Flag of France (Myomi Republic)

French Tricolour, the flag of France since the 1789 Revolution

The French colonial empire (French: Empire colonial français) was a colonial empire that constituted of the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule. In rivalry with England (and later Great Britain), France began to establish colonies in North America, the Caribbean, and Indian subcontinent, following the Spanish and Portuguese successes during the Age of Discovery. A distinction is generally made between the "first colonial empire", that existed until 1814 and by which time most of it had been lost, and the "second colonial empire", which began with the conquest of Algier in 1830 and came to an end with the granting of independence to Algeria in 1962. By 1900, it had become the world's second-largest colonial empire, albeit far behind the British Empire both in terms of population and size.

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