Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons

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Bust of Pierre Du Gua de Mons in Quebec City by Hamilton MacCarthy; installed on July 3, 2007,[1] it is an exact copy of the one in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Pierre Du Gua de Monts, (Du Gua de Monts; c. 1564 – 1628) was a French merchant, explorer and colonizer. A Protestant, he was born in Royan, France and had a great influence over the first two decades of the 17th century. He travelled to northeastern North America for the first time in 1599 with Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit.[2]

In 1603, Henry IV, the King of France, granted Du Gua exclusive right to colonize lands in North America between 40°–60° North latitude. The King also gave Du Gua a monopoly in the fur trade for these territories and named him Lieutenant General for Acadia and New France. In return, Du Gua promised to bring 60 new colonists each year to what would be called l'Acadie.

In 1604, Du Gua organized an expedition and left France with 79 settlers including Royal cartographer Samuel de Champlain, the Baron de Poutrincourt, apothecary Louis Hébert, a priest Nicolas Aubry, and Mathieu de Costa: a legendary linguist, the first registered black man to set foot in North America, and a Protestant member of the clergy.[3]

Entering Baie Française (the Bay of Fundy) in June 1604, he and his settlers founded a colony on St. Croix Island. Numerous settlers succumbed to the harsh winter climate and malnutrition disease as they exhausted the limited natural resources on the island. The colony moved to better land on the south shore of Baie Française at Port-Royal in 1605.

In 1606, Hendrick Lonck, the Dutch West India Company sea captain boarded two of Du Gua's boats, and pillaged them for furs and munitions.[4] The Port-Royal settlement survived and prospered somewhat until 1607 when other merchants protested the monopoly, which the King had to revoke. As a consequence, Du Gua and the settlers had to abandon the colony and return to France.

Du Gua then turned his attention to the colony of Nouvelle-France in the St. Lawrence River valley, after ceding Port-Royal to Poutrincourt. He never came back to the New World but he sent Champlain to open a colony at Quebec in 1608, thus playing a major role in the foundation of the first permanent French colony in North America.

Henry IV appointed him as Governor of the Protestant city of Pons, Charente-Maritime from 1610 to 1617, when he retired. He died in 1628, in the nearby castle of Ardenne in Fleac-Sur-Seugne.

References[edit]

  1. ^ On July, 3 2007: Unveiling of the bust of Pierre Du Gua de Mons in Québec City, on the previous "Mont du Gas" [sic] (the local summit, so named by Champlain in 1608), then known as the "Terrasse Saint-Denis", from now renamed (French) "Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-De Mons".
  2. ^ Du Gua de Monts, Pierre [sic] at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  3. ^ John G. Reid (2004). The "conquest" of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. University of Toronto Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8020-8538-2. 
  4. ^ Vaugeois, Denis; Raymonde Litalien, Käthe Roth (2004). Champlain: The Birth of French America. Translated by Käthe Roth. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 146, 242. ISBN 0-7735-2850-4.