First Unofficial Settlement in Canada

In 1599, François Grave du Pont and Pierre Chauvin de Tonnetuit had been granted the title of Lieutenant General of New France by King Henri IV. Protestant by birth, King Henri had converted to Catholicism in order to rule, but then promptly filled his government with Huguenots (French Protestants).

Subsequently, in 1600, when Pontgrave and de Tonnetuit created their settlement in Tadoussac on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, the venture was not recognized by the Catholic Church. In fact, by official proclamation by the Church, neither Protestants nor Jews were allowed into New France.

Tadoussac (meaning 'breast' or 'nipple') had long been a trading centre and wintering site for all the major European trading countries - Basque, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and British. Pontgrave and de Tonnetuit felt that this would be an ideal spot for settlement.

Four ships set sail from France and arrived at Tadoussac at the mouth of the Saguenay River where the settlement was founded. In Autumn, Pontgrave and de Tonnetuit returned to France with a shipload of furs.

The next year, in 1601, Pontgrave and de Tonnetuit sent a supply ship to the new settlement at Tadoussac. However, upon arrival, the supply ship found only 5 colonists left alive. Many of the others, they said, had died over the Winter and a few had deserted to live with the Natives. The survivors returned to France aboard the supply ship.

Subsequently, François Grave du Pont and Pierre Chauvin de Tonnetuit lost their titles.

FIN