Monday, December 22, 2008

Images of Port Royal - part 2

Today, I am going to post a few more of the images I took at the Port Royal Habitation before I left on my trip to Ontario. As I previously mentioned, the Habitation is one of my favorite heritage sites. The themes of early European exploration, interaction of the French with the region's native population, the Mi'Kmaq, and the eventual destruction of the site at the hands of the British are fascinating. In addition to this, the Habitation has an interpretive staff which any historic site should envy. The historic interpreters understand their story and themes that they are trying to relate to their visitors. This is sadly not always the case at historic sites. In addition, the interpreters have a wonderful ability to communicate their story with passion and pride.

While I am on the topic of Port Royal, perhaps I should offer a bit of clarification about the name. This is something which confuses many of our visitors and researchers. The written record has some debate about the origin of the name. Samuel de Champlain claims that he named the area port Royal as the basin was a natural harbour big enough to house the entire French Royal fleet. The French lawyer and writer Marc Lescarbot, who arrived the year after the founding of Port Royal, claims that it was Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts who named it. Despite the debate, it was indeed named Port Royal.

After the destruction of the Habitation in 1613, there was only a small French population in the area. When the French, the ancestors of the Acadians, returned in greater numbers in 1636, the region still bore this name. In fact, to the Acadians, any of the area surrounding what is currently called the Annapolis Basin was known as Port Royal. When the British captured the Fort at Port Royal (now Fort Anne) in 1710, the area was renamed Annapolis Royal in honour of Queen Anne, the reigning British monarch. Francis Nicholson, the same man who named Annapolis, Maryland, named Annapolis Royal. At this time, the name Port Royal gets put on the shelf for a while and it is not until 1939 that the name Port Royal returns. With the opening of the reconstruction of the Habitation, the community which had been named Lower Granville is renamed Port Royal. This community continues under the name Port Royal.

To simpilify, there are three Port Royals. The first is the French trading post which lasted from 1605 to 1613. The second is the Acadian community which lasted from 1636 to 1710. The third is the modern community which was named in 1939.

All for now,
RGS

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