The First Soldiers of New France

The First Permanent Colonies


Abitasion' [sic] or Habitation of Port-Royal, constructed in 1605

Caption: Abitasion' [sic] or Habitation of Port-Royal, constructed in 1605

Sieur de Monts, the lieutenant-general and vice-admiral of the colony, obtained the monopoly on the natural resources of New France for several years. He was responsible for establishing the first permanent French settlements, in both Acadia, where he constructed the forts of Saint-Croix and Port-Royal, and in the St. Lawrence Valley, where he had the first fort built in Quebec. The Acadian colonies developed good relations with the Amerindian tribes occupying this territory, namely the Micmacs and Abenakis, although these settlements became embroiled in disputes among the European nations that wanted to appropriate this land for themselves. The colonies in the St. Lawrence Valley, however, were perpetually drawn into conflict with Amerindians.

The history of the Acadian settlements is full of turbulence, periods of abandonment, capture and recapture. In 1604, Sieur de Monts, whose monopoly covered only Acadia at the time, sent a first expedition to Saint-Croix and had a fort built there. When an outbreak of scurvy killed 35 of the 80 residents, the survivors moved to Port-Royal, where they constructed a new Habitation. In 1613, Englishmen from Virginia razed all the French positions in Acadia. Port-Royal arose again from the ashes in 1620, and a new Habitation was built farther north, at Miscou, near the entrance to Chaleur Bay. However, the British colonies developed rapidly after 1621, and by 1629 the British flag was once again flying over the fort at Port-Royal. The treaty of 1632 returned Acadia to France, but only for a short time because the British were still claiming this land.

Additional Images

St Croix Island
Reconstruction of the 1605 Habitation of Port Royal, now a National Historic Site
Map of New France by Samuel de Champlain, 1613
Plan of the French settlement at Isle Sainte-Croix in 1604
Mme Françoise-Marie Jacquelin de La Tour (1602-1645)