Mississippi History Now Mississippi Historical SocietySite ToolsSponsorsEditorial Advisory Staff
Back Home Lesson Plan

A Failed Enterprise: the French Colonial Period in Mississippi


French colonization of present-day Mississippi dates back to 1699. As a result of the French and Indian War, the French lost control of the region in 1764. Today, French influence in Mississippi is still evident through place names, foods, and cultural traditions such as Mardi Gras. The French played a major role in the development of culture in Mississippi.

Curricular Connections

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies: 1, 3, and 4.

Teaching Level

Grades 7 through 12


  • Mississippi History Now article, “A Failed Enterprise: the French Colonial Period in Mississippi”
  • Chalk/chalkboard
  • Overhead projector/pen
  • Notebook paper
  • Computer (optional)


The students will:

  • Identify the following terms: Louisiana, La Salle, Fort Maurepas, d’Iberville, Natchez, Fort Rosalie, Code Noir, Bienville, cassette girls, The French and Indian War, Spain.
  • Determine the cause and effect of historical events.
  • Compose a journal entry for a specific historical figure.

Opening the Lesson

The teacher will remind the students that the United States is a culturally diverse country. The teacher will ask students the following questions about cultural diversity in the United States. The teacher can record the responses on an overhead transparency or a chalkboard.

  • Which cultural groups settled in what is now the state of Mississippi?
  • How do you know these groups settled in Mississippi?

The teacher will tell the students that they are going to spend the next few days studying the French colonization of Mississippi.

Developing the Lesson

The teacher will have the students read the Mississippi History Now article, “A Failed Enterprise: The French Colonial Period in Mississippi.” As students read the article they should identify the terms listed below. Students should write three sentences about the significance of the terms. The students can work alone or with a partner on this portion of the lesson. Students can also be assigned this activity as homework with the class discussion held on the next day of class.

a. Louisiana
b. La Salle
c. Fort Maurepas
d. d’Iberville
e. Natchez
f. Fort Rosalie
g. Code Noir
h. Bienville
j. The French and Indian War
i. Cassette girls
k. Spain

After the students complete their identification of the terms listed above, the teacher will ask for student volunteers to share their answers during a class discussion of the Mississippi History Now article.

For this portion of the lesson, each student will be asked to write a journal entry for one of the following historical characters.

  • Iberville
  • Biloxi Indian
  • Member of Iberville’s expedition
  • French solider at the attack on Fort Rosalie
  • Bienville
  • Natchez Indian
  • Cassette girl
  • Chickasaw Indian

Concluding the Lesson

Allow volunteers to read their journal entries to the class.

Assessment of Student Learning

Class participation
Journal entries

Extending the Lesson

  • Allow students to research people listed in the Mississippi History Now article who played a part in the French colonization of Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • Create a map that shows the locations significant to the French colonization of North America.
  • Create a timeline of significant events in the development of French Louisiana.
  • Take a field trip to Fort Rosalie (Natchez) and/or Fort Maurepas Park (Ocean Springs).
Back Home Back to Top Return to Feature

Mississippi Historical Society © 2000–2017. All rights reserved.