This Week in History
Sir William Alexander's Scottish colony of Nova Scotia
For the week of Monday September 6, 2010
Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (ca. 1577-1640), born in Scotland, began his life as a writer and a poet. His works not only won him praise from his contemporaries, they also brought him to the attention of King James I. During his time at court and as a member of the Scottish Privy Council, a body that advised the King on Scottish affairs, Sir William promoted Scottish participation in England’s expansion overseas, but also warned the King of the hesitation felt by Scots about immigrating to the British colonies in North America. Sir William believed that if land could be designated for a specifically Scottish colony, like New France and New England, then more Scots would immigrate. The King thus granted Sir William a large land mass encompassing the Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula.
Scottish occupation of Charles Fort, however, was short-lived. Much of the territory of New Scotland had already been claimed and occupied by the French and was known as Acadia. The colonial rivalries over North American territory were revived, but tough negotiations led to the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1632. The disputed land, along with the rest of New France (Acadia and Canada), was officially returned to France. The Scottish settlers left for England.
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