French / English Conflict

A Brief History of Windsor, Nova Scotia

1. The French / English Conflict

windsor-NB

Windsor NS c.1800

Windsor c.1800

The French established a colony at Port Royal in the western end of Nova Scotia in 1604. Gradually, they moved along the shores of what is known today as the Minas Basin, building dykes and reclaiming fertile land for farming as they went. By 1684, they had arrived at the junction of the St.Croix and Avon Rivers at a point known to the Mi’kmaq natives as ‘Pesegitk’, which the French called ‘Piziquid’, later to be called ‘Windsor’ by the English. The French named the entire area which they came to settle ‘L’Acadie’ and themselves “Acadiens”. They excelled at farming and lived in harmony with the itinerant natives who had long had encampments in the food rich area.

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The caption for this picture reads “At an Indian Village Near Halifax, N.S.”

Old Mi’kmaq Village Near Halifax

Soon the English settled in the province and founded Halifax in 1749. They were not long discovering the fertile lands on the shores of Minas Basin, then known as ‘Bassin des mines’ (in reference to local mines), and the abundance of fish in the waters there abouts. They called the French Catholic inhabitants “Acadians”, and referred to the Mi’kmaq as “MicMac” or “Indians”.

The English did not get along well with the Acadiens or the Mi’kmaq and in 1750 they built Fort Edward, high on a hill overlooking the junction of the rivers, with a magnificent view out over Minas Basin. The Block House, Officers Quarters and Provisions buildings with cannons and a surrounding moat were meant to protect them from attacks from both the natives and the Acadians.

Conditions between the English and French factions worsened and the English eventually largely decimated the Mi’kmaq, and in 1755, arranged to round up the Acadians, burn their homes and farm buildings and expel them from the lands by ship, taking them to the eastern shores of America. Many of the Acadiens remained there permanently and became known as Cajuns. Others found their way back to Acadia and formed small French settlements in various parts of the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, where their offspring are still known as Acadians.

Copyright – Garth Vaughan December 8, 2000

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