip, it would reach 937,000 by 1800. Either way, French South America is going to be huge, assuming it doesn't implode because of religious tension.
Also, not that this will be a good thing, but I wonder when the peculiar institution is going to make its appearance in France Antarctique. Considering that the region has a subtropical climate suitable for cash crops, it's pretty much inevitable IMO.
EDIT: You ninja'd me on the slavery question.
 
Doing a bit of quick math, if the population of France Antarctique grows at a pace of 2.5% annually (as temperate settler colonies often do), the 25,000 colonists in 1617 would grow to 2.293 Million by 1800 with no continued immigration. At a more modest 2% clip, it would reach 937,000 by 1800. Either way, French South America is going to be huge, assuming it doesn't implode because of religious tension.
Also, not that this will be a good thing, but I wonder when the peculiar institution is going to make its appearance in France Antarctique. Considering that the region has a subtropical climate suitable for cash crops, it's pretty much inevitable IMO.
EDIT: You ninja'd me on the slavery question.
Spoiler: 70,000 Huguenots will leave for Antarctic France in 1685! Antarctic France will be VERY big, the Thirteen Colonies will face serious competition.
 
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So, Antarctic France will be mostly Protestant.
Yes, that's why I realise that Antarctic France will surely not be a Latin country like the others in South America, but certainly an USA-like country that speaks French and is located in the Southern Cone.
 
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Yes, that's why I realise that Antarctic France will surely not be a Latin country like the others in South America, but certainly an USA-like country that speaks French and is located in the Southern Cone.
Just because it's French speaking and Protestant doesn't mean it won't end up like it's neighbors.
 
while many Catholic settlers had opened up to miscegenation by marrying Amerindian women, the Calvinists were very hostile towards the "Stranger". They mixed little, even with the Catholic settlers, and lived in very closed and almost autarkic religious communities. Some of these communities were real sects.
I don't see why Calvinists would have any issue with mixing with the Amerindians compared to Catholics
 
absolute banger timeline. i give you the offical jewish kenya award for making an oft-discuss concept into a well-written proper timeline
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I don't see why Calvinists would have any issue with mixing with the Amerindians compared to Catholics
The Dutch mixed with the Khoisan, Bantus and Malays in South Africa to create the Cape Coloureds, so I think the French Huguenots would still intermix with Amerindians and Africans. They might start proselytizing to the natives in competition with the Catholics.
 
The Dutch mixed with the Khoisan, Bantus and Malays in South Africa to create the Cape Coloureds, so I think the French Huguenots would still intermix with Amerindians and Africans. They might start proselytizing to the natives in competition with the Catholics.
Unlikely.

South Africa was really a peculiar society where the settlers and the natives had a very close economic relationship, because there were so many black people and the South African settlers were very few. So the settlers were forced to integrate the blacks into their colonial system and structure a society where the whites were at the top and the blacks were at the bottom as servants. This promiscuity has encouraged miscegenation even though it was very much frowned upon by the Afrikaner population.

There was never such a close relationship between Native Americans and whites in the Protestant settlement colonies of the New World. Whites quickly flooded the New World demographically and the Native Americans, quickly outnumbered, were ostracised. Miscegenation was the norm among Catholic settlers in the New World but not among Protestant settlers.
 
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