Saint Croix & Acadia Explanatory maps

Explanatory maps of Saint
Croix & Acadia/
Cartes explicatives de Ste-Croix
& de l’Acadie
A bilingual, 4-color educational map/poster
detailing Acadian settlement in 1604,
deportation, migration and resettlement with
modern demographics from the 2001 Canadian
Produced by the Canadian-American Center, University of Maine, © 2004.
Author: Stephen J. Hornsby; Cartographer: Michael J. Hermann
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The Settlement of Acadia
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This map commemorates the 400th anniversaries of the French settlements
on Saint Croix Island (Maine) in 1604 and at Port-Royal (now Annapolis
Royal, Nova Scotia) in 1605.
Although both settlements were short-lived, they mark the beginnings of a French
presence in the area that the French called Acadie (Acadia) and that today comprises
eastern Maine and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and
Prince Edward Island.
In the early 1600s, the French and the English, taking advantage of weakening Spanish power in the western
Atlantic, began to assert their claims to the eastern seaboard of North America. In the northeast, these
claims overlapped; the Gulf of Maine was soon divided between English interests in and around
Massachusetts Bay and French concerns around the Bay of Fundy.
In 1604, a French expedition led by merchant venturer Pierre Du Gua, Sieur de Monts, and including
geographer and cartographer Samuel de Champlain, arrived off the coast of what is today southwestern Nova
Scotia. After exploration of the Bay of Fundy, a settlement was established on Saint Croix Island. During the
summer and early fall of 1604, Champlain ventured along the mid-Maine coast as far as Georges River. He
named the islands of Mount Desert and Isle au Haut, both significant navigational landmarks, and explored
up the Penobscot River in search of the mythical city of Norumbega.
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The French selected Saint Croix Island because of its good location, safe anchorage, and
apparently defensible site. During the summer, houses, stores, and a chapel were
hastily erected, while gardens were planted on the island and on a neighboring river
bank. However, a bitter winter led to the abandonment of the settlement. The freezing
of the Saint Croix River left the site vulnerable to attack, while a shortage of fresh food
led to an outbreak of scurvy and the death of thirty-five men, nearly half of De Monts’
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The French first settled on Saint Croix Island in the middle of the Saint Croix River. In his
journal, Samuel de Champlain observed: “It was difficult to know this country without
having wintered there; for on arriving in summer everything is very pleasant on account of
the woods, the beautiful landscapes, and the fine fishing for the many kinds of fish we
found there. There are six months of winter in that country.”
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The following summer, De Monts and
Champlain took a small expedition
southward along the coasts of present-day
Maine and Massachusetts as far as Cape
Cod. The party entered the Kennebec and
Androscoggin rivers, sailed across Cape Cod
Bay, and reached Nauset Harbor on the
Cape. On their return, De Monts removed
the settlement from St. Croix across the Bay
of Fundy to a new location at Port-Royal
overlooking Annapolis Basin. The habitation
built at Port-Royal was a defensive structure
that accommodated the colonists, their
supplies, and workshops; it was the
forerunner of similar trading posts built by
the French elsewhere on the continent
during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. During the winter of 1605/6, a
further twelve men died of scurvy.
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In the summer of 1606, Champlain worked on
his map of the region, as well as explored
around the southern tip of Cape Cod. The
winter of 1606/7 was much easier, but just as
the small colony seemed to be establishing
itself, the French crown revoked De Monts’
charter. In the summer of 1607, all the
colonists, except a caretaker, left for France.
During their four years of colonization, the
French had acquired considerable geographical
knowledge of the region, traded with native
peoples, and shown that arable cultivation was
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Champlain’s Descr[i]psion des costes – (1607) is the first detailed European map of the Gulf of Maine. Drafted at
Port-Royal, the map shows capes, bays, islands, shoals, and rivers along the coast; heights of land useful for
navigation; and principal native settlements. Indian guides helped Champlain explore parts of the coast, and also
provided information about the interior. Of the French names given to geographical features along the Maine coast,
only Mount Desert and Isle au Haut have survived to the present.
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In the early twentieth century, French exploration and settlement of Acadia was commemorated in
Maine and Nova Scotia. In Maine, the federally-protected lands on Mount Desert Island were first
named the Sieur De Monts National Monument, then Lafayette National Park (after the
Revolutionary War hero), and finally Acadia National Park. A mountain in the park was named after
Champlain and a spring after Sieur De Monts. In Nova Scotia, the habitation at Port-Royal was
reconstructed in the 1930s and is now a National Historic Site. The names of the national park and
the reconstructed habitation are significant monuments of the Colonial Revival movement.
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Acadian Deportation, Migration
& Resettlement
The year 2005 marked the 250th anniversary of the beginning of the
deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia and adjacent areas to
points around the Atlantic rim. A defining moment in the history of
the Acadian people, the deportation also changed irrevocably the
human geography of what is today Canada’s Maritime Provinces.
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Although De Monts established a trading
post at Port-Royal in 1605, the French hold
over Acadia was fragile and intermittent
until 1632 when the Treaty of St. Germainen-Laye confirmed French possession of
the region. During the early 1630s, almost
three hundred French immigrants arrived
in the Port-Royal area. With a high birth
rate and low infant mortality, the
population reached approximately 500
people in 1671, 1,400 in 1707, and about
13,000 people in the early 1750s.
From the initial core at Port-Royal, Acadian
settlement spread around the Bay of
Fundy as well as onto Île Saint-Jean (Prince
Edward Island) and to Pentagoet at the
mouth of the Penobscot River.
population depended on mixed farming,
raising livestock and crops from dyked
marshes. At the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713,
much of the area settled by the Acadians
was transferred to the British who called
the territory Nova Scotia.
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During the early eighteenth century, the
French and the British consolidated their
respective positions in Acadia and Nova
Scotia. The French built a massive fortress
town at Louisbourg on Île Royale (Cape Breton
Island), and placed forts to command the
Chignecto Isthmus and the Saint John River.
Meanwhile, the British strengthened PortRoyal, renaming it Annapolis Royal, and then,
in 1749, constructed a fortified town at
Halifax; they also built Fort Edward
overlooking the Avon River and Fort Lawrence
at Chignecto.
Increasing friction between the British and the French in the Ohio Country led to the outbreak of
the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) in 1754. The following year, British and American
colonial forces captured Fort Beauséjour, giving them control of the Chignecto area. Concerned at
the large Acadian presence in the hinterland of Halifax and aware that many Acadians had refused
to swear loyalty to the British crown, the military governor of Nova Scotia took the fateful decision
to clear the Acadians from their settlements.
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The deportation of the Acadians began in
the fall of 1755 and lasted until 1778. The
first removals, comprising approximately
7000 people, were from settlements around
the Bay of Fundy. After the British captured
Île Royale and Île Saint-Jean and raided the
Gaspé and the Saint John River in 1758,
further Acadians were captured and
deported. Those who had sought refuge in
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon were also
removed. Farms and businesses were
destroyed. A British officer arriving at
Annapolis Royal in October 1757 observed
“ruined habitations, and extensive orchards
well planted with apple and pear trees,
bending under their weight of fruit.”
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Acadians were shipped to many points around the
Large numbers were deported to the
continental colonies, others to France. Some managed
to escape to New France (Quebec). A handful arrived
in the Upper Saint John Valley. Many moved several
times; a great number left the American colonies at
the end of the war and returned to Nova Scotia; many
of those in France moved to the French Caribbean
or to Louisiana, where they formed the basis of the
Cajun population.
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Those Acadians who returned to Nova Scotia in the 1780s and 1790s found their former settlements
occupied by American settlers and Loyalists. As a result, the Acadians occupied new areas in
western Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, the eastern shore of New
Brunswick, and the Gaspé Peninsula. In these areas, they drew a living from farming, inshore
fishing, lumbering, and shipbuilding.
Rural Acadian settlements typically comprise houses dispersed along a principal street, a large
Roman Catholic church, and distinctive vernacular housing. Cultural centers proclaim the vitality of
Acadian culture. Acadians also have moved into urban areas, particularly Halifax and Moncton.
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Find more information
about Saint Croix Island
International Historic Site
from these websites.
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Editor: Stephen J. Hornsby
Cartographers: Michael J. Hermann, Matthew Cote
Research Assistants: Hans Carlson, Elizabeth Hedler
Translator: Raymond J. Pelletier
Outreach Coordinator: Betsy Arntzen
Photographs: Stephen J. Hornsby, Claude DeGrâce
• Acadian population taken from the 2001 Canadian Census. Figures and distribution represent Statistics Canada’s
weighted aggregate of those people who entered Acadian as one of their ethnic identities on census form 2B.
H.P. Biggar (ed.), The Works of Samuel de Champlain Volume I 1599-1607. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1922.
Jean Daigle, Robert LeBlanc, “Acadian Deportation and Return” in Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I, From the
Beginning to 1800, edited by R. Cole Harris, plate 30. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.
C.E. Heidenreich, Explorations and Mapping of Samuel de Champlain, 1601-1632. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
Robert G. LeBlanc, “The Acadian Migration”, Canadian Geographic Journal; 81, no. 1 (1970): 10-19.
Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI National Resource Center program.
Produced by the Canadian-American Center Cartography Studio, University of Maine.
All rights reserved ©2004
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