A chronology from
The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763 by Rene Chartrand
1534 Jacques Cartier takes possession of Canada for France at Gaspe. The area is called New France.
1535 Jacques Cartier and his men build a small fort at Quebec.
1541-1543 Cartier and the Seigneur de Roberval build forts at Cap-Rouge near Quebec, but the colony is abandoned in 1543.
1600-1601 Fortified post at Tadoussac.
1604 – 1605 Fortified post at Isle Stainte-Croix, Acadia
1605 Port Royal, Acadia habitation built, destroyed in 1613
Port-Royal was founded after the French nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts spent a disastrous winter in Île-Saint-Croix. 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. 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. 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.
Pierre Du Gua de Monts, (Du Gua de Monts; c. 1564 – 1628) was a French merchant, explorer and colonizer. A Protestant, he was born in Royan, France and had a great influence over the first two decades of the 17th century. He travelled to northeastern North America for the first time in 1599 with Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit.
In 1603, Henry IV, the King of France, granted Du Gua exclusive right to colonize lands in North America between 40°–60° North latitude. The King also gave Du Gua a monopoly in the fur trade for these territories and named him Lieutenant General for Acadia and New France. In return, Du Gua promised to bring 60 new colonists each year to what would be called l’Acadie.
In 1604, Du Gua organized an expedition and left France with 79 settlers including Royal cartographer Samuel de Champlain, the Baron de Poutrincourt, apothecary Louis Hébert, a priest Nicolas Aubry, and Mathieu de Costa: a legendary linguist, the first registered black man to set foot in North America, and a Protestant member of the clergy.
Entering Baie Française (the Bay of Fundy) in June 1604, he and his settlers founded a colony on St. Croix Island. Numerous settlers succumbed to the harsh winter climate and malnutrition disease as they exhausted the limited natural resources on the island. The colony moved to better land on the south shore of Baie Française at Port-Royal in 1605.
Have you visited this National Historic Park of Canada? I visited there with my family in 1982 as an 11th grader. Do you have ancestry from Port-Royal?