the French Connection – Part 4 – the First Forts of New France

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.

Monument for the Cap-Rouge forts in Charlesbourg-Royal
Monument for the Cap-Rouge forts in Charlesbourg-Royal


1600-1601  Fortified post at Tadoussac.

Champlain's map of Tadoussac showing Chauvin's house
Champlain’s map of Tadoussac showing Chauvin’s house built 1600
Replica of Chavin's trading post house in Tadoussac
Replica of Chavin’s trading post house in Tadoussac, Interpretative Centre, 157 rue du Bord-de-l’Eau Tadoussac, Quebec G0T 2A0
Tadoussac, Quebec, Montreal
Tadoussac, Quebec, Montreal
Tadoussac in Province of Quebec
Tadoussac in Province of Quebec
location of Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence
location of Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence
Tadoussac village map
Tadoussac village map – the Chauvin replica is somewhere along the the beach area probably near the red roofed building



1604 – 1605     Fortified post at Isle Stainte-Croix, Acadia

St. Croix island between present day Maine and New Brunswick
St. Croix island between present day Maine and New Brunswick

Ile Sainte-Croix Samuel Champlains voyage

Saint Croix Island
Saint Croix Island


1605   Port Royal, Acadia habitation built, destroyed in 1613

From Wikipedia

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.




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.[2]

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.[3]

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.


Pierre DuGua de Monts
Pierre Du Gua de Monts


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?


10 thoughts on “the French Connection – Part 4 – the First Forts of New France

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    I visited Port Royal and Louisbourg in 1978.
    I have to go there again.
    Lovely pictures and get use of them on this pictorial essay.

    As a footnote…
    I visited Cap-Rouge last year when I got lost coming back from Quebec City. There was road construction and detours…

    Beautiful place with the tressle overhead.

    1. Hey Pierre! I guess I was there a while after you. I loved being able to see Port-Royal and also Quebec where my father was born.
      At least you got an interesting side trip out of getting lost! I hope I can visit these places at some time in the future. Thank you for your feedback Pierre 😉 Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        With my new granddaughter and a new one due up in late August… Of course I will be enjoying this summer.

  2. Judy Cartwright

    My name is Judy Cartwright and I am the great+grand daughter of Nicolas Marsolais from my Mother’s side of the family. My Marsolais family tree shows most likely I am from the line of Louise Marsolet and Jean Lemire. I visited the Old Town of Quebec City this past Sept. 2014 on a mission to find the plaque with the names of the first Settlers in New France. I found it on a monument in Parc Montmorency with my great grandparents names Nicolas Marsolet and Marie Le Barbier. I did take pictures, what an emotional feeling it was.

    1. Oh wow, that’s great you were able to find the monument and got pictures. I guess we’re cousins and their must be thousands of descendants of Nicolas Marsolet and Marie Barbier maybe even millions by now. Thank you for commenting and sharing your story. I’m so glad you found this post and hope you enjoyed reading it. Take care cousin Judy:-)

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