Beaubassin (Beautiful Harbour)

This is the heart of Siknikt, one of the seven traditional Mi’gmaq districts, which extend over all of the modern Maritime Provinces and into Gaspésie in Quebec. There was already an important Mi’gmaq community here when Acadians from Port Royal came in the 1670s to trade and to farm. By the mid-18th century, there was a large and prosperous village at Beaubassin including a Catholic church and a mission to the Mi’gmaq. As of 1750 there were 1400 Acadians living in the village of Beaubassin and the surrounding communities.

The Beaubassin region provided the quickest route between what is today mainland Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The Missaguash and other rivers linked by portages provided the Mi’gmaq travel and trade routes through the area. It also became a valuable route for New France, linking Acadie to Quebec and Louisbourg.

Chignecto was strategically important, as whoever controlled it, controlled travel through the region and beyond.

Timeline

  • 11,000 BP

    An important Mi’gmaq community grew at Siknikt. Its position at the centre of Mi’kma’ki made its chiefs knowledgeable and valued leaders.

  • Mid-1500s

    European fishermen and traders begin to frequent the coasts of Nova Scotia.

  • 1604

    Samuel de Champlain visits and maps the area.

  • 1671-1672

    Jacques Bourgeois, a surgeon and shipbuilder from Port Royal with trade relations with the Mi’gmaq, begins a new settlement.

  • 1676

    Michel Leneuf de La Vallière, granted the ‘Beaubassin Seigneury’ by the governor of New France, brings settlers from Canada.