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Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada


Francis Nicholson

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© Parks Canada











As the commander-in-chief of an expedition to regain Nova Scotia/Acadia, Francis Nicholson sailed from Boston in September, 1710, determined to overtake the garrison at Port-Royal. His flotilla comprised five British warships, 30 transports and approximately 2,000 men—British and New England officers, 400 British marines and 1,500 recruits.

The fleet entered the basin leading to Port-Royal in early October. Under the cover of guns, Nicholson disembarked his infantry beyond the range of the fort, beginning a siege that soon gave his forces the upper hand. Facing overwhelming odds, Governor Daniel d’ Auger de Subercase surrendered the fort a week later. During the final transfer a few days later, Subercasé handed Nicholson the keys to the garrison on the bridge of the fort gate.

The victory gave the English control over the Port-Royal fort and over the inhabitants living within a five-kilometre radius of the fort. The jubilant victors renamed Port- Royal, Annapolis Royal, in honor of Queen Anne. The “Royal,” according to historians, may have been added to distinguish it from Annapolis, Maryland, which Nicholson named while serving as governor of Maryland from 1694 to 1699.

The battle ended Port-Royal’s final command as the French capital. Nicholson served as governor of Nova Scotia from 1712 to 1714. He died in London around 1728 and is buried in the parish of St. George in Hanover Square.