History and General Description of New France with the Historical Journal of a Voyage in North America Made by Order of the King


Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France avec le Journal historique d'un voyage fait par ordre du roi dans l'Amérique septentrionnale (History and general description of New France with the historical journal of a voyage in North America made by order of the king) is the first general account of French settlements in North America, written by Jesuit priest Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix (1682−1761) and published in Paris in 1744. Charlevoix’s account relies in part on his own knowledge, which he gained while staying in New France on two occasions: from 1705 to 1709 when he taught grammar at the Collège des Jésuites de Québec (Jesuit College of Quebec), and from 1720 to 1722 when he traveled from the Saint Lawrence Valley to New Orleans, gathering data on the then-rumored Western Sea. The first two tomes are a meticulous account of the political, military and diplomatic events affecting Acadia, Canada, and Louisiana. Volume one (books 1 to 12) starts with the first discoveries and attempts at colonization in the 16th century and ends with the Iroquois wars of the 1680s. Volume two (books 13 to 22) covers the period between 1680 and 1731. The third volume is an account of Charlevoix’s expedition of 1720−22. A map of North America by Jacques Bellin (1703−72) showing the route of Charlevoix’s voyage appears before the start of the main text, after a detailed, 19-page set of remarks by Bellin on the geography of North America and the table of contents. Bellin was a prolific cartographer attached to the French Marine Office, whose maps and sea atlases reflect the careful mapping of bays, seas, and harbors that characterized 18th-century French naval cartography. The map was also published separately by Bellin.

Date Created

Publication Information

Pierre-François Giffart, Paris


Title in Original Language

Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France avec Le Journal Historique d'un Voyage fait par ordre du Roi dans l'Amérique Septentrionnal

Type of Item

Physical Description

3 volumes (volume 1: 664 pages; volume 2: 638 pages; volume 3: 543 pages)


  1. David M. Hayne, “Charlevoix, Pierre-François-Xavier de,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, volume 3 (Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003– ). http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/charlevoix_pierre_francois_xavier_de_3E.html.

Last updated: November 20, 2015