History & Culture
Saint Croix Island is the 1604 site of the first French attempt to colonize the territory they called l'Acadie and the location of one of the earliest European settlements in North America. Members of a French expedition led by Pierre Dugua, intending to colonize North America, settled the island in 1604.
Seventy-nine members of the expedition, including Samuel Champlain, passed the severe winter of 1604-1605 on the island. Thirty-five settlers died, apparently of scurvy, and were buried in a small cemetery on Saint Croix Island. In spring 1605 the survivors left the island and founded the settlement of Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
To better understand the story of those who endured that winter on Saint Croix Island and the impact of their attempt at settlement, view this short movie (requires a browser with the Macromedia Shockwave plugin) and the timeline of Saint Croix Island's past 400 years.
Did You Know?
Saint Croix Island was originally called “Muttoneguis” by the Native Americans who had used it for many years before the French arrived. The island is protected today as part of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.