This chapter examines the development of the different colonies in the French Americas and overviews the changes in governance and economy that took place within them from the early seventeenth through the late eighteenth centuries. The colony of New France evolved primarily through relationships between French settlers and missionaries and Native Americans into a society based less on large-scale settlement than on the fur trade. Native American and African resistance contributed to the stalling of Louisiana's economic development. The chapter explores the evolution of legal administrative structures and the social order in the colonies, with a particular focus on slave life in the Caribbean colonies. The French Revolution provided an opening for the enslaved of the Caribbean by destabilizing the local administration and inciting conflicts among whites and between whites and free people of color in the colonies. The chapter concludes with a few broad comparisons between the French Americas and the other slave-holding empires in the region.