When French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons pointed his vessels west along the coast crossing Passamaquoddy Bay, they arrived at Sainte-Croix Island to establish the first permanent French settlement in North America.

They built houses and service buildings, gardens, and a chapel, following a plan envisioned by Samuel De Champlain. The "capital of l'Acadie,” was to be a year-round territory but that winter, nearly half of the settlers lost their lives to scurvy and exposure.

Though the settlement was moved to the southern shores of the Bay of Fundy, the insights gained here helped build an enduring French presence in North America.

Today, St. Croix Island is uninhabited, but interpretive sites on both sides of the St. Croix River evoke the settlement’s significance. The Canadian side explores how St. Croix Island helped entrench French culture and Acadian pride for the generations that followed.


On Saint Croix Island in June of 1604, French nobleman-courtier Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, established a settlement known as the first "capital of l'Acadie". This establishment was the first attempt by the French at year-round colonization in the territory they called "La Cadie" or "l'Acadie".

The experience of the French on Saint Croix Island taught them much about adapting to the environment and interacting with the Aboriginal people. These insights helped form the foundation for an enduring French presence in North America.