INDEPTH: CHAMPLAIN ANNIVERSARY|
Main page: introduction
Alison Hancock, CBC News Online | June 23, 2004
In June 1604, Pierre du Gua de Monts and Samuel de Champlain sailed into Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin, naming the surrounding area Port Royal.
Although Champlain considered the site suitable for settlement, de Monts wanted to explore further. The French sailed on across the Bay of Fundy and named the Saint John River on June 24th St. John the Baptist's Day.
June, 2004 Ste-Croix celebrations
A few days later they chose an island in the St. Croix river, which today forms the Canada-U.S. border between New Brunswick and Maine. Here they built their settlement, and returned the following year to the Annapolis Basin.
By the early 1600s, a busy fur trade was flourishing in the St. Lawrence which,
together with the fishery, brought fleets of ships from the European
sea ports each season. But French monarchs had been preoccupied
with wars against Spain, and with the Wars of Religion, and paid little attention
to establishing a permanent settlement in New France.
But in 1598 the Treaty of Vervins brought peace, and France saw the dawn of
a new era of colonization. In 1603, Pierre du Gua de Monts, a Protestant
merchant and favourite of the King, proposed a colony to the south of
the St. Lawrence, where it was hoped the climate would be more favourable.
Henry IV agreed, and named de Monts Lieutenant-General of all lands between
the 40th and 46th parallels, lands which he called “La Cadie.”
Henry IV of France
The goals of this colonization effort were to convert the population
of “God-less barbarians” to Christianity, and to search
for mines in the hope of finding riches similar to those of Peru and
The expedition of 1604 was not Champlain's first voyage to the New World. In
1599 he had sailed to the West Indies, and in 1603 visited the St. Lawrence. In 1604, his role was that of geographer and cartographer, and his detailed charts and maps would guide navigators throughout the 17th century.
This year's anniversary is being widely celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. The Royal Canadian mint is issuing a 2004 Silver Dollar to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first French settlement in North America. The coin was designed by artist Robert-Ralph Carmichael, who crafted the familiar "loonie" dollar and several other high-value Canadian coins.
There will be a reconstruction of the Ste-Croix Island settlement on the mainland, at Bayside, New Brunswick, and a historical re-enactment on the island itself on June 26th.
And in France, la Maison Champlain is being built at Brouage, the explorer's
birthplace. It will house a digital archive of the heritage France and
|From 'La Cadie' to Acadia:|
There are two theories as to the source of the name of Canada's Maritime provinces.|
The explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailed the American coast on behalf of King Francis I of France in 1524. He called the coast around Washington "Arcadia," because it reminded him of Virgil's mythical land.
However in 1603, King Henry IV of France, commissioned de Monts to colonize "the country of La Cadie," lands between Philadelphia and Cape Breton. "Cadie" is a common aboriginal word for "place", and many modern names end in "cadie" or its variant "quoddy": Tracadie, Shubenacadie, Pasmaquoddy.
Throughout his writings Champlain uses Arcadie and its variants: Acadia, Acadia, L'Arcadie, L'Accadie, and L'Acadie.
When Henry used "La Cadie" in his commission to de Monts, it was the first time the name appeared in an official document:
"We have therefore expressly commissioned and appointed you … our Lieutenant-General to represent our person in the countries, territories, coasts and confines of La Cadie, commencing from the fortieth degree unto the forty-sixth; ...to render obedient thereto all the tribes of this land... and instruct them... to the knowledge of God and to the light of the Christian faith."
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The Works of Champlain and The History of New France by Marc Lescarbot are available at: The Champlain Society
Champlain by Joe C. W. Armstrong (MacMillan of Canada, 1987)
The Beginnings of New France 1524-1663 by Marcel Trudel (McLelland and Stewart, 1973)
Samuel de Champlain: Father of New France by Samuel Eliot Morison (Little Brown and Company, 1972)