History

Who lived here long, long ago? What do we know about them? Before the arrival of voyageurs and immigrants from other continents, the Mi’kmaq were the First People of Nova Scotia. What can we learn from the vestiges left behind? We can find evidence at Kejimkujik National Park, at the Mi’kmaw Trail, in Louisbourg, atBlomidon, at Merigomish Harbour, at the Shubenacadie Canal, the Isgonish-French River Portage, and in Shubenacadie. How did they live? What were their stories? The legend of Gluskap remains.

Where did Nova Scotia’s immigrants come from? What caused them to leave their homelands and travel to the New World? Did they find safety and prosperity in this new land? Many people have called Nova Scotia home. And while those who lived here were not always free to shape their own destinies, our history is built on the diversity, strength, and courage of those who came before us. Many, many people shaped this land.

1500’s – Mi’Kmaq had summer fishing camps on Grassy Island and traded frequently with French and Basque fisherman.

1520 Although various nations had tried to chart a course to Asia, or to map the land they found, not many tried to stay or form a colony. Portuguese explorer, he is believed to have attempted to settle the New World, possibly at Ingonish or Mira Bay on Cape Breton Island.

1604 Champlain and de Monts site and map LeHave in present day Lunenburg County. A military fort is developed at Port Royal in 1604 as well as a small civilian community at Le Have by 1634. Acadia takes shapeToday, at the Historic Gardensat Annapolis Royal agricultural practices and themed gardens starting from the earliest settlers to the most recent can be seen .

1610 What was the first contact between the French and the Mi’kmaq like? It must have gone well as Grand Chief Membertou and his family became the first known Mi’kmaw people to convert to Christianity.

1621 King James VI of Scotland (son of Mary, Queen of Scots) grants lands to Sir William Alexander that includes today’s Maritime Provinces and the peninsula of Gaspé. Unaware that the French are already there, New Scotland is formed. For the next century England and France would fight for control of Acadia, plunging all its inhabitants into war and uncertainty.

1627 England and France go to war, England gains control of Acadia.

1629 The first Scottish settlement in Baleine is established and a fort built. A few months later the French destroy it and remove the settlers.

1632 Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye restored Acadia to French control.

1636 – Guysborough was founded when Nicholas Denys, a French trader established a fishing station here and called it “Chedabouctou,” after the Mi’kmaq name for the area.

1651 Philippe d’Entremont founds the settlement of Pubnico. Today a Cenotaphcommemorates the 300th anniversary of the event.

1654 English regain control of all French settlements in Acadia.

1655 – The French were the first European visitors to Sherbrooke in Guysborough County.

1683 – Fort St.Louis was built and Chedabouctou (Guysborough County) became a major center in Acadie.

1670 Treaty of Breda returns Acadia to the French. Charles Melanson and his family move to the Port Royal area. Today the Melanson Settlement has been preserved.

1679 An Acadian community forms at Belleisle.

1680 A group of Acadians move from Port Royal and form a community at Grand Pré.

1689 King Louis XIV grants the Cobequid Seigneury to Mathieu Martin. A Community Well in Old Barns is the only thing that remains today of the Acadian settlement.

1690 – New England privateers sacked Fort St.Louis, which diminished strong Acadian presence at Chedabouctou (Guysborough County).

1697 Treaty of Ryswick cedes Acadian back to France.

1699 French settlers are active in Port Roseway. A millstone used by Philippe d’Entremont to grind grainscan be seen today in West Pubnico.