[Version française]

About the Project

Conceived in partnership with the Library of Congress - the great library of Washington - La France en Amérique/France in America is a bilingual digital library made available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the 16th Century to the end of the 19th Century.

Through direct digital access to complete books, maps, prints, and other documents from the collections of the partner libraries, the project illuminates two major themes in the history of relations between France and the United States: the major role played by France in the exploration and settlement of the continent and its participation in several events which indelibly marked the history of the United States: the Seven Years War, the American Revolution, and the cession of Louisiana. The site will be completed in fall 2006 with a panorama of economic, scientific, literary and artistic exchanges between the two nations in the course of the 19th Century.

The missions of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Library of Congress are to make their resources available to ever growing numbers of people and to preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. La France en Amérique / France in America is the newest addition to Gallica, the Bibliothèque nationale de France's digital library. With some 76 thousand digitized texts and 80 thousand images to date, Gallica offers the online public an encyclopedic reference collection as well as sites dedicated to particular themes. The companion site at the Library of Congress is part of the Global Gateway project, whose mission is to establish cooperative digital libraries with national libraries from around the world.

The digital library La France en Amérique / France in America grew out of discussions between Dr. Jean-Noël Jeanneney, President of BibliothPque Nationale de France, and Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, on the occasion of Dr. Jeanneney's visit to Washington in November 2002. Following extensive discussions between the two partners, an agreement was concluded in May 2004, and reaffirmed on the occasion of the visit of Dr. Billington and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress to Paris in October of that year.

This digital collection takes its place alongside two other websites brought online since 2003 dedicated to the shared history of France and North America: La Louisiane française, 1682-1803 (http://www.louisiane.culture.fr), produced by the Ministry of Culture as part of the "National Celebrations" collection; and the French-Canadian site Nouvelle-France, horizons nouveau (http://www.archivescanadafrance.org), undertaken by the initiative of the Direction des archives de France, the Library and Archives Canada, and the Canadian Embassy in Paris.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Library of Congress present these documents as part of the record of the past. These historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The two libraries do not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.