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Sketch Port Royal Habitaion
(Port Royal Habitation, Nova Scotia, 1605)

Port Royal History

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The First French Settlement

The fishermen from the Basque country, from Britany and Normandy, who came ashore in Acadia during the summer months to dry their fish, found that they could carry on a profitable trade with the Indians, exchanging knives, axes, pots and cloth for furs.

A beaver robe, that could be bartered for an axe or a knife worth a few dollars, could be sold in Paris for the equivalent of $200.00.

With such profits possible, many fishermen and their backers turned to the fur trade, which was not only far more profitable but also easier to carry out. However, such a lucrative trade also attracted the attention of some gentlemen of the court who had influence with the king. The king had the power to grant monopolies, the sole right to trade in certain commodities. These monopolies were granted in return for favours rendered to the crown.

Aymar de Chastes, commander of the order of Saint-John, had been an ardent supporter of Henry IV during his battles to gain the throne of France and it was to him that the king first gave a patent to settle a colony in the New World in return for the monopoly of the fur trade. De Chastes formed a corporation for the purpose of exploiting the fur trade.

He recruited Samuel de Champlain, a geographer, to make a survey of the New World and determine the best place for a fur trading colony. Samuel de Champlain was born about 1570, at Brouage, in Saintonge, France, died at Quebec City December 25, 1635. He was the son of Antoine Champlain a sea captain, and Marguerite Le Roy. He served as a billeting officer in the French Army, 1594-98; he then took service with the King of Spain and made a voyage to the West Indies, 1599-1601. Appointed Royal Geographer on his return to France, Champlain came to Canada for the first time in 1603 with Pontgrave in the Bonne Renommee and made a reconnaissance trip up the St. Lawrence River. He accompanied Monts the following year to Acadia. He participated in the founding of Ste. Croix in 1604 and Port Royal in 1605. He explored and mapped the Acadian and New England coasts as far south as Martha's Vinyard, returned to France in 1607. He is known as the father of New France.

Among the members of the corporation was a shrewd sea captain, Francois Grave, Sieur du Pont, who with Pierre Chauvin had established a short-lived colony at Tadoussac in 1600.

It was therefore to this area that Francois du Pont, or as he most often was called, Pontgrave, directed the de Chastes expedition in 1603, where it arrived on May 24.

The expedition continued up the Saint Lawrence to Quebec, making friendly contacts with the Indians along the way; then turned back to Tadoussac and sailed for France where it arrived on August 16,1603, only to learn that their backer, Aymar de Chastes, had passed away a few weeks earlier.

This could have meant a long interruption in the French settlement of the New World had not Champlain become so enthused with the country. He prevailed upon Henry IV to find another nobleman to undertake a settlement in America.

The king's choice fell upon another of his early supporters, Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts, governor of the city of Pons. De Monts, a Huguenot, had also been with Chauvin at Tadoussac. He was a nobleman of some means, having married a wealthy young woman.

He was also practical and shrewd, and apart from his own personal fortune he acquired financial backing by forming a joint stock company among the merchants of Rouen, St. Malo, La Rochelle, and Saint Jean de Luz. Moreover, he was able to profit from the errors of judgment and from the sad experiences of the earlier explorers. The failures of Roberval and Chauvin at Tadoussac showed that it was not wise to attempt a colony in those northern latitudes. The disastrous results that befell Ribaut and Laudonire in the southern latitudes proved that the French had to stay far enough north of the well established Spanish colonies.

Sable Island was now a well-known disaster area. The most promising territory would be the mainland between New Spain to the south and Tadoussac to the north, an area known as La Cadie. So it was to La Cadie that De Monts was granted a monopoly of the fur trade, along with the title of lieutenant-general of the territory from the 40th parallel to the 46th, in return for colonizing and exploring the said territory and converting the native peoples to Christianity.

De Monts carefully prepared his expedition to the New World. He first had notices posted in all the ports of France forbidding trade in the territory in which he had a monopoly. He then recruited 120 skilled workers (artisans) and chartered two ships, one under the command of Pontgrave, while he was in charge of the other. With him were Champlain, Poutrincourt, Boulai, and the master of the vessel, Champdore. He brought along two Catholic priests and a Protestant minister.

The two ships sailed from La Have in March 1604 and arrived at Sable Island on May 1st. Pontgrave's ship went to Canso, while De Monts and Champlain explored the coast of Nova Scotia. Champlain mapped and described in detail the saw-tooth coast of the peninsula from La Heve to Saint Mary's Bay. Many places along the coast still retain the names given by Champlain.

The expedition left Saint Mary's Bay by the "Petit Passage" and entered the Bay of Fundy, then penetrated into the Annapolis Basin. Poutrincourt was especially struck by the advantages that the area offered for a settlement, and asked De Monts if he could have this area for a colony of his own, and De Monts agreed.

The expedition kept on its way all along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, arriving at the mouth of the Saint John River on June 24th. Further along the coast, an island at the mouth of a fairly large river attracted the attention of the commander, and he named the river and the island Sainte-Croix.

True to the conditions of his charter, De Monts continued his voyage of exploration as far as Cape Cod. Having found no location which seemed to offer more advantages than Sainte-Croix Island, the expedition returned there and set about clearing the land and erecting buildings. Meanwhile Pontgrave and Poutrincourt had returned to France with one of the ships, laden with furs and some forty of the l20 men of the expedition.

An early winter soon proved the error of DeMonts' choice. The buildings were exposed to the chilly north winds, drifting ice prevented access to the mainland, and the island offered no game to supplement the steady diet of salt meat. Scurvy soon made its appearance and thirty six of the seventy nine men died from it before spring arrived.

De Monts had had enough of Sainte-Croix, and as soon as Pontgrave arrived from France with supplies and 40 more men, the whole company crossed over to the site selected the year before by Poutrincourt, bringing with them a good part of the buildings of Sainte-Croix. It was the first transportation of pre-fabricated buildings in eastern Canada.

The site chosen for the new establishment was opposite Goat Island in the Annapolis Basin, at a place now known as Lower Granville, just west of Annapolis Royal in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. This site is considered to be the oldest French settlement in North America.

As already mentioned, Poutrincourt had noticed the advantages of the region and had asked DeMonts to grant him the area, to which request the commander had agreed.

The artisans reassembled the buildings brought from Sainte-Croix in the form of a hollow square, with a gun platform jutting out from one corner, and a palisade to guard the door on the other.

Once the buildings were finished DeMonts and Poutrincourt returned to France, leaving Pontgrave and Champlain in charge of the colony during his absence.

Pontgrave, ever the shrewd trader, began bargaining with the Micmac Indians for the skins of moose, beaver and other animals.

They fared much better at Port Royal than at Sainte-Croix. As can be readily seen from the plan of the Habitation, they had a good supply of water right in the court yard, and an abundant supply of fuel at their back door. Game was readily available and the friendly Indians were frequent visitors who brought them fresh meat, in exchange for French bread to which, they, the Indians, had taken a liking. However the Frenchmen had not yet completely overcome the dangers of wintering in Acadia, as Champlain reports that six of the men fell victim to scurvy.

In the spring of 1606, Pontgrave had his craftsmen (artisans) build a boat to set out on another voyage of exploration while waiting for demons to arrive with supplies. It was the first vessel built in Canada. However storms and rough seas drove them back, and they abandoned the venture. Meanwhile the colonists were anxiously awaiting supplies from France, as Spring was already past and there was no sign of DeMonts' ships.

Poutrincourt finally arrived in early summer, with fresh supplies and seeds to plant in the virgin soil of the shores of the Riviera Dauphin, the present Annapolis Basin and River. These were the first crops planted on Canadian soil, as far as can be authenticated.

Poutrincourt also brought with him Marco Lescarbot, lawyer and writer and a born leader, Daniel Hay, a surgeon, Louis Hebert, apothecary from Paris, and possibly Claude de La Tour and his son Charles, who was to play a large role in the early history of Acadia.

As one of DeMonts' mandates in his commission was to fully explore the territory over which he exercised a monopoly, and which the King of France claimed, the commander of the colony had instructed Poutrincourt to lead an expedition along the coast of Norembega (present day New England) to find an alternate place to settle. It must be remembered that Port Royal was to be Poutrincourt domain.

Consequently, as soon as the crops were in the ground, Poutrincourt and Champlain left with the ship and most of the men, on another voyage of exploration. This one almost ended in complete disaster as on October 15, at a place which Champlain calls Port Fortune (at 40 degrees of latitude) and which some historians identify as the port of Chatham on the American seaboard, the expedition was attacked by the Indians and suffered a number of casualties. Champlain has left a vivid description of the battle which ensued, and speaks of the loss of a number of his men.

During their absence Lescarbot had kept the other colonists busy tending the garden, improving the buildings, digging a drainage ditch around the Habitation, and opening paths through the woods.

Lescarbot also kept busy in other ways, and had written and directed a play with which to greet Poutrincourt and Champlain and the rest of the explorers on their return.

The sight of a troupe of actors, dressed as Neptune and the Tritons sailing out to greet the explorers must have lifted the spirits of Champlain and Poutrincourt, who were returning after a rather disastrous expedition.

Neptune, played by Lescarbot himself began by these words:

Arrete Sagamos, arrete toy ici
Et regardes un Dieu qui a de toy souci
Si tu ne me conais, Saturne fut mon pere
Je suis de Jupiter et de Pluton le free

Stop, Sagamos (friend) stop here
And look at the god which cared for you.
If you do not know me, Saturn was my father
I am the brother of Jupiter and Pluto.

The play continues exalting the merits of Poutrincourt and Champlain and their companions for a long time. While it has little literary merit, this play "Le Theatre de Neptune" remains the first recorded theater performance on Canadian soil.

Poutrincourt and Champlain were also delighted to notice the armories of France hanging over the doorway of the Habitation.

After the crops were gathered the colonists were well prepared for the Winter, which seems to have been unusually mild. To keep up the spirit of the little group, and also to assure a supply of fresh meat, Champlain and Lescarbot organized "I Ordre du Bon Temps", "The Order of Good Cheer", the first social club in America, north of the Gulf of Mexico. This was a way of fording off boredom and supplementing their diet, provide a diversion of everyday problems and providing an outlet to hone there hunting skills. Membership to this Order is still available to visitors of The Habitation today.

According to the rules of the Order, each day one of the group was in charge of providing the food for the whole company of gentlemen (but not the artisans), and it was his duty to get out and hunt to have fresh game for the table. The Indian chief, Membertou, was a frequent guest at the gentlemen's table.

When spring arrived the men, with high hopes, set about enlarging the garden, Poutrincourt had a mill built on the Lequille River. The inscription on the monument to commemorate the event reads:

To relieve the toil of the hand mill in making flour for the
settlers at Port-Royal, Sieur de Poutrincourt had a water mill
erected on the Lequille River near here early in 1607.

Everything was looking well for the colony. The number of casualties due to scurvy had been reduced to four during the past winter. The land was fertile beyond expectations, and relations with the Indians in Acadia were most friendly. New settlers were expected to arrive with DeMonts ship.

But alas! DeMonts' ship brought orders to abandon the colony and return with everything to France. DeMonts' enemies in France had succeeded in having his monopoly revoked, so that the colony was no longer feasible.

It was therefore " with great grief in their hearts," as Lescarbot says, that the colonists left Port Royal on August 11th 1607, and thus ended the first chapter in the tumultuous history of France's second Port Royal in North America.

Port Royal Habitation Courtyard
(Port Royal Habitation Courtyard, Nova Scotia, 1605)

Port Royal - Second Beginning

In 1610 the Port Royal venture was revived by Jean de Biencourt, Sieur de Poutrincourt, primarily for the establishment of a fur trading post, but with a very definite commitment of converting the Indians and of bringing in settlers.

With Poutrincourt came his son, Charles de Biencourt, (henceforth referred to as Biencourt) Claude de La Tour and his son Charles, and 1'abbe Jesse Fleche. Later came Louis Hebert, the apothecary of Paris, destined to become the first farmer in Acadia and then, sometime later, in Quebec.

The new colony had the blessing of the King of France and the monopoly of the fur trade, but no firm financial backing from the court. DeMonts had helped out by relinquishing all his claims to the Port Royal area. On the other hand, Poutrincourt found financial backers, two Huguenot merchants, Duquesne and Desjardins, who would share in the profits of the monopoly on the conditions that Poutrincourt would have to bring two Jesuit missionaries to convert the natives to Christianity, which in this case would mean the Catholic Faith. The Huguenot merchants threatened to withdraw their support if the Jesuits were a party to the expedition; however, they accepted 1'Abbe Fleche, a secular priest.

The good Abbe succeeded beyond all expectations in the field of conversions. Soon after his arrival he baptized Chief Membertou and twenty members of his family. Soon many other Indian families sought baptism, so that from his arrival in the colony in the summer of 1610 to his departure in 1611, 1'Abbe Fleche had baptized more than 130 Indians.

In the summer of 1611, Charles de Biencourt returned to France bringing a shipload of furs and a good report concerning the work of christianizing the native people. This report greatly impressed Antoinette du Pons, Madame de Guercheville, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and a very devout person. On the advice of her spiritual counselors, the Jesuit, Father Coton, she bought out the shares of the Huguenot merchants and gave them to the Jesuits, and also furnished the necessary capital to maintain the colony of Port Royal for another year.

Two Jesuit priests, Biard and Masse, sailed with Biencourt and Louis Hebert for Port Royal on the "Grace de Dieu" arriving during the Summer of l611. L'Abbe Fleche returned to France with Poutrincourt.

At first the Jesuits were full of admiration for the courage and know how of young Biencourt. Soon, however, relations between the two deteriorated and sowed the seeds of future conflicts.

The Jesuits were scandalized by the lack of religious instructions received by the baptized Indians, and then rebuffed by Biencourt, who did not intend to share the material administration of the colony with them, even though they had shares in the venture. Biencourt accused the Jesuits of connivance with French adventurers who were trading illegally with the Indians at the mouth of the Saint John River. Relations continued to worsen until the Jesuits "went on strike" and refused to administer the sacraments. Biencourt went further and imprisoned them. However, on the 24th of June 1612, a reconciliation took place, but not before Frere du Thet, a Jesuit Brother who had arrived that summer, had prepared a report on the state of affairs in the colony.

Frere du Thet returned to France on the same ship that had brought him to Port Royal. When his report reached Madame Guercheville, she decided to withdraw her support from Poutrincourt's colony and establish her own further south at the mouth of the Penobscot River, Mount Desert Island. She would name this colony Saint-Sauveur.

Meanwhile Poutrincourt was trying to get other backers for Port Royal, but without success, and so was unable to send a supply ship in the Fall of l612. The colonists spent a miserable winter in the Habitation, subsisting on their own meager resources and with some help from the Indians.

In the spring the eager watchers saw a ship coming up the basin. They rejoiced when they could see the name "Fleur de Mai". But their rejoicing was short-lived, for this was the ship sent by Madame de Guercheville with colonists and supplies to establish Saint Sauveur. Instead of leaving supplies it took on board Fathers Biard and Masse, the supplies belonging to the Jesuits, and the ornaments of the chapel. The Fleur de Mai under the command of Captain Le Coq, Sieur de la Sausaye, sailed on to the site of Saint Sauveur. There the expedition, under the direction of Frere du Thet, immediately quarreled about what work to undertake first. Some wanted to take advantage of the season and make a clearing to plant a crop, while others wanted to build a fort.

This indecision ended abruptly when Captain Samuel Argall and his crew fell upon the unsuspecting and unprepared would-be colonists, and sacked whatever buildings had been put up, and set the Fleur de Mai ablaze. Frere du Thet was killed trying to defend the ship. Half the settlers with Father Masse were sent adrift in a small boat and the other half with Father Biard were taken as prisoners to Jamestown, Virginia. Governor Thomas Dale of Virginia approved the raid by Argall on the pretext that the colony was an intrusion on the territory of Virginia and kept the prisoners.

Later the same year he sent Argall up the coast again, to destroy any French settlement he could find. This time Argall reached Saint Croix where he destroyed the remnants of DeMonts' Habitation and crossed over to Port Royal where he found the Habitation unguarded. There he took all he could, destroyed the crops and burned the buildings. Biencourt and his men, who were in the fields and at the mill at Lequille, arrived on the scene of destruction just as Argall was sailing away. It seems they got a close enough look at the ship to recognize Father Biard on deck, for Biencourt later accused the Jesuit of having informed Argall about Port Royal. The Jesuits in their Relations defended Biard, saying it was an Indian captured at Saint Croix who had informed the raider.

This was the first of many violent actions on the shores of the Basin. Although it destroyed the Habitation, it did not wipe out the colony, for Biencourt and his men remained in the area of Port Royal. The mill at Lequille was still intact and Poutrincourt found the settlers living in miserable hovels in the area of present day Annapolis, when he made his last voyage to, the colony in 1614.

After that, a thick curtain descends on the activities of these early French pioneers of Port Royal, but we know from the reports of the missionaries that they remained in the area, and kept a continuous French presence in Acadia in spite of the total neglect of the mother country.

The Kingdom of France had other more pressing pre occupations at home. King Henry IV had been assassinated in 1610, to be succeeded by his nine year old son. It was a period of unrest within the kingdom, beset with uprisings by the Protestants within, and engaged in the Thirty Years War on its eastern frontier.

The conditions were, therefore, ripe for the other claimant to the North American continent, the king of Great Britain, James I, to push his claim. Consequently, in 1621 by Royal Charter, Acadia became the British possession of Nova Scotia and was granted to Sir William Alexander.

However, Sir William Alexander was not able to send out colonists to his Nova Scotia before 1628. The 70 colonists from Scotland, led by William Alexander Jr. quite naturally chose the site already cleared by the French, at what is now Lower Granville. There they built a small fort, which they called Charles Fort on an elevation about 500 yards above the ruins of Champlain's Habitation, and set about cultivating the land.

The venture was ill timed, for on April 29, 1629, the Treaty of Suze was signed bringing peace between England and France, and in March 1632, the Treaty of St. Germain en Laye restored Acadia to France. Sir William Alexander was instructed, even in 1631, by the King of England to demolish the fort and to remove all the people, goods, cattle and ammunitions from the place, and leave it as deserted as when his son arrived there to settle the place.

It does appear that these colonists were reluctant to leave the place, for a detachment from Charles Fort led by Andrew Forester crossed over to the St. John River and captured a fort that the La Tours had set up there.

In the spring of 1632, Isaac de Razilly, with his lieutenants, Charles de Menou, Sieur d'Aulnay and Charnisay, and Nicolas Denys brought some 300 "homes d'elites", (no doubt skilled craftsmen) to build a colony at La Have.

One of his first duties was to take possession of the whole territory under his command as far as the Kennebec River in present day Maine. He also saw to the removal of the Scot settlers who were repatriated to their native Scotland, very probably by d'Aulnay, as he appears to have returned to Europe in l632, according to the Gazette of Renaudat.

After the death of Razilly in 1635, Charles de Menou, or as he is often known, d'Aulnay, assumed control of the colony. To keep peace among the three rival pretenders to the control of the Acadian territory, the government of France divided Acadia into three areas of control. D'Aulnay, who had succeeded Razilly, would retain the La Have area and the Port Royal region and would have control of the area north of the Baie Francaise, (present day southern New Brunswick) except a strip along the Saint John River which was granted to Charles de La Tour. The latter would retain a portion of the mainland of Nova Scotia and the Saint John River valley. Nicolas Denys would have control of the eastern portion of Acadia from Canso to Cap des Rosiers in Gaspe.

These enclaves in each other's territory was a built in cause of dispute between two head-strong and energetic leaders, as were La Tour and d'Aulnay, and it was not long before the misunderstandings broke out in armed conflict, with Port Royal as the main theatre of action.

It must be pointed out here that sometime between 1636 and 1640 d'Aulnay removed most of the settlers of La Have to the Annapolis Basin area, not to the site of Champlain's Habitation, but on a point of land where the Lequille River meets the Annapolis, or to use the names of the period, where the Riviere Allain flowed into the Riviere Dauphin.

The conflict between d'Aulnay and La Tour erupted in 1639, when La Tour captured a ship sent by d'Aulnay to relieve his post of Pentagoet (Penobscot) under attack by the New Englanders. (La Tour pretended that Pentagoet was rightly his).

The conflict shifted to Port Royal the following year when La Tour attacked the fort with two armed ships that he had hired from Boston merchants. However it was he who was captured by the governor, d'Aulnay, who had just returned from Pentagoet with two armed vessels. La Tour and his men were imprisoned at Port Royal for a time, then released.

In 1642 d'Aulnay destroyed all of La Tour's buildings at Fort St. Louis (now Villagedale, Shelburne County). In reprisal La Tour attacked Port Royal again in the following year with the help of four armed ships from Plymouth, Mass. and one from La Rochelle, France. The fort resisted the attack, but seven of the defenders were wounded, three were killed, and La Tour and his allies broke into the warehouses and took all the furs that were stored to a value of 18,000 pounds. According to the Capuchin Fathers who left a description of the affair, the spoils were divided between La Tour and the New Englanders, the latter got two thirds of the furs.

The denouement of the struggle took place at La Tour's fort at Jemseg on the Saint John River, when, during La Tour's absence, d'Aulnay attacked the place with a superior force and captured the fort which was defended by Madame La Tour. He then proceeded to hang the garrison, sparing only one of its men who acted as hangman of the others. Madame La Tour died not long after the disaster and
La Tour left Acadia as a ruined man.

D'Aulnay did not enjoy sole control of the western two thirds of Acadia very long, for he died in 1650 from exposure after a canoe upset on the shores of the Riviere Dauphin.

Soon after d'Aulnay's death, Emmanuel Le Borgne, d'Aulnay's principal creditor in France came to Port Royal, and on the pretext of collecting his debts to the value of 205,286 pounds, he stripped Port Royal of all d'Aulnay's assets, leaving Madame d'Aulnay and her children destitute.

Meanwhile Charles de La Tour, had gone to France and had successfully defended himself against all the accusations of d'Aulnay and his supporters. He then returned to Port Royal, with the commission of lieutenant-governor of Acadia. There were now three claimants to Port Royal, Madame d'Aulnay, Emmanuel le Borgne, and Charles de La Tour.

In 1653 Charles de La Tour solved part of the problem by marrying Madame d Aulnay, thereby settling once and for all, the rival claims of these two families. He and his bride left Port Royal for La Tour's fort at Jemseg, and d'Aulnay's children returned to France.

The following year Emmanuel Le Borgne again entered the picture. This time he took possession of Port Royal, La Have, Pentagoet and even all of the holdings of Nicolas Denys. However he did not hold these long, for the same year a British fleet commanded by Robert Sedgewick suddenly appeared before Port Royal, which was in no condition to defend itself. Le Borgne was taken prisoner. Port Royal again came under British domination. The Acadian settlers remained and were left to administer themselves by a council presided over by Guillaume Trahan.

From 1654 to 1667, the British remained in possession of Port Royal and all of Acadia. Charles de La Tour, with Sir Thomas Temple and William Crowne, shared control of the territory. (Charles de La Tour, at this time, used the titles conferred upon him by the British sovereign in 1630 to his advantage).

In 1670, a French force under Marson, lieutenant to Hubert d'Andigny, lieutenant-governor of Acadia, reoccupied Port Royal, which thereby changed hand for a fifth time.

In 1690, the cannons of Port Royal growled anew, this time without being able to prevent Sir William Phipps from capturing the fort, burning and looting the settlement. Menneval, the French governor, and his men were taken to Boston.

The following year, 1691, Villebon, coming from Quebec with a small force, captured Port Royal and Edward Tyng, the English governor, was taken prisoner. The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 officially returned Acadia to France.

The fort had to defend itself again in 1704 against the troops of Colonel Church who had to retreat after having pillaged and burned many houses and taken about thirty prisoners among the Acadian settlers.

In June l707 Colonel Marsh with a strong army and a powerful fleet besieged Port Royal. The defenders, commanded by Daniel Auger, Sieur de Subercase, and supported by St. Castin and 150 Abenaquis, repulsed the attacks against the bastions of the fort. After having suffered heavy losses, Colonel Marsh retreated from Port Royal to Casco, Maine.

Cannon balls struck again against the walls of the fort in August 1707 when a combined force from England and New England, including the forces of Colonel Marsh, entered Annapolis Basin. This combined force totaling 2,000 men and 20 ships was commanded by Col. Wainwright. Subercase had been warned by a French privateer of the coming attack and was ready to receive them.

Here are eyewitness accounts of this siege, reported by Diereville:

"On the 25th of August, the bombs discharged from the fort compelled the English to quit their encampment and they then took up positions opposite the fort, but Subercase gave them no rest in this position, as he saw their endeavours to erect their batteries of cannon and mortar. On the 26th they removed half a league lower down. Then the governor sent out a detachment which killed three of their sentries and obliged them to decamp a third time.

"At sunrise the English went ashore on the fort side, under the protection of the guns of their fleet and at once began their march. Before them was a point of land covered with woods in which the Baron de St. Castin lay in ambush with l50 men. He suffered them to approach within pistol shot and then fired three consecutive volleys. They bore the fire with an intrepidity, which he had not expected and appeared resolved to force a passage at whatever loss, but eventually they desisted and a little while after they were seen on the retreat.

Meanwhile, some of the English officers, ashamed at the retreat of their men before inferior numbers, rallied them and brought them back on the French, who then retreated towards the woods because St. Castin and another French officer had both been wounded. The French seeing the enemy coming back, faced round and showed so much resolution that the English dared not come at close quarters but fired several volleys and withdrew again.

At the end of an hour, Subercase sent a fellow named Granger, an inhabitant and a very brave man to head Boularderie's detachment and attack the English, who did not wait for his coming but embarked in confusion.

The same day the greater part of the fleet hoisted their anchors and went out of the basin, and on the first of September the whole English fleet was outside. The siege had lasted fifteen days. The French acknowledged three men killed and wounded, the English sixteen killed and as many wounded.

In 1710, Colonel Nicholson directed a strong attack against Port Royal, which, this time, was unable to offer a sustained defense. It had not received any supplies nor payment for its troops since 1707. It was a somber ending for Subercase who had defended it brilliantly on three other occasions.

After the capture of the fort, Colonel Samuel Vetch remained at Port Royal as governor with 450 soldiers.

Port Royal became Fort Anne in honour of Queen Anne of England.

The following year, 1711, Baron de St. Castin, coming from Pentagoet, with a band of Abenakis, launched an attack against the fort and surprised and defeated a detachment of 80 British soldiers at Bloody Ridge near Bridgetown. However he did not receive the cannons which he had been promised by the governor of Quebec. It being useless to attack the fort without cannons, he gave up the siege of Fort Anne, which had but a small detachment of soldiers at the time.

In 1713 Port Royal was definitely ceded to England by the Treaty of Utrecht.

In 1744, Duvivier arrived from Quebec with 900 soldiers and militiamen but without cannons and attacked the fort. A French fleet coming from Louisbourg was to bring the required cannons but it arrived too late. An English fleet was already in the basin and Duvivier had left with his troops.

In 1745, a last attack was directed against Fort Anne by Capt. Paul Marin from Quebec at the head of 200 militiamen and 40 Indians. Not receiving the cannons which he had been promised, his attempt had no chance of success and he retreated without striking a blow.

While most of the inhabitants of the Port Royal area, settled along the banks of the river, did not take an active part in the military actions, the progress of the colony was delayed a great deal, both durring the French Regime and following the British occupation. The last attempts by the French forces to recapture Port Royal increased the desire of the authorities to rid the province of the Acadian population, which they regarded as a potential threat should they abandon their policy of neutrality.

You can visit Port Royal or as it is known locally "The Habitation". After Archeological investigations it was rebuilt on its exact original location by Parks Canada and is maintained and operated by them and open year for visitors. All though small in stature it played a key roll in the settlement of Canada and the establishment of the French Acadian culture.

Photo of Port Royal Habitation
(Reconstructed Port Royal Habitation)

Port Royal National Historic Site

PortRoyal Park features reconstructed 17th-century buildings representing the former fur-trading post that was located here. Costumed interpreters and period demonstrations help recreate the look and feel of Port Royal, one of the first European settlements in North America. Visitors can also take in the panoramic view of the Annapolis River and Basin.

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Last update June 01, 2000
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