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Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

A Place to Settle

Sieur de Mons named the island Saint Croix Island, and Champlain recorded that:

" The island is covered with fir, birch, maple, and oak. It is naturally well located... and is easy to fortify... We considered this the best place we had seen on account of its location, fine surroundings and the interaction we were expecting with the Aboriginal peoples of these coasts and the interior, since we are in their midst... Around our settlement at low tide there are plenty of shellfish—such as clams, mussels, sea-urchins, and snails... "

(French quotations are from vol.1 of Champlain Society's 1971 ed., of Champlain's 1613 ed., Voyages du Sieur de Champlain. The 17 th century French has been transcribed into modern usage.)

Detail, with modern legend, from Champlain's sketch of Saint Croix Island
Detail, with modern legend, from Champlain's sketch of Saint Croix Island
© Parks Canada / Samuel Champlain / The Rare Book Collection, National Library of Canada
Click here to view a larger version.

Legend

A. Plan of the Habitation
B. Gardens
C. Small island serving as a cannon platform
D. Platform for the cannon
E. Cemetery
F. Chapel
G. Rocky shoals around Saint Croix Island
H. Small island
I. Site where the Sieur de Mons began construction of a water mill
L. Place where charcoal was made
M. Gardens on the western mainland
N. Other gardens on the eastern mainland
O. Large, very tall mountain on shore
P. River of the Etechemins surrounding Saint Croix Island