Immigrants from France were the first Europeans to permanently settle in what is now Canadian territory. The French practiced cod fishing in Newfoundland’s fish-rich waters, and the fur trade in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Valley with the Indigenous populations, which facilitated settlement in those regions. The French descendants quickly named themselves Acadians and Canadians, to distinguish themselves from the French from France. They first lived in the Maritime Provinces. They then settled in the St. Lawrence Valley, but quickly spread out in small groups into the Great Lakes region, the Prairies, and all along the Mississippi Valley, down to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1763, the French colonies passed into the hands of the British.