Habitation at Port-Royal
|Port-Royal National Historic Site|
The entrance into the replica of the Habitation at Port-Royal at the Port-Royal National Historic Site.
|Location||On the north bank of the Annapolis River at its discharge point into Annapolis Basin. Located in the community of Port Royal, Nova Scotia, approximately 0.5 km (0.31 mi) east of Schafners Point and 1 km (0.62 mi) north of Goat Island.|
|Area||1 hectare (2.5 acres)|
|Official name: Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada|
|Designated:||May 25, 1923|
The Port-Royal National Historic Site is a National Historic Site of Canada located on the north bank of the Annapolis River in the community of Port Royal,12 Nova Scotia. This National Historic Site is the location of the Habitation at Port-Royal.
The Habitation at Port-Royal was established by France in 1605 and was that nation's first successful settlement in North America. Port-Royal served as the capital of Acadia until its destruction by British military forces in 1613. France relocated the settlement and capital 8 km (5.0 mi) upstream and to the south bank of the Annapolis River; the site of the present-day town of Annapolis Royal.
The relocated settlement kept the same name "Port-Royal" and served as the capital of Acadia for the majority of the 17th century until the British conquest of the colony in 1710, at which time the (relocated) settlement was renamed to Annapolis Royal.3
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Nova Scotia|
|History of Canada portal|
On May 25, 1925, the Government of Canada's Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized the original Habitation at Port-Royal in the community of Port Royal, Nova Scotia for its heritage significance, and the Minister of the Interior granted the designation of the Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada.4
In the 1930s the site of the original Habitation was located in the community and the results of archeological excavations fed public interest in the period of the original French settlement. This interest had been increasing since the publication of Quietly My Captain Waits, an historical novel by Evelyn Eaton set in Port-Royal in the early 17th century.
In the early 1900s, chiefly under the leadership of Harriet Taber Richardson, native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and summer resident of the nearby town of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotian preservationists and historians began lobbying the Government of Canada to build a replica of the Habitation which stood from 1605 until its destruction in 1613.
The government agreed, after much persuasion, to have the replica built on the original site. Construction took place from 1939-1941 and was based on a duplicate set of plans for the original Habitation that had been recently discovered in France. This reconstruction was the first National Historic Site in Canada to have a replica structure built.
Today, this replica serves as the cornerstone of the Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada, and coupled with the nearby Fort Anne National Historic Site in Annapolis Royal, continues to commemorate this important historic region for Canadians and visitors. Today, the replica of the Habitation is considered a milestone in the Canadian heritage movement. Open to the public and staffed by historical interpreters in period costumes, it is a major tourist attraction. Costumed interpreters provide demonstrations of such historic early 17th century activities as farming, building, cooking, fur trading and Mi'kmaq life.
Port-Royal was founded after the French nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts spent a disastrous winter in Île-Saint-Croix.5 He was accompanied by Samuel de Champlain, Louis Hébert and Sieur de Poutrincourt. They decided to move their settlement to the north shore of present-day Annapolis Basin, a sheltered bay on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy which had been recorded by Champlain earlier in the spring of 1605 during a coastal reconnaissance.5 Champlain would note in his journals, that the bay was of impressive size; he believed it an adequate anchorage for several hundred ships of the French Royal Fleet, if ever necessary. As such, he would name the basin "Port-Royal", the Royal Port; this was, for many years, the name of both the body of water, and the subsequent French and Acadian settlements in that region.6 Poutrincourt asked King Henri IV to become the owner of the Seigneurie which encompassed the settlement.
Nestled against the North Mountain range, they set about constructing a log stockade fortification called a "Habitation." With assistance from members of the Mi'kmaq Nation and a local chief named Membertou, coupled with the more temperate climate of the fertile Annapolis Valley, the settlement prospered.
Mindful of the disastrous winter of 1603-1604 at the Île-Saint-Croix settlement, Champlain established l'Ordre de Bon Temps (the Order of Good Cheer) as a social club ostensibly to promote better nutrition and to get settlers through the winter of 1606-1607. Supper every few days became a feast with a festive air supplemented by performances and alcohol and was primarily attended by the prominent men of the colony and their Mi'kmaq neighbours while the Mi'kmaq women, children, and poorer settlers looked on and were offered scraps. Marc Lescarbot's "The Theatre of Neptune in New France", the first work of theater written and performed in North America, was performed on November 14, 1606. It was arguably the catalyst for the Order of Good Cheer.
Unfortunately in 1607, Dugua had his fur trade monopoly revoked by the Government of France, forcing settlers to return to France that fall.5 The Habitation was left in the care of Membertou and the local Mi'kmaq until 1610 when Sieur de Poutrincourt, another French nobleman, returned with a small expedition to Port-Royal.6 Poutrincourt converted Membertou and local Mi'kmaq to Catholicism, hoping to gain financial assistance from the government. As a result, Jesuits became financial partners with Poutrincourt, although this caused division within the community.
In May, 1613 the Jesuits moved on to the Penobscot River valley and in July, the settlement was attacked by Samuel Argall of Virginia. Argall returned in November that same year and burned the Habitation to the ground while settlers were away nearby. Poutrincourt returned from France in spring 1614 to find Port-Royal in ruins and settlers living with the Mi'kmaq. Poutrincourt then gave his holdings to his son and returned to France. Poutrincourt's son bequeathed the settlement to Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour upon his own death in 1623.
Port-Royal was the capital of Acadia from 1605 to 1710. Initially Port-Royal was located on the north shore of the Annapolis Basin in the present-day community of Port Royal (note the Anglophone spelling), which is the site of the replica reconstruction of the original Habitation at Port-Royal. After its destruction by raiders from Virginia in 1613, Port-Royal was re-established on the south bank of the river 8 km (5.0 mi) upstream. The British renamed Port-Royal at this new location as Annapolis Royal following their conquest of Acadia in 1710.
Port-Royal was founded by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons and Samuel de Champlain in 1605. The settlement was the first permanent European settlement north of St. Augustine, Florida. (Two years later, the English made their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia.) Approximately seventy-five years after Port-Royal was founded, Acadians spread out from the capital to found the other major Acadian settlements established before the Expulsion of the Acadians: Grand Pré, Chignecto, Cobequid and Pisiguit.
In the 150 years prior to the founding of Halifax in 1749, Port-Royal/Annapolis Royal was the capital of Acadia and later Nova Scotia for most decades.7 During that time the British made six attempts to conquer Acadia by attacking the capital at Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. They finally defeated the French in 1710 following the Siege of Port-Royal. Over the following fifty years, the French and their allies made six unsuccessful military attempts to regain the capital. Including a raid by Americans in the American Revolution, Port-Royal (at present-day Annapolis Royal) faced a total of thirteen attacks, more than any other place in North America.8
Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts built the Habitation at Port-Royal in 1605 as a replacement for his initial attempt at colonizing Saint Croix Island in the Saint Croix River on the boundary between present-day Maine and New Brunswick.9 The trading monopoly of de Monts was cancelled in 1607, and most of the French settlers returned to France, although some remained with the natives. Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just led a second expedition to Port-Royal in 1610.10
Port-Royal was the site of a number of North American firsts: the first resident surgeon; first continuing church services; first social club (named the "Order of Good Cheer"); creation of the first library; first French theatrical performance (titled Neptune); first apothecary; and first weekly Bible class.11 The author of Neptune, Marc Lescarbot, wrote a popular history of his time in New France, entitled Histoire de la Nouvelle-France (1609).12
Almost ten years later, the Admiral of Virginia Samuel Argall led an English invasion force from Virginia to attack Acadia. He began with the Saint-Saveur mission (Mount Desert Island, Maine) and then St. Croix Island. In October 1613, Argall surprised the settlers at Port-Royal and sacked every building.13 The battle destroyed the Habitation but it did not wipe out the colony. Biencourt and his men remained in the area of Port-Royal (present day Port Royal, Nova Scotia). A mill upstream at present day Lequille, Nova Scotia remained, along with settlers who went into hiding during the battle.14 (At this time, future Governor Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour migrated from Port-Royal to establish himself at both Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) and Saint John, New Brunswick.}
During the Anglo-French War (1627–1629), under Charles I, by 1629 the Kirkes took Quebec City, Lord Ochiltree (Sir James Stewart of Killeith) planted a colony on Cape Breton Island at Baleine, and William Alexander established the first incarnation of “New Scotland” at Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia). This set of British triumphs which left only Cape Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) as the only major French holding in North America was not destined to last.15
In 1621 King James I of England granted to Sir William Alexander all of Nova Scotia, which then included New Brunswick. On July 28, 1629, Sir William and seventy Scottish settlers were established at Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal). During this time there were few French inhabitants in the colony. In 1629, Sir William sent a ship and some settlers who built Charles Fort at Port-Royal, close to the site of Fort Anne (see Charles Fort - National Historic Site). In 1631, under the terms of the Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye, the colonists were ordered to abandon Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal) to the French. The official handover did not take place until late in 1632 and this gave Captain Andrew Forrester, commander of the then Scottish community the opportunity to cross the Bay of Fundy with twenty-five armed men and raid Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour's Fort Sainte-Marie at Saint John, New Brunswick.16
In 1633, protecting the boundary of Acadia, Charles de la Tour, the French commander of Acadia, made a descent upon Machias, Maine from his seat at Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal) killing two of its six defenders, and carrying the others away with their merchandise.17
In 1635, Governor of Acadia Charles de Menou d'Aulnay de Charnisay moved settlers from present day LaHave, Nova Scotia to Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal), and the Acadian people began to establish their roots. Under D'Aulnay, the Acadians built the first dykes in North America and cultivated the reclaimed salt marshes.18
During this time, Acadia was plunged into what some historians have described as a civil war; the two main centres were Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal), where d'Aulnay was stationed, and present-day Saint John, New Brunswick, where Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour was stationed.19
Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour arrived from present day Saint John, New Brunswick and attacked Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal) with two armed ships. D'Aulnay's captain was killed and La Tour and his men were taken prisoner.20 In response to the attack, D'Aulay sailed out of Port-Royal to establish a blockade of La Tour's fort at present day Saint John, New Brunswick.
In 1643, La Tour tried to capture Port-Royal again. La Tour arrived at Saint John from Boston with a fleet a five armed vessels and 270 men and broke the blockade. La Tour then chased d'Aulnay's vessels back across the Bay of Fundy to Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal). D'Aulnay resisted the attack, and seven of his men were wounded and three killed. La Tour did not attack the fort, which was defended by twenty soldiers. La Tour burned the mill, killed the livestock and seized furs, gunpowder and other supplies.21
d'Aulnay ultimately won the war against La Tour with the 1645 siege of present day Saint John, New Brunswick. After the siege, La Tour went to live in Quebec. After defeating La Tour at Saint John, from the capital Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal), d'Aulnay administered posts at LaHave, Nova Scotia; Pentagouet (Castine, Maine); Canso, Nova Scotia; Cap Sable (Port La Tour, Nova Scotia); the Saint John River (Bay of Fundy) and Miscou Island.22
After d'Aulnay died (1650), La Tour re-established himself in Acadia.
In 1654, Colonel Robert Sedgwick led a force to capture Port-Royal made up of one hundred New England volunteers and two hundred professional soldiers sent to New England by Oliver Cromwell, the first professional English soldiers sent to North America. Prior to the Battle, Sedgwick captured and plundered present day Castine, Maine and La Tour's fort at present day Saint John, New Brunswick. Sedgwick also took La Tour prisoner. The defenders of Port-Royal numbered only about 130. After resisting the English landings and defending the fort during a short siege, the outnumbered Acadians surrendered after negotiating terms that allowed French inhabitants who wished to remain to keep their property and religion.23 Soldiers and officials were given transport to France while the majority of Port-Royal residents remained unharmed. However in violation of the surrender terms, Sedgwick's men rampaged through the Port-Royal monastery, smashing windows, doors, paneling and even the floor boards before burning the monastery and the newly constructed Port Royal church. The English occupied Acadia for the next 16 years with a small garrison, leaving the Acadian residents mostly undisturbed.24
In 1667, Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal) was returned to France with the Treaty of Breda (1667). In a census taken in 1671 there were 361 Acadians in the Port-Royal area. Another census in the late 1680s shows 450 Acadians in the entire area of Port-Royal.25
During King William's War, Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal) served as a safe harbor for French cruisers and supply point for Wabanaki Confederacy to attack the New England colonies encroaching on the Acadian border in southern Maine.
The Battle of Port Royal (1690) began on May 9.26 Sir William Phips of New England arrived with 736 men in seven English ships. Governor de Meneval fought for two days and then capitulated. The garrison was imprisoned in the church and Governor de Meneval was confined to his house. The New Englanders levelled what was begun of the new fort.27 The residents of Port-Royal were imprisoned in the church and administered an oath of allegiance to the King.28
In response to assisting Pierre Maisonnat dit Baptiste, English frigates attacked Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal). The New Englanders burned almost a dozen houses and three barns full of grain.31 Port Royal was again made the capital in 1699.32
During Queen Anne's War, there was a New England blockade of Port Royal and then three attempts to lay siege to the capital. The last siege ultimately resulted in the British conquest of Acadia and Nova Scotia.
In 1704, in retaliation for the Raid on Deerfield, Major Benjamin Church (military officer) created a blockade of Port-Royal. Church was instructed not to attack the capital because the action was not authorized from London. Before daylight, on July 2, two English warships and seven smaller vessels entered the Port Royal basin. They captured the guard station opposite Goat Island as well as four Acadians. Landing at Pointe aux Chesnes on the north shore, they took a family prisoner. A woman from the family was sent to the fort to demand its surrender. The blockade lasted seventeen days; those in the fort awaited an attack. Church had moved on to conduct the real purpose of his expedition: the Raid on Grand Pré, Raid on Pisiguit, and Raid on Chignecto. He returned to Port Royal and then with a brief exchange of gunfire, returned to Boston.33
Two major British efforts to besiege the town in 1707 met with failure. The first siege during the war happened on June 17 and lasted eleven days. Colonel John March, the most senior officer in all of Massachusetts was sent to defeat the capital. Acadian governor Daniel d'Auger de Subercase successfully defended the capital.34
Colonel Francis Wainwright led the second siege on August 20. It lasted eleven days. Subercase and his troops killed sixteen New Englanders and lost three soldiers. Again the British retreated.35
On September 24, 1710, the British returned with 36 ships and 2000 men, and again laid siege to the capital in what would be the final Conquest of Acadia. Subercase and the French held out until October 2 when the approximately 300 defenders of the fort surrendered, ending French rule in Acadia. The following year, after the Acadian and Indian success at the near-by Battle of Bloody Creek (1711), the Acadians and Indians unsuccessfully attempted to lay siege to the capital.
The French, Mi'kmaq and Acadians made four attempts to retake the capital of Acadia during King George's War.36 Many of the Acadian inhabitants at Port Royal remained in the town after it became Annapolis Royal. However during the French and Indian War, the British deported the Acadian residents at Annapolis Royal to British and French territories in the Expulsion of the Acadians, beginning in 1755, because they wanted to remove any military threat the Acadians posed and cut off vital supply lines the Acadians provided to the French Fortress of Louisbourg.
- Military history of Nova Scotia
- History of Nova Scotia
- History of Acadia
- Royal eponyms in Canada
- Monarchy in Nova Scotia
- Canadian Register of Historic Places
- Former colonies and territories in Canada
- History of Canada
- List of National Historic Sites of Canada
- Samuel de Champlain, Les Fondations de l'Acadie et de Québec. 1604-1611, Québec: Septentrion, 2008
- Eric Thierry, La France de Henri IV en Amérique du Nord. De la création de l'Acadie à la fondation de Québec, Paris: Honoré CHampion, 2008.
- Brenda Dunn, A History of Port-Royal/Annapolis Royal 1605-1800, Halifax: Nimbus, 2004.
- Griffiths, E. From Migrant to Acadian. McGill-Queen's University Press. 2005.
- John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005).
- John Reid, Maurice Basque, Elizabeth Mancke, Barry Moody, Geoffrey Plank, and William Wicken. 2004. The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, an Aboriginal Constructions. University of Toronto Press.
- Geoffrey Plank, An Unsettled Conquest. University of Pennsylvania. 2001
- Parks Canada, Port Royal National Historic Site brochure, undated (2001 ?).
- Nova Scotia Geographical Names Database
- Nova Scotia Geographical Names Database - Port Royal
- "Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada". Parks Canada (Government Of Canada). 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- Vaugeois, Denis; Raymonde Litalien, Käthe Roth (2004). Champlain: The Birth of French America. Translated by Käthe Roth. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 146, 242. ISBN 0-7735-2850-4. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- Riendeau, Roger E (2007). A brief history of Canada. Facts on File, cop. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8160-6335-2. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- For the 144 years prior to the founding of Halifax (1749), Port-Royal (present day Port Royal, Nova Scotia (1605-1613) and Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia (1613 onward) was the capital of Acadia for 112 of those years (78% of the time). The other locations that served as the Capital of Acadia are: present day LaHave, Nova Scotia (1632-1636 ); present day Castine, Maine (1670-1674); present day Sackville, New Brunswick / Amherst, Nova Scotia known as Beaubassin (1678-1684); present day Jemseg, New Brunswick(1690-1691); present day Fredericton, New Brunswick (1691-1698), and present day Saint John, New Brunswick (1698-1699). (See Brenda Dunn. Port Royal/ Annapolis Royal. 2004. Nimbus Publishing)
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. viii
- Located on an island in the Saint Croix River between present-day Maine and New Brunswick, the Saint Croix settlement failed because the surrounding river became impassable in the winter. It cut off the settlers from necessary supplies of fresh food, water, and fuel wood.
- Griffiths, N. 1600-1650. "Fish, Fur and Folk", in Buckner, P. and Reid J. (eds), The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History, Toronto University Press. 1994. p. 56.
- Harry Bruce, An Illustrated History of Nova Scotia, Nimbus Publishing. 1997.pp.38-34
- An 1866 English translation is accessible at Google Books
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800, Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p.8
- Griffiths, E., From Migrant to Acadian, McGill-Queen's University Press. 2005. p.24. Charles La Tour was one of the men who stayed behind. They eventually left Port-Royal and settled by 1620, at Cape Negro- Cape Sable. (See M. A. MacDonald. Fortune and La Tour. Methuen Press. 1983.p.14).
- Sarty & Knight (2003), p. 18.
- There is a monument to Sir William Alexander in Victoria Park, Halifax - see Sir Alexander Monument. As well, the name and Flag of Nova Scotia were established at this time.
- M. A MacDonald, Fortune and La Tour. p. 82
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. ix
- M. A. MacDonald, Fortune & La Tour: The civil war in Acadia, Toronto: Methuen. 1983
- Brenda Dunn, p. 19
- Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme, New York; W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. p.54
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 20
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 23
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 24
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 32
- John Reid, "1686-1720: Imperial Intrusions", in Buckner, P. and Reid J. (eds), The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History, Toronto University Press. 1994. p. 82.
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 38
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 39
- John Reid. 1686-1720: Imperial Intrusions. in Buckner, P. and Reid J. (eds). The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History. Toronto University Press. 1994. p. 82.
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 40
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. p. 43
- Dunn, p. 45
- Brenda Dunn. A History of Port Royal, Annapolis Royal: 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. pp.61-62.
- Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme New York; W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. pp. 114-115
- Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme, New York; W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. pp. 115-116
- Griffiths, E., From Migrant to Acadian, McGill-Queen's University Press. 2005. pp.338-371
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Habitation at Port-Royal|
- Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada
- Censuses of Canada - 1665 to 1871 - Early French Settlements
- Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
- An Essay on Port Royal
- Biography of Louis-Alexandre des Friches de Meneval, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Photographs of historic plaques at the Port Royal Habitation National Historic Site, Nova Scotia
- Photographs of the Scotch Fort historic monument at Port Royal, Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia Archieves and Records Management
- Port Royal/Annapolis Royal Timeline