Saint Croix Island International Historic Site marks the beginning of French presence in North America, and includes sculpture-laden walking trails.
Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is a monument to the beginning of the United States and Canada. In 1604, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, accompanied by Samuel Champlain and 77 other men, established a settlement on St. Croix Island. Preceding Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth (1620), Pierre Dugua's outpost was one of the earliest European settlements on the North Atlantic coast of North America. More specifically, it was the first attempt by the French at year-round colonization in the territory they called La Cadie or l'Acadie.
The settlement was short-lived, however, and in the summer of 1605, the French moved to a more favorable location where they established the Port Royal Habitation on the shores of the present-day Annapolis Basin, Nova Scotia.
From St. Croix Island, Samuel Champlain explored and charted the coast of Norembegue (Norumbega), including the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic coast as far south as Cape Cod. The valuable insights gained from both the St. Croix settlement and further exploration formed the foundation for a more successful settlement at Port Royal, and an enduring French presence in North American continuing to the present day.
Stay inspired—sign up for our emails, learn how to become a member, and follow us on social media to get the latest park stories.