Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nova Scotia Day, September 10

Tomorrow, September 10, is Nova Scotia Day. While it is still not an official holiday, Nova Scotia Day was enacted by the Provincial Legislature in 2009 to commemorate the granting of the Royal Charter of Nova Scotia in 1621. This charter, granted by Britain's King James I to Sir William Alexander, first Earl of Stirling, is in many ways the birth certificate for Nova Scotia. From this document we take the name Nova Scotia, our provincial Coat of Arms and the basis of our flag. Since the Charter is written in Latin, as all important documents were at the time, the name of New Scotland appears as Nova Scotia. I guess that Nova Scotia was easier on the tongue than the English New Scotland or the Gaelic Alba Nuadh because the name stuck. One of the original 1621 copies of the Royal Charter of Nova Scotia Can be found at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal. In my personal opinion, this may be the most important archival document in Nova Scotia.

It took a failed settlement attempt plus a good deal of financial manoeuvring before Sir William Alexander was able to establish a Scottish colony in the New World. In 1629, an expedition under the leadership of William Alexander Jr. arrived in the basin the French had named Port Royal. Sailing by the burned remains of the French Habitation, Alexander and a group of 70 settlers established a colony at the convergence of the Annapolis and Allains Rivers. Here they established a small fort named Charlesfort in honour of King Charles I who had ascended the Throne in 1625. This little Scottish colony survived until the land was ceded back to France in 1632.

If you are in Annapolis Royal tomorrow there will be a series of events to celebrate Nova Scotia Day. At Fort Anne there will be music, dramatic vignettes, the launch of a website on the Charter of Nova Scotia and an opportunity to become a Knight of Fort Anne. Later in the afternoon a bagpiper will appropriately lead a procession from Fort Anne to the O'Dell House Museum where the final installment of the dramatic vignettes will take place on the backyard stage. If you look closely, I will be one of the actors in this production. The final part of the festivities at the O'Dell House Museum highland dancing lesson and refreshments. This should be a fun day.

The images in tonight's post are of the Charlesfort National Historic Site Monument at Fort Anne and the view of the Annapolis Basin from the monument. This view is essentially the same view that William Alexander Jr. and his Scottish settlers would have seen when they were here between 1629 and 1632.

All for now,
RGS

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