Port-Royal Habitation

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Port-Royal Habitation (1605-1623) - A French Colonial fortified habitation established in 1605 near the present day town of Port Royal, Nova Scotia. Abandoned in 1623.

Port-Royal Habitation Gun Deck.
Port-Royal Habitation Interior Courtyard.
Port-Royal Habitation Replica Exterior, Gun Platform on Left, Palisade on Right.


Established in 1605 by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons and explorer Samuel de Champlain who removed a struggling colony from Saint Croix Island in Maine and established a fortified habitation within the sheltered harbor of Port-Royal, Nova Scotia. The Port-Royal name was given by Champlain to the entire Annapolis River basin and the name Port-Royal Habitation applies to the settlement.

Port-Royal Plan from Champlain's Journal.
Port-Royal Habitation Gun Deck Exterior.

The habitation structure was complete enough to be occupied before the first winter set in. The settlers were able to establish friendly relations with the Mi'kmaq Indians and their chief Membertou.

The Habitation itself consisted of sixteen structures arranged in a rectangle with an open central core. These structures were joined together to form a solid wall around the central core. At the southwest corner, a protected platform extended out from the core with provisions for mounting four cannons and able to fire in three directions. At the southeast corner was a palisaded platform also extending out from the core with provisions for guards to fire muskets on an approaching enemy

In 1607 Pierre Dugua lost his trading monopoly over the area and most of the colonists returned to France. The Habitation was left in the hands of the Mi'kmaq Indians and chief Membertou.

In 1610, Jean de Poutrincourt returned to the Habitation but the expected financial support was lost. In 1613 an English expedition under Captain Samuel Argall from Virginia looted and burned the habitation and left it in ruins. Colonists survived the winter with the help of the Mi'kmaq. Poutrincourt returned the following spring to find the Habitation still in ruins. Discouraged, he returned to France and transferred his holdings to his son Charles de Biencourt de Saint-Just.

Charles de Biencourt and Charles de la Tour who had both remained in the area of the Habitation, lived amongst the Mi'kmaq as traders. Charles de Biencourt died in 1623 and left La Tour as his heir. La Tour took charge of the remaining colony, moved it from Port-Royal to Cap de Sable, present-day Port La Tour, and there established Fort Lomeron and later Fort St. Louis.

Port-Royal Habitation Common Dining Area.
Port-Royal Habitation Trading Store.

Current Status

Part of the Port-Royal National Historic Site. The site features a replica of the habitation, built in 1939, following the plan recorded in Samuel de Champlain's journal.

Location: Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.71138 Long: -65.60976

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

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Visited: 1 Jun 2018

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