When French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons pointed his vessels west along the coast crossing Passamaquoddy Bay, they arrived at Sainte-Croix Island to establish the first permanent French settlement in North America.
They built houses and service buildings, gardens, and a chapel, following a plan envisioned by Samuel De Champlain. The "capital of l'Acadie,” was to be a year-round territory but that winter, nearly half of the settlers lost their lives to scurvy and exposure.
Though the settlement was moved to the southern shores of the Bay of Fundy, the insights gained here helped build an enduring French presence in North America.
Today, St. Croix Island is uninhabited, but interpretive sites on both sides of the St. Croix River evoke the settlement’s significance. The Canadian side explores how St. Croix Island helped entrench French culture and Acadian pride for the generations that followed.