American History- Acadian Colony

For those students interested in knowing a little more about the first permanent colony in North America, here are a couple of websites for you.

Please note that the correct date is not 1605, but 1604. This should be a good learning lesson for everybody:

Just because it’s written in a history book or on a website, it may not be entirely accurate.

For our serious history buffs, here’s some additional information from an Acadian genealogical website:

Have fun researching!!!

Acadian Historical Timeline 

* Remember, l'Acadie or Acadia, started as 1 small settlement that quickly grew into several settlements. They were still considered Acadia, but had their own specific names like, "Port Royal," "Beaubassin,"                                                         "St. Charles des Mines," etc.

** Also remember that part of Acadia extended into present day Maine. 


Pierre de Guast, Sieur de Monts, from Saintonge, was given a fur trade monopoly for Acadia. Backed by merchants, de Monts sailed to Acadia with 79 men in 1604. They explored the Baie Francoise (Bay of Fundy). One of their stops was Cape D'Or (Golden Cape), where they found copper mines ... hence the name Les Mines. They sailed into the Basin and found a large amethyst on Partridge Island. It was broken in two and De Monts brought one piece back and had it made into jewelry for the King and Queen. [Herbin]

De Monts didn't like the rocky cliffs at Blomidon. He didn't go far enough to see the rich lands of Grand Pre a few miles to the south, and left the head north. He and his men stayed on an island on the St. Croix River.
It was thought that the area offered protection from raiders. Francois Grave Du Pont and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt sailed back to France before winter. French noblemen, Catholic & Protestant clergy, laborers, and artisans were in the first group of men. Over the winter, 35 men died. Besides the weather, scurvy was a problem. In The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents ... 1610-1791, ed. R.G. Thwaites, Father Pierre Briard wrote that of the 79, only 11 remained well.

Grave Du Pont arrived back at St. Croix in June 1605 with 2 ships, men, and supplies. They spent 6 weeks exploring the coast (all the way down to Cape Cod) to find a better place to settle. They chose a spot on the north side of the basin, opposite Goat Island, which became Port Royal. They built structures at Port Royal using the materials from the buildings they had constructed on Ile St. Croix. Grave Du Pont and Champlain and 45 men remained that winter, while de Monts and Poutrincourt returned to France.

Poutrincourt returned to Port Royal in July 1606 with 50 men (including his son Biencourt, Louis Hebert, and Marc Lescarbot) and supplies. He found that all but 2 men had left for Canso, where the fishing was good. They men were called back and attempts at farming were begun. They built a lime kiln and set up a forge. Paths were cut from the settlement to the valley and fields. Tradesmen would work at their trade for part of the day, and spend the rest hunting, fishing, and collecting shellfish. [Clark, p. 79]
Poutrincourt and Champlain visited the north side of the Basin of Minas that year. They found a cross ... old, rotten, and covered in moss. Christians had been here at some time in the past ... perhaps itinerant fisherman or another explorer. [Herbin, p. 22]
Our best record of those days can be found in Marc Lescarbot's History of New France, where he tells of "the pleasure which I took in digging and tilling my gardens, fencing them in against the gluttony of the swine, making terraces, preparing straight alleys, building store-houses, sowing wheat, rye, barley, oats, beans, peas, garden plants, and watering them, so great a desire had I to know the soil by personal experience." The rye, he tells, grew "as tall as the tallest man." Seeds were planted in March/April to see how early they'd "take." Hogs and sheep were brought to Acadia the year before (1605). Lescarbot tells how the hogs multiplied quickly and how they liked to lay abroad, even in the snow. There weren't many sheep (he says he had one). They also had hens and pigeons, though they didn't reproduce well. The ships brought the gray rat to Acadia with them. A water-powered gristmill was constructed to grind the grain. There's mention of an axe, hoe, and spade, but not a plow.

The group fared well that 1606-07 winter. But when the weather warmed up and ships began making the trek across the ocean, news came that de Monts grant was revoked. Though the official reason for canceling the monopoly was that  he hadn't fulfilled the obligation of converting the Indians to Christianity, the real reason probably had to do with jealousy on the part of other French merchants. [Daigle, p. 384] In addition, de Monts had taken the wrong side in that year's civil war politics in France. When the fur trade monopoly was taken from De Monts in 1607, the colonists abandoned Acadia and left the settlement under the care of the Indians. [Daigle, p. 19]
Before going, they visited St. Croix again, and the copper "mines" (actually the deposits were in the Cape Chignecto region). It is thought that this was a stall tactic so that they could collect the ripe grain to show everyone back home.  

The first formal Acadian Census took place in Port Royal in 1671. One of the first in Canada, the total count was 392 people, 482 cattle, and 524 sheep! In the 1680s and 1690s many people left Port Royal and settled other areas.

In 1609, Marc Lescarbot drew maps of Acadia and of the Port Royal area. His map of Acadia has the word Souriquois, which was an early name for the Mi'kmaq Indians (pronounced mick-mawk). The maps can be found in his book, Histoire de la Nouvelle France.