Fort Sainte Marie de Grace National Historic Site of Canada
LaHave, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, Andrew Waldron, 2010.
LaHave, Nova Scotia
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1632 to 1632
Event, Person, Organization:
Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye
Commander Isaac de Razilly
Fort Sainte Marie de Grace
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: Lighthouse Reserve, mouth of La Have river LaHave, Nova Scotia
Following the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye in 1632, France determined to established permanent settlements in Acadia. Isaac de Razilly was appointed Lieutenant-General. Here he built a fort and established the capital of the colony.Additional plaque:
In 1604, Samuel de Champlain mapped and named this fine harbour Port de la Hève. After the 1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which returned Acadia to France, Lieutenant-General Isaac de Razilly built Fort Sainte Marie de Grace and established a colony here, asserting French claims to the area’s rich resources of fish and fur. One of the early permanent settlements in Acadia, it also served as the capital from 1632 until de Razilly’s death in 1636, when it was abandoned for Port-Royal. The fort was destroyed by fire in 1653, but remains along the eroding shore were still visible until the early 1900s.
Description of Historic Place
Fort Sainte Marie de Grace National Historic Site of Canada is strategically located at LaHave, Nova Scotia, on a point of land where the LaHave River narrows. The land upon which the original fort was built has now eroded away; a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada cairn, which marks the site, is situated near the original location of the fort. Official recognition refers to the small plot of land approximately equivalent to the footprint of the cairn.
Fort Sainte Marie de Grace was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1924 because: it was one of the permanent settlements established in Acadia after the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye in 1632; it was here that Isaac de Razilly built a fort and established the capital of the colony of Acadia.
Following the signing of the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye in 1632, the area around the LaHave River narrows was returned to French settlers, who established permanent settlements in Acadia, where fishing and fur trapping resources were abundant. Commander Isaac de Razilly, first Viceroy and Lieutenant-General of Acadia, and a Knight of Malta, built a fort and established the capital of the colony. The fort became a farming colony of around 40 residents, complete with a local mill and chapel. After de Razilly’s sudden death in 1636, most of the settlers moved to Port Royal. The fort was destroyed by fire in the 1650s.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, April 2008.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: its location on Fort Point, on the west side of the mouth of the LaHave River, where the river narrows; its strategic setting in an area rich in resources such as fishing, trapping, and lumber, leading to the growth of Acadia; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains relating to the original site; viewscapes overlooking the LaHave River.