Canada: The Founding of New France

Mary Huyck has kindly sent me a large French stamp, which I will pass on to our master philatelist, Fred Hansson. The stamp shows a handsome cavalier, Pierre Dugua de Mons, with in large letters the date. 1604. Few Americans have heard of this Frenchman, so here is what the Canadian tourist board says about himL There is a monument to him at Fort Anne, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, was born in the Royan region during the time of the religious wars. As a Huguenot, he participated in the religious conflicts. In 1594, as King of France, Henri IV rewards those who supported him. Dugua is given a pension and the title of "gentilhomme ordinaire de la Maison du Roi".  In 1596 he married Judith Chesnel, a Catholic. She gave him a dowry of 25 000 pounds. "It would be (...) for the Sieur de Mons, a great contribution to the project that he cherished and for which he was already trying to raise the necessary funds." (Naissance de la Nouvelle-France; Pierre Dugua de Mons, by Marie-Claude Bouchet, Société du Musée de Royan,  2000).  For this great project he was to be named Lieutenant General for the New World. Henri IV granted him this title in 1603 and a monopoly on the land located between the 40th and 46th parallels. Having sold his belongings to finance his enterprise, he agreed to "conquer" this land in the name of King Henri IV and to establish permanent French settlements.  Dugua left for l'Acadie with his crew in 1603. He would return to France in October 1605 to tell of his achievements to the King. Upon his return, De Mons faced quite a number of difficulties, one of which being that his opponents tried to discredit him before his protector and King. After years of fighting for his interests, he finally lost his trade monopoly. Dugua was never to set foot in America again. He died in 1628 in his house in Ardenne.

RH:  This stamp was issued in 2004, the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Dugua in New France (Canada), of which he is described as the founder.  His expedition was short-lived and futile, but the date, 1604, allows the French to boast that New France was founded before New England. France once hoped to annex the "New World",  All that remains is St. Pierre and Miquelon and the French Antilles.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005