Port-Royal National Historic Site

Port-Royal National Historic Site is a National Historic Site[1][2] located on the north bank of the Annapolis Basin in the community of Port Royal,[3][4] Nova Scotia. The site is the location of the Habitation at Port-Royal.[5]

The Habitation at Port-Royal was established by France in 1605 and was that nation's first 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 (see Port-Royal (Acadia)); 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 settlement was renamed Annapolis Royal.[6]

Port-Royal National Historic Site
Port-Royal Nova-Scotia 1
The entrance into the replica of the Habitation at Port-Royal at the Port-Royal National Historic Site.
LocationOn 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.
Coordinates44°42′40.55″N 65°36′33.0″W / 44.7112639°N 65.609167°WCoordinates: 44°42′40.55″N 65°36′33.0″W / 44.7112639°N 65.609167°W
Area1 hectare (2.5 acres)
Governing bodyParks Canada
Official namePort-Royal National Historic Site of Canada
DesignatedMay 25, 1923
Port-Royal National Historic Site is located in Nova Scotia
Port-Royal National Historic Site
Location of Port-Royal National Historic Site in Nova Scotia

Replica construction in 1939

Port Royal replica
The replica at Port-Royal National Historic Site

On May 25, 1925, the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board 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 designated it Port-Royal National Historic Site.[7]

In the 1930s the approximate site of the original Habitation was located in the community and the results of archaeological 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 the Canadian novelist Evelyn Eaton set in Port-Royal in the early 17th century.

In the early 1900s, chiefly under the leadership of Harriet Taber Richardson, a 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 was the first National Historic Site to have a replica structure built.

Today, this replica serves as the cornerstone of Port-Royal National Historic Site, and, coupled with nearby Fort Anne National Historic Site in Annapolis Royal, continues to commemorate this important historic region for visitors. Today, the replica of the Habitation is considered a milestone in the national heritage movement. Operated by Parks Canada, it is open to the public as a unit of the national park system, staffed by historical interpreters in period costumes, and 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 today
Port Royal, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia situated on the Annapolis River where it widens to form the Annapolis Basin
Port-Royal Nova-Scotia 2


Port-Royal Nova-Scotia 3


Port-Royal Nova-Scotia 4

Outside view

Original settlement of Port-Royal (1605–13)

Typical 17th century uniform at Port-Royal

Port-Royal was founded after the French nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts who spent a disastrous winter in Île-Saint-Croix.[8] He was accompanied by Samuel de Champlain[9], Louis Hébert and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just. 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.[8] 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[9]; this was, for many years, the name of both the body of water, and the subsequent French and Acadian settlements in that region.[10] 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 1603–04 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 1606–07. 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.

In 1607, Dugua had his fur trade monopoly revoked by the Government of France, forcing settlers to return to France that fall.[8] 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.[10] 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.[9] 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, Nova Scotia - circa 1609 - Project Gutenberg etext 20110
Port Royal and Annapolis Basin, 1609
Port Royal, Nova Scotia - circa 1612 - Project Gutenberg etext 20110
Port-Royal from Samuel de Champlain's diagram, circa 1612.

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.[9] The British renamed Port-Royal at this new location as Annapolis Royal following their conquest of Acadia in 1710.[9]

Port-Royal was founded by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons and Samuel de Champlain in 1605.[9] 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.[a] 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.[12]

Samuel Argall
Portrait of Captain Samuel Argall

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.[b] 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.[13]

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.[14] The author of Neptune, Marc Lescarbot, wrote a popular history of his time in New France, entitled Histoire de la Nouvelle-France (1609).[15]

Battle of Port Royal (1613)

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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] (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.

See also


  1. ^ For the 144 years prior to the founding of Halifax (1749), Port-Royal (present day Port Royal, Nova Scotia (1605–13) 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 (1632–36 ); present day Castine, Maine (1670–74); present day Sackville, New Brunswick / Amherst, Nova Scotia known as Beaubassin (1678–84); present day Jemseg, New Brunswick(1690–91); present day Fredericton, New Brunswick (1691–98), and present day Saint John, New Brunswick (1698–99).[11]
  2. ^ 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.
  1. ^ Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada.
  2. ^ Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
  3. ^ Nova Scotia Geographical Names Database
  4. ^ Nova Scotia Geographical Names Database - Port Royal
  5. ^ Port Royal Habitation. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada.
  6. ^ "History". Port-Royal National Historic Site. Parks Canada. June 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Port-Royal National Historic Site. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b c 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.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Harris, Carolyn (Aug 2017). "The Queen's land". Canada's History. 97 (4): 34–43. ISSN 1920-9894.
  10. ^ a b 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.
  11. ^ Dunn (2004).
  12. ^ Dunn (2004), p. viii.
  13. ^ Griffiths, N.E.S. (1994). "1600-1650. Fish, Fur and Folk". In Phillip Buckner; John G. Reid (eds.). The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-4875-1676-5. JSTOR 10.3138/j.ctt15jjfrm.9.
  14. ^ Harry Bruce, An Illustrated History of Nova Scotia, Nimbus Publishing. 1997.pp.38-34
  15. ^ An 1866 English translation is accessible at Google Books
  16. ^ Dunn (2004), p. 8.
  17. ^ Griffiths, N.E.S. (2005). From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7735-2699-0.
  18. ^ M. A. MacDonald. Fortune and La Tour. Methuen Press. 1983.p.14).
Primary sources
  • 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.
Secondary sources

External links

Annapolis County, Nova Scotia

Annapolis County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia located in the western part of the province on the Bay of Fundy. The county seat is Annapolis Royal.

Annapolis Royal

Annapolis Royal, formerly known as Port Royal, is a town located in the western part of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Today's Annapolis Royal is the second French settlement known by the same name and should not be confused with the 1605 French settlement of Port-Royal National Historic Site also known as the Habitation. This new French settlement was renamed in honour of Queen Anne following the Siege of Port Royal in 1710 by Britain. The town was the capital of Acadia and later Nova Scotia for almost 150 years, until the founding of the City of Halifax in 1749. It was attacked by the British six times before permanently changing hands after the Siege of Port Royal in 1710. Over the next fifty years, the French and their allies made six unsuccessful military attempts to regain the capital. Including a raid during the American Revolution, Annapolis Royal faced a total of thirteen attacks, more than any other place in North America. As the site of several pivotal events during the early years of the colonisation of Canada, the historic core of Annapolis Royal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1994.

Battle of Port Royal (1690)

The Battle of Port Royal (19 May 1690) occurred at Port Royal, the capital of Acadia, during King William's War. A large force of New England provincial militia arrived before Port Royal. The Governor of Acadia Louis-Alexandre des Friches de Menneval had only 70 soldiers; the unfinished enceinte remained open and its 18 cannon had not been brought into firing positions; 42 young men of Port-Royal were absent. Any resistance therefore appeared useless. Meneval surrendered without resistance not long after the New Englanders arrived. The New Englanders, led by Sir William Phips, after alleging Acadian violations of the terms of surrender, plundered the town and the fort.

After the British sacked Pentagouet, the Wabanaki Confederacy's retaliated with raids along the New England border (See Siege of Pemaquid (1689) and Raid on Salmon Falls) . These attacks were coordinated from Fort Meductic in Acadia. The merchants of Salem and Boston got up a subscription, and in the spring of 1690 the government of Massachusetts organized a campaign led by William Phips against the Acadian settlements.The aftermath of the surrender of Port Royal was unlike any of the previous military campaigns against Acadia. The violence of the plunder alienated many of the Acadians from the New Englanders, broke their trust, and made future relations with their English-speaking neighbors more difficult. Meneval was replaced by Governor Joseph de Villebon who moved the capital of Acadia to Fort Nashwaak on the Saint John River for defensive purposes, and to better coordinate military attacks on New England with the natives at Meductic Indian Village / Fort Meductic.

Geography of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is a province located in Eastern Canada fronting the Atlantic Ocean. One of the Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia's geography is complex, despite its relatively small size in comparison to other Canadian provinces.

Harriette Taber Richardson

Harriette Taber Richardson (1875—1951) was involved in the rebuilding of the Habitation at Port-Royal. Richardson started the reconstruction of Port-Royal after a visit to the destroyed site in 1923. She was named one of the Persons of National Historic Significance of Canada in 1949.

History of Canada

The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Prior to European colonization, the lands encompassing present-day Canada were inhabited for millennia by Indigenous peoples, with distinct trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and styles of social organization. Some of these older civilizations had long faded by the time of the first European arrivals and have been discovered through archaeological investigations.

Starting in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions explored, colonized, and fought over various places within North America in what constitutes present-day Canada. The colony of New France was claimed in 1534 with permanent settlements beginning in 1608. France ceded nearly all its North American possessions to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French defeat in the Seven Years' War. The now British Province of Quebec was divided into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 and reunified in 1841. In 1867, the Province of Canada was joined with two other British colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia through Confederation, forming a self-governing entity named Canada. The new country expanded by incorporating other parts of British North America, finishing with Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949.

Although responsible government had existed in Canada since 1848, Britain continued to set its foreign and defence policies until the end of the First World War. The passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 recognized that Canada had become co-equal with the United Kingdom. After the Constitution was patriated in 1982, the final vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament were removed. Canada currently consists of ten provinces and three territories and is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

Over centuries, elements of Indigenous, French, British and more recent immigrant customs have combined to form a Canadian culture that has also been strongly influenced by its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States. Since the conclusion of the Second World War, Canadians have supported multilateralism abroad and socioeconomic development domestically.

List of historic places in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia

This is a list of historic places in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.

List of museums in Nova Scotia

This list of museums in Nova Scotia, Canada contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit art galleries and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Mathieu da Costa

Mathieu da Costa (sometimes d'Acosta) is the first recorded free black person in Canada. He was a member of the exploring party of Pierre Dugua, the Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century.

Port-Royal (Acadia)

Port-Royal was a settlement on the site of modern-day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, part of the French colony of Acadia. It was founded in 1629 by Sir William Alexander’s Scottish settlers and named Charlesfort. The original French settlement of Port Royal (Habitation de Port-Royal), located approximately 7 kilometres down the Annapolis Basin, had earlier established farms in the area. Upon the handing back of Acadia to the by the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye the settlement was occupied by the French and renamed Port Royal. For most of the period until the Siege of Port Royal by the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1710, the village was the capital of Acadia. Port-Royal was the primary Acadian settlement until Acadians migrated out of the community to Pisiguit, Cobequid, Grand Pre, and Beaubassin (Isthmus of Chignecto) in the 1680s.

Port Royal, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia

Port Royal is a Canadian rural community in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.It is situated on the north bank of the Annapolis Basin approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) downstream from the discharge point of the Annapolis River and the town of Annapolis Royal.

Predominantly a farming community, Port Royal is also a significant tourist destination in Nova Scotia due to being the location of a historic French colonial settlement, commemorated by Port-Royal National Historic Site, which was established in 1925. A replica of the original settlement was constructed by the Government of Canada in 1939-41.The name Port Royal was officially established for the community by the Geographical Names Board of Canada on March 2, 1950.

Public Works Construction Act

The Public Works Construction Act (the Act) was enacted in 1934 by the Parliament of Canada, providing $40 million in assistance during the Great Depression. Public works projects included many construction projects in Canada's national parks and historic sites, such as building the replica Port Royal Habitation in Nova Scotia's Port Royal National Historic Site. In Banff National Park, projects included construction of a new registration facility at Banff's east gate, and construction of an administrative building in Banff. The Act provided continued funding and expanded on funding that was available in the 1931 Unemployment and Farm Relief Act.

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