Ancient Land, New Land
Skmaqn - Port-la-Joye - Fort Amherst: National Historic Site of CanadaAuthor: A.J.B. Johnston, Jesse Francis,
Publisher: Acorn Press
The Mi’kmaq have inhabited Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island) for millennia. At this site, known in Mi’kmaq as Skmaqn, or “waiting place,” the Mi’kmaq met the French in the 18th century to renew their friendship and military alliance at a time when the French and British empires were fighting for supremacy in North America.
As Europeans settled on what had become to be known as Isle Saint Jean, the major European players were France and Great Britain, each of whom started constructing forts and sending soldiers, warships and settlers. A key strategy of the French was to establish a close alliance with the Mi’kmaq, one that was maintained by missionaries. Thus Skmaqn became the French fort Port-la-Joye. The French saw it as the most strategic location as its harbour was large, sheltered, and easy to defend because of the narrow entrance through which any enemy ships would have to pass.
One of the first permanent French settlements on the island, Port-la-Joye was the seat of colonial government and a port of entry. This site was surrendered to Great Britain in 1758 and renamed Fort Amherst, the British organized the deportation of more than 3,000 Acadians.
|Dimensions||9(in) x 7(in)|