History Timeline 1600s

Picture above: Pocahontas, Source: World Noted Women, D. Appleton and Company, 1883, Wikipedia Commons. Right: Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, New England Chromo. Lithograph Company, 1870. Courtesy Library of Congress.


Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s


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  • Timeline

  • 1613-1614 Detail

    July 2, 1613 to Spring 1614 - New France colony of Port Royal destroyed by Samuel Argall of Great Britain, then abandoned.

    Samuel Argall and Port Royal

    Pierre Dugua Sieur de Mons had moved the colony to Port Royal, twenty-five leagues (about eight-six miles) from the original settlement at St. Croix Island in today's Maine in August 1605 after their first harsh winter there. It would be known the Habitation at Port-Royal, situated on the north shore of the Annapolis Basin, with a port capable of holding several hundred ships. Dugua would oversee its construction, with Samuel de Champlain and Captain Francois Pont-Grave' as his compatriots, then leave the colony for France, never to return. The settlement was quickly built. It was sixty feet long and forty-eight feet wide, included a bastion with four guns, and homes for the settlers. Champlain would use the habitation as his base for several years of exploring the area and expanding the fur trade under Dugua's monopoly, which would only last for two years.

    Jean Biencourt de Poutrincourt had arrived in 1606 as lieutenant governor with fifty new settlers. He had been on the original expedition to St. Croix, but had returned to France before the winter. Poutrincourt accompanied Champlain on his exploratory missions, expanded the settlement, built one of the first, if not the first, grist mills in North America, and made friends with the native population. However, the next year, Champlain, Poutrincourt, and the rest of the de Mons settlers were ordered back to France after his trade monopoly was revoked. The settlement was left in the hands of the Mikmaq native chief Membertou, essentially on hold.

    Champlain would return in 1608 to New France and settle the Quebec Habitation while Poutrincourt returned to Port Royal two years later to rekindle the colony with his son, a few other men, and with Jesuit missionaries, whom he often disagreed. The Jesuits and Poutrincourt continued to disagree on how Port Royal shuld be run, forcing Poutrincourt to return to France while leaving behind his son Biencourt in charge, plus a few followers. Poutrincourt still held tight to the rights to Port Royal amid rising debt. While Poutrincourt was in France, the Jesuits decided to move to a new settlement, Saint-Sauveur, near today's Penobscot, Maine.

    None of this pleased the English.

    Argall and Great Britain Destroy Port Royal

    Samuel Argall had been named the Admiral of Virginia in on July 23, 1612, and given orders to rid the French colonies from what Great Britain considered their territory, i.e. the Colony of Virginia, which they considered to extend north into Acadia. Argall, who had been running supply ships and other missions for the Virginia Company of London at Jamestown, finally began his expedition as Admiral during the spring of 1613, first eradicating the Jesuit mission at Saint-Sauveur, then taking the remnants of the colonists there back to Jamestown. In October, he came north again, first destroying the remaining structures at St. Croix Island, then heading toward Port Royal.

    He arrived on November 1, 1613, with the remaining settlers away up river, and sacked every building of Port Royal while gathering their remaining supplies for transport back to Jamestown.

    Passage from "Canada: the Empire of the North," 1909, Agnes C. Laut

    ... but Argall was promptly sent north again with his prisoners, and three frigates to lay waste every vestige of French settlement from Maine to St. John. Mount Desert, the ruins of Ste. Croix, the fortress beloved by Poutrincourt at Port Royal, the ripening wheat of Annapolis Basin--all fed the flames of Argall's zeal; and young Biencourt's wood runners, watching from the forests the destruction of all their hopes, the ruin of all their plans, ardently begged their young commander to parley with Argall that they might obtain the Jesuit Biard and hang him to the highest tree. To his coming they attributed all the woes. It was as easy for them to believe that the Jesuit had piloted the English destroyer to Port Royal, as it had been ten years before for the Catholics to accuse the Huguenots of murdering the lost priest Aubry; and there was probably as much truth in one charge as the other.

    So fell Port Royal; but out round the ruins of Port Royal, where the little river runs down to the sea past Goat Island, young Biencourt and his followers took to the woods -- the first of that race of bush lopers, half savages, half noblemen, to render France such glorious service in the New World.

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    As noted in the passage above, Charles de Biencourt, son of Pourtrincourt, and his men would survive. When Poutrincout returned in the spring of 1614, he found the settlement of Port Royal destroyed. His son and followers were still living with the Micmaq and at a mill upstream and would remain when Poutrincourt returned to France. There are some who still consider the colony as permanently existing even after its destruction, however, many historian believe that this departure makes the settlement at Quebec the oldest continous settlement and colony of New France. Port Royal, as an entity, would not be reestablished again until 1629, five miles up river, by Scottish immigrants.

    Today you can visit the Port-Royal National Historic Site that tells the history of the habitation. The fort was reconstructed from 1939-1941 and remains a great example of the colonial settlement that stems back to St. Croix Island and the Port Royal Habitation.

    Image Above: Montage of Samuel Argall (left), unknown date and author. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons; and Map of Port Royal and Annapolis Basin (right) in 1609, Lescarbot. Courtesy Gutenberg Project via Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Montage of Port Royal Historic Site today (background), 2015, Madereugeneandrew. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons; and Champlain drawing of Port Royal Habitation (inset), 1612, Samuel de Champlain. Courtesy Gutenberg Project via Wikipedia Commons. Info source: Port Royal Historic Site; "Canada: the Empire of the North," 1909, Agnes C. Laut; "Expedition of Samuel Argall," 1841, George Folso; Library of Congress; Wikipedia.

    Port Royal Historic Site and Colony

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