Friday, May 15, 2009

Rebuilding the Port Royal Habitation Part 3

Today's post is the third in a series of posts containing images of the reconstruction of the Port Royal Habitation in 1939. Today is a particularly appropriate day to write about the reconstructed Habitation because the site has officially opened for the season. If you have not visited this site before, I highly recommend taking a trip. The professional and knowledgeable staff of the Habitation are among the best historic interpreters that I have ever seen. It is also interesting to see the site itself since it is a very interesting structure.

The Habitation is a reconstruction of the settlement established by Pierre DuGua, Sieur de Monts in 1605. The person who has become the most notable among the original residents of the Habitation is Samuel de Champlain. Prior to 1605, the French had made a handful of attempts to establish settlements in New France and the area they called Acadie. There had in fact been failed settlements in Tadoussac, Sable Island and de Monts own failure on Isle St. Croix in 1604.

In the Spring of 1605 a decision was made to move the remains of the Isle St. Croix settlement to the area which Champlain had named Port Royal the previous year. Their plan was to make this a temporary trading post while they looked for a better venue along the coast. What they found along the coast of New England were native populations who wanted no part of the European explorers. A few tense encounters eventually led to bloodshed with people killed on both sides. The French eventually decided to take their chances at Port Royal where they had friendly relations with the local Mi'Kmaq population. This settlement lasted until 1613 when a British expedition from Virginia arrived to destroy the French settlement.

A few more posts on this topic are probably warranted. In the next one, I will try to deal with the community of Lower Granville which was renamed Port Royal in 1939.

All for now,
RGS

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