Logo Francais

"This place was named by Sieur de Mons the Island of St. Croix. Here seemed to be a paradise, for the weather was warm, fish and deer were plentiful, and the location was convenient for shipping."

Quote from Champlain's journals

Island History

Historical TimelineSaint Croix Island, located along the United States and Canada border between Maine and New Brunswick, is the site of the first French settlement in North America.

In March of 1604, five ships carrying 120 men set sail from Havre de Grace (now Le Havre), France to establish a settlement in the New World. The French expedition was led by nobleman Pierre Dugua the Sieur de Mons.

Among those aboard the departing ships were noblemen, artisans, soldiers, a surgeon, Roman Catholic priest and a Huguenot minister so that the material and spiritual needs of the colonists could be met.

Along with Pierre Dugua the Sieur de Mons, other prominent members of the expedition included the cartographer Samuel Champlain, Jean de Biencourt the Sieur de Poutrincourt and Francois Grave the Sieur de Pont (dit Pontgrave).

Under the leadership of King Henri IV, France had recently emerged from a prolonged period of religious warfare and civil strife between Catholic and Huguenot (Protestant) forces. In 1594, Henri, King of Navarre and titular King of France, converted to Catholicism to consolidate his claim to the throne and prevent anarchy. In 1598, however, he issued the Edict of Nantes, guaranteeing religious tolerance for the Huguenots.

One such Huguenot and champion of the King was Pierre Dugua the Sieur de Mons. Dugua was granted the title of Lieutenant-Governor for the territory between the 40th and 46th parallel (modern Philadelphia and Labrador) by the King. He was also granted a trading monopoly for the fur trade, and was expected to colonize the territory and to convert First Nation peoples to Christianity.

The expedition landed at Sable Island on May 1, 1604. From there, three ships carrying 41 of the original 120 men headed to the St. Lawrence River to trade, Pontgravé sailed for Canso and Dugua, Champlain and Poutrincourt explored the south coast of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. The Annapolis Basin caught Champlain's eye as a potential settlement site and Poutrincourt so liked the protected harbor, he asked Dugua for the rights to eventually create a colony there.

While Pierre Dugua searched for an appropriate spot to establish the settlement, Champlain carefully mapped the inlets and harbors of the rugged coastline. Many places along the coasts of Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia still bear the names given to them by Champlain.

By late June, after exploring the mouth of the Saint John River, Dugua's group of 79 men sailed into Passamaquoddy Bay and up a river. Here they found an island situated inland near the confluence of what appeared to be three rivers resembling the arms of a cross. Dugua named the island Isle Ste. Croix.

Immediately work began on clearing the island and neighboring mainland to construct their dwellings, a kitchen, a storehouse, a blacksmith shop and a chapel. With construction going well, Champlain was sent off by Dugua to explore further south. On his voyage, Champlain went as far as Mount Desert Island and named it Isle des Monts Deserts. Champlain returned to St. Croix Island in late September to find the dwellings completed.

By October 6, the first signs of winter were upon the settlers- it snowed. Before long, the river filled and jammed with ice flows and the men on the island were cut off from the mainland. They began to suffer from a shortage of drinking water and firewood. Their cider froze and had to be doled out by the pound. The settlers were forced to drink Spanish wine and melted snow.

Lacking fresh fruit and vegetables, the men fell ill to scurvy, (caused by a lack of Vitamin C in their diet). By winter's end, 35 men, nearly half of the original complement of 79 men, had died from this disease.

When Pontgravé's ship arrived on June 15, 1605, Dugua had already made the decision to move the settlement to a more suitable site. Therefore, Dugua and Champlain continued to explore the southern coastline, traveling as far as Cape Cod before returning to St. Croix Island without having found a more suitable site, Pierre Dugua then decided to relocate across the Baie Francaise (Bay of Fundy).

By early August, the settlement at St. Croix Island was being dismantled to move to the Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia. Port Royale, as named by Champlain, was the crew's new home. St. Croix Island would be revisited by members of the Port Royale settlement in the following years, but never re-occupied by them.

Historical Timeline

1604 The French expedition, led by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, established a settlement on St. Croix Island. Cartographer Samuel Champlain was among the crew.


The St. Croix River set as the boundary between the British Provinces of Massachussetts Bay and Nova Scotia.

1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American War of Independence and the St. Croix River was established as the international boundary.
1797 Robert Pagan determined that Docea's Island was indeed St. Croix Island and that the boundary did follow the main river channel, east of the island, giving American sovereignty to the island.
1904 On June 25, the 300th anniversary of the settlement on St. Croix Island was celebrated with ceremonies on the island. Three warships, from the United States, Great Britain, and France anchored north of the island. A commemorative plaque was unveiled on the island. Ceremonies were also carried out in Saint John, Port Royal and in Calais.
1949 On June 8, the United States Congress authorized St. Croix Island as a national monument.
1968 On June 30, St. Croix Island was formally dedicated as a national monument. At the same time, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommended Parks Canada cooperate with the U.S. Parks Service in the preservation of the island.
1982 A memorandum of understanding was signed by Canada and the United States for the protection and commemoration of St. Croix Island with interpretation sites to be established by each country.


On September 25, the national monument was re-designated by the U.S. Congress as Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

1995 On July 18 a workshop was hosted by the St. Croix International Waterway Commission, resulting in the generation of numerous ideas on how to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the settlement.
1996 An amendment to the 1982 international memorandum was signed by Canada and the United States pledging support for the 400th anniversary commemorations in 2004.
1996 On November 7, the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee, an international organization comprised of Canadians and Americans was established at a public meeting held in Calais, Maine.
1997 On May 3, the first meeting of the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee was held.
1998 On September 23, a delegation from Royan, France, the birth place of Pierre Dugua, was hosted by members of the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee.
1999 On April 27 a constitution and set of bylaws were accepted in principle by the Ste-Croix 2004 Committee.


The Committee hires its first staff person, becomes incorporated as a not for profit corporation on both sides of the border and applies for charitable status in Canada and the United States. Official requests for special commemorative 2004 coins and stamps is made in both countries.


On June 25, the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee officially unveils its logo.


In September, the Committee hosts organizers of other 400th anniversary celebrations in Quebec and Nova Scotia to a day-long networking workshop in Calais.


The Committee launches its official website and marks the 397th anniversary of the landing at St. Croix Island with a cruise to the island.

The Town of St. Stephen passes a municipal resolution in support of 2004 efforts. Copies are circulated to the municipalities in New Brunswick and to many parts of Maine.  The City of Calais, the Town of St. Andrews and St. Stephen commit to annual funding support.


2002 Annual Report


"...we entered a river almost half a league in breadth at its mouth, sailing up which a league or two found two islands: one very small near the western bank and the other (St. Croix Island) in the middle, having a circumference of perhaps eight or nine hundred paces ... where there is a sandy point and clayey earth adapted for making brick and other useful articles."

Quote from Champlain's journals

Books, Resource Books and Pamphlets

Over the past several years, a number of individuals and organizations have researched and studied the events of 1604. For your convenience, please find a list of readily available resources that bring life to the activities, events and personalities of Canada's first European settlement on St. Croix Island.

If you have any questions regarding the enclosed information please contact the Ste-Croix 2004 office. We can be reached at 506-466-7403 or by email at celebrate@stecroix2004.org. Also you are welcome to visit our office located at 103 Milltown Blvd., St. Stephen.

BOOKS - Works of area authors, heritage related with historical links, newly published or in the process of being published. If unclear as to the availability, verify the information through the Ste-Croix 2004 office.

Title Author Availability/Cost
WCCC 1604 Cookbook Students of Washington County Community College Ste-Croix 2004 office
$6.50 (CDN), $5.00 (USD)
*Proceeds go to WCCC
Bayside Women's Institute Cookbook Members of the Bayside Women's Institute Ste-Croix 2004 office
$12.00 (CDN)
*Proceeds go to BWI
Fog's Inn -Charlotte County Folklore
Ste-Croix 2004 Committee is funding a re-print in 2004
Collection of Folklore stories Will be available in the New Year. Ste-Croix 2004 office.*Proceeds go to Ste-Croix 2004's Historic Settlement
Early Families of The Mackadavy - Settlers before, during and after the Loyalist Period Calvin Lee Craig Ste-Croix 2004 office.
$35.00 (CDN)
Passamaquoddy at the Turn of the Century 1890-1920 - Tribal life and times in Maine and New Brunswick Donald Soctomah Ste-Croix 2004 office
$15.50 (CDN), $12.00 (USD)
Proceeds go to the Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage and Resource Center
Hard Times at Passamaquoddy 1921-1950 - Tribal life and times in Maine and New Brunswick Donald Soctomah Ste-Croix 2004 office
$15.50 (CDN), $12.00 (USD)
Proceeds go to the Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage and Resource Center
The Boy who wasn't Himself - Trapped in time on St. Croix Island Lafe Locke TBA - More information will be available through the Ste-Croix 2004 office in the New Year.
Champlain's Summer David Boyd Ste-Croix 2004 Office
Champlain Island Ste Croix (Dochet) W.F. Ganong New Brunswick Museum - Saint John or St. Croix Historical Society.

L'Ile Sainte Croix -St. Croix Island - (Pamphlet - A short Story)

St. CROIX - A historical novel

Edwin Garrett IV



Michael McTague


Ste-Croix 2004 office



bookstores, gift shops, adn from www.tomahpublishing.com

$24.95 (USD), $ 34.95 (CDN)


These books are detailed in the comprehensive list of resources outlined by Helen Johnston on web site: www.district10.nbed.nb.ca. Click on St. Croix Island, Local History and Plays by Helen Johnston, Important Dates in St. Croix History, Resource List under each of the titles found there.


Come Celebrate with Us - Parks Canada / Parcs Canada
Contains order form for more brochures

Historic Properties 1869 Upper Water Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1S9

Celebrate Canada - Department of Canadian Heritage
Poster Challenge 2004, contains order form for Activity Guides

15 Eddy Street, 7th Floor (15-7-H)
Gatinueau, QC K1A 0M5

History Changes Everything - Except the Landscape - Maine Tourism/Ste-Croix 2004
Contains map, history, List of attractions/events, photographs

Ste-Croix 2004
PO Box 3
St. Stephen, NB E3L 2W9
email: celebrate@stecroix2004.org

Saint Croix Island - National Park Service
Map, photographs, history

U.S. Department of the Interior
Acadian National Park
PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


English: "Our Roots, Our Future" - Parks Canada
-Experience Canada's Historic Sites in the Classroom

French: "Nos Racines, notre avenir" - Parcs Canada
-La Decouverte des lieu historiques Nation du Canada dans votre classe

Both English and French are available by:
Attention: M. Andrew
Fax: 819-997-4831 or by using the subscription form at www.parkcanada.gc.ca

Costume Patterns

All of the below patterns are available at the Ste-Croix 2004 office. Instruction are included with the below Canadian costs.

Men's Costumes:

Man's Doublet (jacket)
Three sizes: small (36), medium (40), large (44)
$5.00 each or $12.00 for all three sizes.

Man's Breeches (pants)
One size fits all.
See below for 3 different kinds

Venetians (breeches without fitted cuff)
Worn by tradesmen from that period. $5.00

Galligaskins (breeches with fitted cuff below the knee)
Style seen in pictures of Dugua and Champlain. - $5.00

Trunk Hose - (very short, above the knee "pumkin" shaped breeches) - $2.00

*Canions - these are fitted extentions to be palced at the bottom of gathered legs, not always used) included with all breeches patterns

Man's Hose
Hose leg and hose foot bottom - $2.00

Women's Costumes

Three sizes : small (36), medium (38), large (42)
$5.00 each or $12.00 for all three sizes

Three sizes : small (36), medium (38), large (42)
$5.00 each or $12.00 for all three sizes

Cap - One size fits all - $2.00

*There is no pattern for the skirt or pettycoat, it is simply 4 times you waist size. The instructions that come with the patterns include instructions on making the chemise.

Lapel PinLapel Pins
Fundraising effort by Ste-Croix 2004 is the sale of our lapel pin. The lapel pin has the image of our logo in colour on a 2 inch metal pin. These pins are available at the Ste-Croix 2004 office. Each pin is at a cost of $6.00 (CDN) or $5.00 (USD)


Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee

International Historic Site, St, Croix Island Red Beach, Maine www.nps.gov/sacr

Parks Canada, go to National Historic Site, then go to Port Royal

New Brunswick Heritage Branch

Costuming - suggested links: Costume Archive and Period Costumes

Acadie's 400th Anniversary

Celebrations 2004, Saint John, NB Committee

Passamaquoddy Tribe

Historic Sites

Saint Croix International Historic Site
US Route One, Red Beach
Calais, Maine
Interpretive Trail: bronze status and replica of 1604 settlement on St. Croix Island.

Wabanaki Museum
PO Box 295
Perry, Maine 04667
(ph) 207-853-4001 (for appointment)
Features Passamaquoddy history

Charlotte County Museum
443 Milltown Blvd
Milltown, NB
(ph) 506-466-3295 (verify hours of operation)

*In May of 2004 the "It All Started Hereā€¦" exhibit will be mounted for display by the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee in cooperation with the Charlotte County Museum