Caveat lector!

This post was written some months ago after I had assembled a good collection of maps that spanned the founding of the colony of Ile St. Jean until its first destruction, at the hands of British Americans, in 1745. I happily wrote the post and moved on to the next topic, the maps from the period of the rebuilding of the colony after 1745 to its ultimate destruction in 1758 and the complete British take-over after the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

What I did not foresee was the looming availability of a large collection of mostly undated manuscript maps of the region and of the Island held in the French National Archives in Paris. The majority of these maps could be purchased as big scans and I obtained copies of them all. This tripled my original collection. I have been trying to incorporate this exciting material into this blog for months – jumping here and there in my efforts to make sense of it all – while continuing, chronologically, to write more blog posts on subsequent map events leading to the British domination of New France.

There were a number of disasters along the way – one mistake leading to another – that held back the completion of this particular post. Because of all the new material, it is a HUGE essay, and I have no way to divide it into smaller sections that will carry the narrative. So those of my readers who have no patience for long blog posts may skip over most of this while a few others, very keen on this sort of thing, will read it to the end and glory in the beautiful unfamiliar maps, for the most part published in this popular format for the first time ever.


For centuries, since the time Jacques Cartier claimed an amorphous piece of land for the French Crown, Ile Saint Jean had a life of its own. For millennia it was the home of the Mi’kmaq, and their predecessors, the Archaic and Palaeo Indians. Before 1500, as part of the great North Atlantic fisheries frenzy, the Basque had established fishing stations in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Northwest coast of the island. They were followed by French and English fishers, all competing for the fish stock and suitable seasonal ports to process the huge catches.

When we look at and discuss the place names in these maps we should remember that they are the result of an accumulation of centuries of oral tradition found in the accounts the the fishermen of different nationalities who passed on what they knew to cartographers across the Atlantic. Mapmakers in the different European countries borrowed from each other and spread confusion on a massive scale.

Before we begin this survey of maps from the first half of the Eighteenth Century perhaps it is time to indicate the place name resources we have at our disposal. These are the various official censuses of Ile Saint Jean conducted by the French officials and a gazetteer of all known French place names prepared by the Souris historian Waldron Leard. First though, I give you this UPEI link to our primary resource for Prince Edward Island geographic names, Alan Rayburn’s Geographical Names of Prince Edward Island, published in 1973 and still in constant use. 



The Appearance and Origins of the Ile Saint Jean Place Names

Once Ile Saint Jean was declared a colony it was subject to periodic official inspections and the gathering of settlement and population data. This is found in the five censuses that were conducted during the lifetime of the colony. They are highly detailed and are an absolutely vital resource in understanding settlement and economy during the 24 years they span. It is important to note that these censuses, at any given time, list all the places that the colonial administrators recognised as villages or settlements and are therefore “official.” – there was something to measure and count.

I have abstracted all the census summaries from the The Island Register, a most important source of information on the French Regime, which can be found at this site.

We would think that these lists should help in putting all the undated manuscript maps that follow into a credible chronological order. Sadly that is not the case. The mapmakers seem to have enjoyed a life of their own, transcribing from other maps from other times what they deemed to be relevant to any particular map project. As a result, it is not possible to date these maps in any accurate way by comparing them to the census inventories of communities. Mapmakers did not, to my knowledge, consult these censuses, but relied completely on earlier maps and new information provided by explorers and fishermen. But the censuses are there, and they are official lists.


1728 Census of the different Ports and Harbours of Ile St. Jean

Cadopiche or Havre aux Sauvages – Savage Harbour

Havre de la Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Havre de Tracadie – Tracadie

Maquepecque – Malpeque

Port la Joye

Port St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Bay


1730 Census for Ile St. Jean

Havre à l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Havre de la Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Havre de Tracadie

Port de Malpec – Entrance to Malpeque Bay

Port la Joye

Port Saint Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour


1734 Census for Ile St. Jean

Havre à l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Havre St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Bay


Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Port La Joye

Riv. du Port La Joye – Hillsborough River


Trois Rivièrs – Three Rivers


1735 French Censuses, Isle St. Jean

Havre Languille – Savage Harbour

Havre St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Bay

Point de l’Est – East Point

Port de Malpec – Entrance to Malpeque Bay

Port la Joye

Riv. Port la Joye – Hillsborough River


Trois Rivières – Three Tivers


1752 Sieur de La Roque Census of 28 Localities

Anse à Pinnet – Pinet

Anse au Comte Saint-Pierre – Keppoch

Anse au Matelost – Pownal Bay

Anse aux Sanglier – Holland or Observation Cove

Anse de la Boullotierre – Newtown River to Orwell Bay

Anse du Nord-Ouest – ?

Bedec – Bedeque

Etang des Berges – Stanhope (Campbell’s Pond at Grand Tracadie)

Grande Anse – Orwell Bay

Grande Ascension – Orwell Bay with Seal, Vernon and Orwell Rivers

Havre La Fortune – Fortune River

La Traverse – Traverse River, Cape Traverse

Macpec – Malpeque

Pointe au Boulleau – Birch Point

Pointe Prime

Port La Joye

Riviere au Crapeau – Crapaud

Riviere des Blonds – Tryon River

Riviere du Nord – North River

Riviere du Nord-Est – North East or Hillsborough River

Riviere du Ouest – West River

Riviere de Peugiguit – Pisquid River

Riviere du Moulin à Scie – maybe Rocky Point, McKie’s Creek in Meacham Lot 65

St. Pierre du Nord – Greenwich



The Island Register also provides a gazetteer of critical importance in helping to identify contemporary locations of often quite obscure names that turn up from time to time on the antique maps. It is a critical reference work and I include a link to it at this time. This list was compiled and copyrighted in 1997 by the late Waldron H. Leard. Since that time new place names and new interpretations for the present day locations of some of those places have been proposed by Georges Arsenault, Earle Lockerby, Douglas Sobey and others. It is my hope in the months ahead to incorporate ALL these names and locations in a revised version of Mr. Leard’s gazetteer and post it here as a pdf file with a new title.

PEI Place Names – Past and Present (Leard Gazetteer)



The Colony of Ile Saint Jean is Established

The French became increasingly aware of the land masses and islands that made up the Gulf of Saint Lawrence during the Seventeenth Century. Not only was the Gulf the passage to the capitol of New France, Quebec, but it opened up the fisheries, and beyond that, the fur trade.

Increasingly the French had to come to terms with their possessions in North America, which, through war and administrative laxity, were in danger of being taken over by the English. In a political situation difficult to understand, Acadia flourished technologically in large scale landscape modification and in agriculture while it was officially under the control of the English. By the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, France was forced to make plans for the defense of the Acadian shore and the opening to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

In 1713 a harbour on Cape Breton Island called Havre à l’Anglois was settled and a fishing port was set up. It soon gained substantial commercial importance. It was decided to surround the town completely with fortress walls and erect defensive bastions toward the sea. This was done between 1720 and 1740 at enormous expense, and on low ground that would prove fatal to its defense in the next 18 years. There was an interruption of several years when the fortress was conquered by the English in 1745 but returned in 1748.

It was in this early time of optimism that it was decided in 1720 to colonise Ile Saint Jean with settlers from France and also farmers and land engineers from Acadia, to convert the island’s marshy areas into fertile dyke lands which were intended to provide food for Louisbourg.

It is not my intention to recount the history of that settlement in this blog post, rather, I bring to your attention two books that will describe what happened in the period:

Harvey, D. C., The French Regime in Prince Edward Island, (Reprinted from the 1926 edition), Ams Press, New York, 1970.

Georges Arsenault gives a fine summary of the events from 1720-58 and also brings the story forward to the survival of those Acadians who escaped deportation and who survived to this day.

Arsenault, Georges; translated by Sally Ross, Illustrated History of the Acadians of Prince Edward Island, The Acord Press, Charlottetown, 2019.

In those early days of cartography, maps that featured Ile Saint Jean as an entity with contours that we could recognise were rare. The poor Island, isolated as it was, suffered every cartographical indignity possible.

To begin our survey, we are fortunate to have from the earliest days of the colony of Ile Saint Jean a familiar outline drawn by the French cartographer Pierre Moullart-Sanson  using the papers  of Gédéon de Catalongne after his death.


1723, Pierre Moullart-SansonBasse Partie et Oriental/ du Fleuve de St. Laurent/ depuis L’Isle aux Lievres jusqu’a son embouchure/ Dressée sur les Memoires/ de Mr. de Catalongne Ingenieur du Roi tres Chrestien/ a Paris/ chez le Sr. Moullart = Sanson G. o. d. R./Rue Froimanteau vis a vis le Vieux Louvre/ avec Privilege du Roi 1723Engraving published by Pierre Moullart-Sanson 1723. 39  x 58 cm.  BNF listing: Catalongne Gédéon btv1b85959169 1.

PDF    1723 Catalogne BNF0111


Gédéon de Catalongne or Catalogne (1662-1729) was born in Arthez-de-Béarn in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. His name clearly indicates a connection with Catalonia and the location of his home town was quite close to Basque country and its powerful nautical influences. It was in that milieu that he received his early education.

In time he became a captain and an engineer, leaving for Canada in 1683 with the rank of soldier who was soon given the responsibility of producing surveys in the New World. In between military campaigns he became involved in city plans and fortifications and indeed drew the first plan of the city of Montreal, along with its fortifications. For a while he worked on the Lachine Canal project that was germinating at that time but that ended in failure for technical reasons. In 1723 he made his way to Ile Saint Jean, then in its earliest years as a colony, and spent time there qualifying for a higher military rank. While there, he either engaged in surveying, or gathered whatever cartographical material that was available. He left his name on the landscape at York Point, which was originally named Point a Catalogne, before he made his way to Louisbourg, also in its infancy, and much concerned with encircling what had been a fishing village with massive fortifications in the traditions French style of Vauban.  – DCB

His plan of the east end of the Saint Lawrence River and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence that his mapmaker produced is very tidy and organised and perhaps errs on choosing neatness to fully articulated coastal detail. Unlike the other maps we have been looking at, which were all hand-drawn, this is an engraving published “avec Privelege du Roi” in 1723. The publisher is Pierre Moullart-Sanson, who flourished from 1692-1730 and had the title of géographe ordinaire du roi. He was the grandson of Nicolas Sanson and the uncle of Gilles Robert de Vaugondy and began making maps in 1693. His primary interest seems to have been in mappamundi – world maps and so it is interesting to see this austere delineation of this minute corner of the world.

Ile Saint Jean is given a credible shape as a segment of a circle, and if it had a handle attached at one end would resemble a handsaw. However there are irregularities in the representation of the Island that suggest that the data the mapmaker had was confused. On the North Shore Cascumpec is left out although Malpeque is indicated. Then, as we move east, things get confused and Havre Saint Pierre is placed where Tracadie should be, and vice versa. This is very peculiar, and it is the first time it is encountered in the selection of maps presented here.

However, it is on the South Shore, in the entrance to Charlottetown Harbour that we find a unique, and the greatest discrepancy from other records. Port la Joye is called Port la Croix – the Port of Joy becomes the Port of the Cross! Another settlement called Lassomption or Assumption [of the Virgin] is clearly indicated more or less where it appears in other records as Grand Ascension in the area around Orwell Bay.

To clarify these names for non-Catholics, the Ascension refers to Jesus ascending into heaven while the Assumption is the bearing up to heaven of the Virgin Mary’s body by angels. Maybe its an easy mistake to make. Assumption Day, which is celebrated on August 14 in the Catholic countries around the Mediterranean, is a public as well as religious holiday that has its origins in antiquity. Here it is the National Day of the Acadians. The public celebrations are exuberant in the extreme, with grand religious processions that culminate in fireworks.

Perhaps the most shocking departure from place names is calling Port la Joye Port la Croix – Port of the Cross! That is very odd, and to my knowledge, only appears this one time.

Here are the place names given by Pierre Moullart-Sanson, using Gédéon de Catalongne’s material, as the cartouche indicates, to Ile Saint Jean.

3 Riviere – Three Rivers

Bedec – Bedeque

Cadopiche – Savage Harbour

Havre St. Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

I du Gouverneur – Governor’s Island

I St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

Lassomption – does he mean Grand Ascension on Orwell Bay?

Macpet – Malpeque

Port la Croix – Port la Joye

R des Blancs – Johnston’s River area

Tracady – Tracadie

Tranchemontagne – North Lake


There is a second, anonymous, map of Ile Saint Jean that preserves the saw-like appearance found in the Gédéon de Catalongne/Pierre Moullart-Sanson map of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence examined above. It is eccentric in its place names and has has fascinating details not seen in the other maps.


[1723c date by LAC], Anon, Carte de L’Isle de St Jean, Laquelle a environ 45 lieues de long et 12 a 15de large l’un portant l’autre. Ink and wash drawing with handwritten notes. Taken from a B&W photograph. LAC 8690.

PDF    1723c – Anon- Carte de L’Isle de St Jean – LAC 8690

It is specifically limited to representing Ile Saint Jean and Pictou Island. There are a number of inscriptions in a cursive hand done on the map in no particular order. These look as if they were added after the map was finished, perhaps as an introduction to the Island for the person who requested the map. They are most interesting.

I reproduce with a picture detail the very lovely note on Port la Joye, written in a beautifully legible hand:

It translates as:

This is Port la Joye, the most beautiful you can find anywhere in the world. More than a thousand vessels could anchor there safely. The shores are hard ground, and the bottom is not rocky. All vessels can enter the harbour either at high or low tide.

This detail of the Port la Joye area has other interesting features as well. Particular attention is given to Port la Joye where the location of the settlement and the house of the governor are pointed out. The governor’s house is actually drawn as a little icon, and next to it is the church with its little spire.

These are the communities and landscape features listed on this map. Some have not appeared on maps that were examined previously:

Baye de Malpec – Malpeque Bay

Bedecq – Bedeque

Cap dauphin – Cape Bear

Establissem’t et Maison du Gouverneur – Port la Joye administration

I Roberge – Governors Island

Isle St Pierre – Saint Peter’s Island

La grande Riviere ou Portage – Hillsborough River

Petitte Riviere – Pinette River

Pointe Rouge – East Point

Port du Riviere de la Joie – North River

Pt. de la Flame – Blockhouse Point

Pte Prime – Point Prime

R aux Outards (Canada Geese) – Vernon River?

Cadopigs – Savage Harbour

Daxpex – (impossible to judge)

quiquebougouet – New London Bay

Touboutouinee – Rustico Bay

Tracadi – Tracadie

Riviere a Tranchemontagne – North Lake

Riviere Ronton – Saint Peter’s Bay




The Establishment of Port la Joye, the Settlements along the Rivière du Nord Est and the Roma Settlement at Trois Rivières.

The spot for the new capital was beautifully located from a tactical point of view. This coloured map of the harbour and settlement in the French National Archives, probably dating some time in the late 1720s, sets it all out for us.

Probably 1720s [The BNF dates it to the 1750s which can’t be right.] Anonymous, Le Port de la Joye dans L’Isle S. Jean, manuscript map coloured with wash, 490 x 510 mm, ark:12148/btv1b84937175.

If the indications of the extent of settlement are correct, then it represents a good beginning to a colony which did not have an inland existence, only reclaimed marshland along the edges of rivers.

Here is a detail of the garrison and settlement with letters identifying each component.

The capital of the colony was placed at the mouth of Charlottetown harbour near Rocky Point. We have a very beautiful conceptual drawing by the French military engineer Étienne Verrier (1683-1747) who was in charge of military enterprises, principally Louisbourg, from  (1724-1745) and who came to oversee the metamorphosis of a rocky headland with almost no topsoil into a capital city worthy of the French imperial ambitions in the New World. His drawing is beautiful, full of detail and charm. What must be kept in mind however is that he clearly indicated in his second cartouche that the fortifications, no noble on that headland, are only planned



Carte du Port la Joye dans L’Isle St. Jean/ 1734/ Verrier Fils/ Fecit. 

Plan d’un Fort Projetté au Port La Joye a L’Isle St. Jean pour mettre en sureté le Detachem’. dans le quel on a representé en couleur rouge les Battimt. Qui on estés Establis l’Année 1734. Avec la Veüe prise du coté du Port. Ink and watercolour on paper. LAC Ph240-Port la Joye/1734.

The panoramic view at the top gives a wonderful view of the settlements, with properties divided, fences built and gardens growing. Aside from the fort dream, the articulation of the settlement is probably what Verrier actually saw. It is difficult to believe that he is proposing the appearance of the village as well.

From a map of the Hillsborough River made just four years before, we have a clearly labelled plan of the settlement with every property owner identified. There seems to be no development in the fort area at all, only a large caserne or building to lodge military troops. At the entrance to the harbour is an area designated as pointe a la flame. In this case flame probably refers to a long pennant such as is found on the top mast of a ship used here as a beacon. Maybe there was a lighthouse tower with a flame lit at night to guide navigators into the harbour.

At the same time Verrier was supervising military construction in the region, somebody drew a large and most extraordinary map of the Hillsborough River – La Rivière du Nord Est. More than any other map of the island during the French Colonial period it shows exactly what those Acadian landscape engineers did to make arable land available to the settlers. In ten years they had drained with sea walls and a drainage system all this marshland that was rich in nutrients. Remember that the Acadians were not upland farmers, but lived at the water’s edge and cultivated the marshlands.


1730 – Pland de la riviere Su nord-Est en Lisle St. Jean En – 1730., ink and wash on paper,  52,5 x 170 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

1730 – Pland de la Riviere du Nord-Est – BNF

You have already seen above the property plan of Port la Joye, now marvel at this scene of marsh reclamation to an extent that few people have ever imagined.

And here is the source of the river where the portage heads of to Havre Saint Pierre. The detail on this map is extraordinary and in the pdf file above you can explore it with breathtaking excitement as you move from farm to farm, each owner carefully named.



The Roma Settlement at Trois Rivières.

In a venture separate from the official colony of Ile Saint Jean at Port La Joie, in 1732 Jean-Pierre Roma, a French entrepreneur, received a concession from the French government to establish a fishery and a trading post at Trois Rivières on a spit of land bounded by the Montague and Brudenell Rivers.

The location of this settlement, even today, is extraordinarily beautiful with a landscape that has changed relatively little since the Eighteenth Century.

Here Roma and his workers erected 9 buildings and planted gardens. We have Roma’s own words describing the love and care that went into these various projects that would, if successful, trade goods with France, the West Indies and the other parts of New France. The project had many difficulties and Roma had conflicts with the colony administration at Port la Joye. One gets the impression that he was a perfectionist and could not deal with the slipshod way things were done on Ile Saint Jean. Recently I discovered some manuscript maps in the French archives that must come come directly from the hands of Roma as they are so rich in intimate details of the country side and of the trading post itself. The first of these maps is quite large and extremely detailed.


1730s, Anonymous, Carte/du Port des Trois Rivierea en L’Isle/ Saint Jean, ink drawing with wash, 60 x 49,5 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/cb43640325x.

Just looking at this small reproduction tells you nothing because you can’t read the faded place names, given in the most intimate and personal fashion to every brook and feature of nature that displays a most great familiarity with the land. I have included a pdf of the full size map so that you can revel in this intimacy with the natural environment. Here is a detail, now very faded, of the area of the trading post with little buildings sketched in.

1730s – Carte du Port des Trois Rivieres – BNF

There are two other maps of the site in the French archives, each one more intimate and detailed than the other. The small intimate one has been published, using the copy in the Canadian archives in Ottawa by Korvemaker (1969), and MacLean . I will show them to you each with a detail so you can enjoy the love that went into producing them.


1730s, Anonymous, Carte du havre des trois rivieres en L’isle St. Jean (with an additional cartouche that identifies features in the landscape), ink drawing with wash, 32,5 x 43,5 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/cb43640297h.

The map is carefully drawn with great attention to the details of the coastline. An attempt has been made to build up topographical features with watercolour so you immediately become aware of the lay of the land.

In this detail you can see Roma’s headquarters on the tip of the peninsula and beyond it, the very long sandstone boulder wharf he had built to provide easy and direct access to the trading post. The location of this wharf seems to differ in the other plans of the site and I don’t know if underwater archaeologists have gone looking for it. After all, you can’t miss such a thing..

There is a last little coloured map that is the most delightful and intimate of all. Surely it must have been treasured by Roma himself.


Early 1730s, Anonymous, Plan/ des Trois Rivieres/en/ L’Isle St. Jean/ Echelle D’une/ Demie lieuéé de 20 au degré, watercolour wash, 46 x 33 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/cb407422685.

1730s – Plan des Trois Rivieres – BNF

The entrance to the harbour is beautifully drawn and given a very detailed articulation with watercolour so that the sense of intimacy in intensified. Soundings mark out clearly the intricate and difficult passage to the main docking area.  Sandbanks are clearly indicated. The sea is brought to life with quite detailed sketches of the kinds of boats that would be doing business there.

If we look at a close-up of the trading post itself we see that all sorts of little features of the land and water are carefully named.

It is when we look at the trading post itself that we are most surprised and delighted because it has been given the original name of Roma’s enterprise before it was changed to Trois Rivières – La Rommannie! What does it mean? The authors I have read have not discussed its origin or meaning. Perhaps one can simply assume that it means “Roma’s place.” On the other hand there is quite of variety of meaning that can be given to French words suffixed with -manie.  It can refer to house or property pride, an obsession, a craze, a fixation or even a foible! I think that the word is connected with immense pride in his little empire. Its almost given country status like “little Rome” which could be read as a pun. Towards the end he might have seen it as a craze gone wrong and have been very embarrassed.  But perhaps this kind of speculation is going too far. But I am still very badly wanting to know how the name of that place called La Rommannie was first conceived.

Jean-Pierre Roma encountered many difficulties and experienced many acrimonious encounters with the colony administration yet he managed to survive at Trois Rivières for 13 years. Everything on Ile Saint Jean came to a violent stop in 1745 when New England troops almost completely destroyed the Colony of Ile St. Jean after they had captured Louisbourg.



Maps of Ile Saint Jean and the Maritime Region from the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

Nearly two years ago when I first planned this catalogue of maps of Ile Saint Jean in the French Regime, I had no idea that an extended search in the French National Archives would unearth so many largely anonymous, undated and mostly undocumented maps of the colony. They are deeply interesting, but without documentation we have no idea why they were produced. It is evident from reading the archive catalogue entries that these maps have perhaps never received serious attention because most are undated or given impossible dates, contradicted by information on the maps themselves. The archives have an access counter and often I was the first to see the scan since it had been inserted there. They have never become items of study in scholarly literature because, unlike engraved maps, which are widely circulated and well-known, these are originals hidden away in an archives. The outline of Ile Saint Jean as it appears in these map varies considerably and so while they can be grouped stylistically, in an art historical manner, they cannot be securely dated. There are important questions that, at this time, remain unanswered. Who drew these maps – often quite complicated – and for whom? An administrator? An entrepreneur? Or a government department?

I have been agonising at great length how to arrange these maps in my catalogue and have not come up with a satisfactory methodology except where I could group maps together based on stylistic analysis, specifically the outline of Ile St. Jean.

I will begin this catalogue with three large regional maps that certainly date from the 1730s and which are derived from the same matrix, maybe drawn in the same workshop – even by the came elegant calligraphic hand. Researchers will find them extremely useful because of a large amount of anecdotal handwritten information about Acadia’s peoples and settlements. They are not rich in detail about Ile St. Jean but there is obvious interest in in the activities at Trois Rivières.


1730s, Anynymous, Carte Reduite des/Cotes de/ L’acadie, Isle Royale,/ et Isle St. Jean./ ou est remarqué toutes les isles, ports, havres, Rades, bayes, Esceuils (reefs), Roches avec les profondeurs nécessaries/,  pen and wash manuscript, 77 x 117 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/cb436545291.

1730-40 Carte reduite des Costes de L’acadie – BNF pdf

There is a large inset handwritten section called Remarques sur L’Acadie and there are annotations about settlements and the location of aboriginal tribes and a number of inset maps of areas of particular interest. Ile Saint Jean is beautifully drawn with little effort spent on indicating communities but with notes that point out important aspects of the island.

These several maps in this group are calligraphic in nature, more than cartographic. All the information is in cursive script and the very outlines of the land masses, and in little illustrations they contain, seem like nothing more than flicks of the pen.

Written across the eastern part of the island is a description of the inland resources of Ile St. Jean. This is of the greatest importance because this almost never appears on the maps of Ile St. Jean.

It says that the interior of this island is filled with extremely fine forests (he names them and Dr. Doug Sobey will identify them for me), and that the land is very fertile especially in the area of Trois Rivières where Roma has his establishment. In a note next to this he praises the many advantages to be found at Roma’s port.


There is a more formal map of the region dated 1737, but not signed, that almost certainly was drawn by the same cartographers who produced the previous map. Much earlier in this blog, when I was trying to discover the origin of the name Acadie, and linking it to Renaissance dreams of Arcadia, I sought, and found, early maps with Acadie called Arcadie. It was a surprise and a pleasure to discover the name Arcadie in the first half of the Eighteenth Century – so late in cartographic time! In my description I had to highlight it in red!


1737, Anonymous, Carte de la coste du nord et/du sud de l’Arcadie/ et de l’isle St. Jean/ avec toutes les Isles, Ports, Havres, Rades, Bayes &c/, ink and wash drawing, 73 x 146 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/cb436415607.

1737 Carte de la coste … de lArcadie … BNF

It is a very tidy map, not so much concerned with all the place names, but with features along the various coastlines. The detail of Ile St. Jean is very austere.

It is given an elegant topography with watercolour washes and only the best known place names are indicated. There are two interesting  features to mention. The first is the indication of the Mi’kmaq settlement at Malpec with quite large bright red wigwam-shaped icons (this is used for other aboriginal sites on the larger map), and the very clear indication of the road planned from Trois Rivières to St. Pierre.


There is this third map in the series that seems to come from the same workshop if not the same hand. It is dated 1739, and that helps date the others in this group. It seems that this format, and this desire to know Acadie at this time, is related to some major activity or concentration of interest, but I have no idea what it might be. Like the others, it is highly calligraphic in style. It is quite covered with notes that describe the country of Acadia and the people living there.



1739 – Carte/de/ Laccadie de Lisle/ Royalle et de Lisle St. Jean/ Dans L’amerique Septentrionale/ Ou Sont remarquees toutes les isles/ Ports, havres, Rades, Bayes/ Esceuils (reefs) et Rochers/ avec les ancrages/ et profondeurs/ Necessaires/ 1739,  pen and wash, 84 x 102 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ark:/12148/btv1b53089996m.

1739 Carte de lAcadie – BNF

There are delightful vignettes of various French settlements, such as this one of Grand Pré, along with neighbouring aboriginal settlements and chapels. The map seems especially focussed on the aboriginal presence.

Ile St. Jean is barely looked at, the bulk of the focus being reserved for mainland Acadia. Only a few place names are indicated and descriptive notes are casually written across the surface of the map. These can be easily read in the big pdf I have inserted.

There is one set of notations at Three Rivers where the Roma enterprise was still active. The finger of land upon which it was located is labelled as Le Comptoir, That is an archaic term for the place in a trading post where the value of goods was arrived at – by counting obviously. It can also refer to the building where transactions take place, and even up to my boyhood days in the Acadian countryside, when we went to the store we paid for our purchases at “le comptoir.”

The Comptoir is flanked by the names of two rivers that appear on the other Roma maps we looked at – the R. Esturgeon and the R. Aché. I am curious to know why this particular attention is given to that spot in that manner.


Finding Aid

The remaining dozen maps in this collection have been arranged in two groups. The first, consisting of 7 maps is characterised by giving the pointed part of Prince County a half-round snub nose which does nothing to make that region intelligible. East Point is also given a kind of small wagging tail which serves no purpose. The other, later (I believe) group, has the more familiar outline of the better maps. In order to permit the reader to communicate about this last assemblage of BNF maps I have decided, for the time being at least, to give them numbers in square brackets to make communication easier. Thus we have [Map 1], [Map2] and so on.


The First Group

Dating from the mid-1730s there is a series of manuscript maps that can be grouped together because of the way in which they present the outline of Ile Saint Jean. The area around North Cape has been thickened and rounded off in a swollen manner, while East Point has been given a kind of wagging tail. I strongly believe that the design for Ile Saint Jean comes from a matrix that had a lot of authority behind it, for so many maps, as you are about to see, use this outline. It raises chronology problems if we believe the weak evidence, in the form of a pencilled note on the back of one of them, that it dates from 1722. These kinds of notes are unreliable if they do not appear on the face of the map, either in the cartouche or in a secondary inscription. We will begin our examination of this series and make the assumption that they all date from the 1730s, specifically the middle of the decade.

We will begin with two two nautical maps of the Maritime region and the Atlantic fisheries that were produced in 1736. The original, which is coloured, is dated April 30, 1736 that helps us propose dates for several other manuscript maps that use the same distinctive outline of Ile Saint Jean.

[Map 1]

1736, Anonymous, Carte au trait du Golfe de St. Laurent Pour servir aux corrections que l’on trouvera a faire sur la Carte originale de ce Golfe Dressée le 30 Avril 1736, ink on paper with some stains, 48,5 x 63,5 cm, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, ark:/12148/btv1b53089638w.

Here is a detail of Ile Saint Jean with the place names it was thought important to add in that context.

These are the communities listed on this map:

B. Bedec – Bedeque Bay

Pte. de l’Ouest – North Cape


[Map 2]

1736, Anonymous, Carte au trait du Golfe de St. Laurent Pour servir aux corrections que l’on trouvera a faire sur la Carte originale de ce Golfe Dressée le 30 Avril 1736, ink on paper with some stains, 48,5 x 63,5 cm, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

This outline map seems to have been produced to correct the coloured map reproduced above. A note says that this is to serve to make necessary corrections on the chart dated April 30, 1736. Here again is that strange snub-nosed outline of Ile Saint Jean with its elongated tail at the east end.


Four other maps of Ile Saint Jean with portions of the Mainland also use this outline, and lacking any information from the French Archives I date them at the same time as the one above, except then a date, real or imaginary is found on the map. For example the next map has the date of 1722 written on the back in pencil, but I do not consider that to be reliable evidence of its actual date. The French Archives, as far as I can see at the moment, have not studied these maps systematically, and again and again, in their catalogue the archivists will give a date from the Seventeenth Century when the map itself is clearly dated to the Eighteenth in the cartouche information. The same judgment applies to the date on this map from the British Library. A cartouche has been set up, named, but otherwise left blank as if this map, with no settlements indicated, were a matrix for future map work. There is evidence to support this view.


[Map 3]

1730s, (1722 in pencil on back) – Anonymous, Carte de l’Isle St Jean, two-sheet drawing in ink and wash, 540 x 805 mm, The Lord Amherst Collection in the British Library.

 Carte de l’Isle St. Jean – British Library

I find the symbolic impact of this blank canvas enormous, as dated in the early years of the new colony on the Island, it expresses the potential and hope – and the dreams – of those who would come to set up the harbours and reclaim the marshes from the sea so that rich crops and extensive pasturage would be created.

Here is a detail of the area that would become the capital of the colony, Port la Joye.

It is all done by pen and coloured inks heightened with faint watercolour washes. It is all empty space waiting for the colony to happen!


There is a second copy of this map that exists in the Canadian Archives, also dated 1722, and called Carte de l’Isle St. Jean avec partie de l’Acadie et de l’Isle Royale. It is also drawn by pen and wash with coloured inks, except that the title cartouche has been filled in and a number of place names inserted along the edges of Ile Saint Jean.

[Map 4]

1730s [dated 1722 by LAC] Anonymous, Carte de l’Isle St. Jean avec partie de l’Acadie et de l’Isle Royale, two-sheet drawing in ink and wash, 53.9 x 82.3 cm, LAC.

Carte de l’Isle St Jean_LAC

Here is the cartouche that identifies the full scope of the map, but which also indicates the location of several important places around the capital. Note that the cartouche has no date.

And this is how the labelling of the map is done. Once again, I focus on the region of the capital.

From this information we begin to get an idea of the way the colony and its settlements were perceived in the earliest years following 1720. When we take an inventory of all the place names listed on the map this is what we collect:

b a tranchemontagne – North Lake

Baye de Bedec – Bedeque Bay

Baye de Magpec – Malpeque

Cabcamkec – Cascumpec

Cadocpiche – Savage Harbour

I Gouverneur – Governors Island

I St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

Les 3 rivieres – Three Rivers

P la Joye – Port la Joye

Pte de l’Est – East Point

Pte du sud – Point Prime

Poucjoumkek – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Tracadi – Tracadie

Remarques in Cartouche

Passage qui asseche a mer basse – passage dry at low tide

habitation ec – houses etc. at Port la Joye

Ile la Ronde – ?

Riviere de l’Assention – Seal, Vernon or Orwell Rivers in Orwell Bay

Five of those names predate the French colony and go back to Mi’kmaq and Basque times.


The d’Arrigand Map

There is a fourth map (Sobey p. 78), probably from the same source as the two preceding ones, that illustrates perfectly the progression from blank work sheet, to inserting the known place names along the coast, and here, in a more practical hands-on manner, using the map as a work sheet to document not only locations relevant to the traveller, but also describing natural resources inland, in this case, various trees for lumber. The image I use here is a Photoshop composite I made from a number of photos of the original in the British Library taken by Dr. Sobey. I attach a pdf of the larger result which is suitable for fairly close study. If it can be obtained a museum quality scan will be inserted in its place. This map used the matrix outline only, and no cartouche was deemed necessary for what was probably a sloppy work copy.


[Map 5]

1730s, Anonymous, The d’Arrigand Map, two-sheet drawing in ink and wash, British Library (copy in PARO, no. 0,547).

1720-30 c. D’Arrigand Map, BL

Here is a detail of the area of greatest activity at the time, and also that of interest to the mapmaker – the North Shore harbours and the approach to Saint Peter’s Bay.

This is now referred to as the d’Arrigand map after a Louisbourg entrepreneur called Gratien d’Arrigand whose name appears on the lower right edge. More about d’Arrigand can be found in the DCB in an article by F. J. Thorpe (1974) in vol. III.

Doug Sobey has provided a detailed analysis of the forest resources as d’Arrigand has identified them on his map (Sobey pp. 78-79).

These are the place names that are visible in this photograph of the British Library copy. With my work copy it was not possible to transcribe all the material relating to place names or locations on the map. In particular the writing in and around Port la Joye is illegible and it is not possible to make sense of a long inscription that seems to refer to Wood Islands. Hopefully in time this will be corrected.

 Bedec – Bedeque

Beau pignadas – good quality pines (near Tracadie)

Cap aux ours – Cape Bear

Capdepiche (?) – Savage Harbour

Chemin par terre pour aller de Malpec au port la Joye – road from Malpec to Port la Joye

Havre saint pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Le petit havre – New London Bay

Les Trois Rivières – Three Rivers

Malpec – Malpeque

Pierre Martin* habitant – house site near Mount Stewart

Pointe de l’ouest où il y a des cèdres – cedars found near West Point

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Portage pour aller à Malpec – portage to Malpeque

R. de l’ouest – West River

R. du nordest – Northeast River (Hillsborough)


Tranchmontaigne – North Lake

*Pierre Martin and his family came from Port Royale, lived a few years in Port Toulouse on Ile Royale and then moved to Ile Saint Jean where in 1720 they settled on the rich marshlands of Mount Stewart on the Hillsborough River. We do not know why his name was given community status on a couple of maps, but at this early date he seems well-established and notable in the area. He is the progenitor of all the Martins who live on the Island. (This information was kindly provided by Georges Arsenault.)


[Map 6]

[circa 1730s] Anonymous, Isle St-Jean, isles de Miscou, isles de la Madelaine, coste d’Acadie, isle Royale, dated improbably 1713, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, btv1b530644681.

1720-30 c. Anon, Isle St-Jean isles d Miscou, BNF

This map shows Ile Saint Jean comfortably nestled in the arms of what the cartographer fondly considered to be Acadie and Ile Royale. Compass roses with their wind direction lines abound and the Magdalen Islands are clearly drawn. The Archives notes give it a date of 1713 which is unlikely since Port la Joy would not be founded before 1720.

It is Ile Saint Jean that captures our attention with its very snub-nosed west end of the Island with North Cape completely ignored as if knowledge of that great reef and its dangers was of no interest to the mapmaker, who is, interestingly, well aware of nearby Cascumpec. This is curious and seems to indicate that the interest of the person or agency for which this map was produced was more focussed on the eastern part of the Island. This, of course, comes as no surprise because the major area of settlement that was chosen, and which would be to some degree developed, was from Malpeque to Saint Peter’s and down the Hillsborough to Port la Joye and the mouth of the entrance to the capital.

A detail of the island itself is very interesting, and very neatly drawn, showing an interest in the penetration of the inland reaches by means of the various rivers, which are clearly indicated.

The pdf file of the entire map will allow you to study the details of the island with great ease. It is beautifully drawn and tinted with watercolour and the lettering is exceptionally clear.

Here are the geographical locations that appear on the map, along with their modern equivalents. At this time, I believe them to be correct.

Baye Caccopiche – Savage Harbour

Bedec – Bedeque

Cap Dauphin – Cape Bear

Cascamquesques – Cascumpec

Echourie – échouerie means grounding place for boats and also a place where seals and seacows basked on the shore. Therefore Basin Head or South Lake seem like likely locations for this place name – unless it refers to a location only.

Etablisement – Capital of Port la Joye

Grande Riviere – Hillsborough River

Havre pour Chaloupes – ?

Havre pour des Chaloupes – North Rustico Harbour?

Havre Quiquibouguat – New London Bay

Havre St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Harbour

Isle a Bois – Wood Islands

Isle au Gouverneur – Governor’s Island

Isle de Gotuille – Robinson’s Island

Isle de Tentrée – East end of Hog Island detached

Isle St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

Les trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Macpec – Malpeque

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port la Joye

Riviere Atranche-montagne – North Lake

Riviere au Blanc – Tryon River

Riviere aux Crapaux – Crapaud

Portage de St. Pierre – Portage from Upper Hillsborough River to Saint Peter’s


[Map 7]

1730s,  Anonymous, [Plan des 1720-30 Plan des côtes N. de l’Acadie avec les îles de St Jean], N.D., Bibliotheque National, Paris, btv1b53089893w.

This manuscript map is absolutely splendid with all the place names carefully and clearly marked. For some reason it lacks a cartouche and so we are not sure of the intent of the cartographer. It is part of the snub-nosed series that appears in the 1730s and I include it here for that reason.

I attach a pdf file of the detail of Ile Saint Jean. It is an alluring picture that, even though we know almost nothing of the settlement plans and distribution, and have only what census data provides for some of the communities, still invites us to come in and explore.

C 1720-30 MS of Ile Saint Jean and N Coast of Acadia – BNF

Except for its orientation, it is quite similar to the previous map and I think must have come from the same workshop. From what I can make out the place names are more or less identical, suggesting that the same cartographer produced both maps.

Baye Caccopiche – Savage Harbour

Bedec – Bedeque

Cap Dauphin – Cape Bear

Cascamquesques – Cascumpec

Echourie – échouerie means grounding place for boats and also a place where seals and seacows basked on the shore. Therefore Basin Head or South Lake seem like likely locations for this place name – unless it refers to a location only.

Etablisement – Capital of Port la Joye

Grande Riviere – Hillsborough River

Havre pour Chaloupes – ?

Havre pour des Chaloupes – North Rustico Harbour?

Havre Quiquibouguat – New London Bay

Havre St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Harbour

Isle a Bois – Wood Islands

Isle au Gouverneur – Governor’s Island

Isle de Gotuille – Robinson’s Island

Isle de Tentrée – East end of Hog Island detached

Isle St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

Les trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Macpec – Malpeque

Petit Chenal pour des Chaloupes – channel inside dunes west of Malpecque

Portage de St. Pierre – Portage from Upper Hillsborough River to Saint Peter’s

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port la Joye

Riviere atranchemontagne – North Lake

Riviere au Blanc – Tryon River

Riviere aux Crapaux – Crapaud

Note how the cartographer has created a sort of bird’s eye view of the terrain, indicating the presence of hilly country. This suggests, not surprisingly, that the French and Acadians on the Island had a knowledge of the interior country and were prepared to try and represent it graphically. The Mi’kmaq had traversed it for over 2,000 years and the French, from the late Seventeenth Century, when nearby Beaubassin with its outpost at Baie Verte were flourished.

So, these six, almost identical outline maps, appear to belong specifically to a period of development in the colony of Ile Saint Jean. It is an exciting and rewarding progressions that describes the birth of the colony as an island with all previous history ignored, the addition of those place names from the past that were considered relevant at that time, and a practical demonstration of how such a map could be used in recording the exploration and possible exploitation of Ile Saint Jean.


The following maps in this collection, aside from the inversion of the North/South orientation from time to time, seem to belong to the late 1730s up to the disaster of 1745, and I have dated them as such. It is guesswork, as I hope you will realise, and subject at any time to corrections ans revisions.


The following map, by somebody called Dubois, about which the French Archives provide no information, presents Ile Saint Jean with north at the bottom, as was quite frequently done since the days of early mapmaking. For viewing convenience, I have flipped the detail of Ile Saint Jean so that it becomes more comprehensible. It is not a significant map, as far as I can determine, with relatively few place names listed, but it is part of the continuum of undateble maps that we have inherited from the past. The handwriting is not easy to read and as a result some place names may have been transcribed inaccurately.


[Map 8]

[1735-45?] Dubois, Carte de l’isle Royale de l’isle Saint-Jean et d’une partie (sic) de la coste de la ladis (Acadie), one sheet mounted on card, ink and wash drawing. BNF:

PDF    1720-45 Dubois Ile St. Jean – BNF

Ile Saint Jean is cleanly and austerely presented with its place names written lightly – and badly! – along the circumference ans on the Island itself.

These are the communities listed on the map:

Bedecq – Bedeque

C alourse – Cape Bear

Grand Racicot? – Grand Rustico

Havre au Guyage? – Savage Harbour

Isle a? Bois – Wood Islands

Les 3 rivieres – Three Rivers

Petit havre – New London Bay

pointe de l’est – East Point

Pointe du ouest – North Cape

Port la joie – Port la Joye

Pt prime – Point Prime

St Pierre – Saint Peter’s Bay


The following small map of Ile Saint Jean, drawn and painted on  a double sheet, is oriented to the south, No place names have been written on the map itself but, drawn all over it, almost as decoration with no significant groupings, are tiny trees.


[Map 9]

[1735-1745?], Anon., Ile St. Jean, ink and wash on a double sheet, 45 x 57 cm, oriented to the south,  BNF 40603431.

Malpeque Bay is huge. Hillsborough River is well articulated as is the area around Saint Peter’s Bay. Geographical locations are distributed fairly across the Island from North Cape to East Point. Instead of place names the cartographer as used letters of the alphabet in the cartouche and on the map to indicate the location. I have taken the liberty of layering text in red over the cartouche so that it will be easy to identify particular locations.

The date of this map, it seems to me, could be anywhere between 1735 and the invasion of 1745.

Bedec (P) – Bedeque

Entré de Cascampeck (N) – Cascumpec Harbour

Entré du Port de Malbeg (M) – Malpeque Harbour

Grande Ance (G) – Pownal Bay

Havre a languille (I) – Savage Harbour

Havre de Tracadie (L) – Tracadie Harbour

Havre Saint Pierre (H) – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Pointe a l’ours (D) – Cape Bear

Pointe aux framboises (B) – Keppoch area

Pointe de l’Est (F) – East Point

Pointe de Loüest (O) – West Point

Pointe Prime (C) – Point Prim

Rivière du Nord Est (A) – Hillsborough River

Trois Rivières (E) – Three Rivers



This very handsome map of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is given a visual excitement by the frequent appearance of compass roses with their lines extended to show the various wind directions. From that it may be possible to assume that this chart was prepared for nautical rather than administrative purposes.

[Map 10]

[1735-45?], Anonymous, Golfe de St Laurent (BNF title), ink and wash on single sheet, 54 x 45,5 cm, BNF 0004 0001 0005.

The cartouche does not give the chart a name, but with letters of the alphabet identifies all the principal land masses in the area of the Gulf.

There are interesting notes in the upper right of the cartouche and they consist of personal observations. The writer says that the area tinted red are places where he has visited and examined for himself. The second note is slightly damaged at the edge of the sheet but seems to say, “For those things which are in other colours I have adopted the best practices of the country.” The third note is clear in that everything tinted yellow represents sand. He refers specifically to the North Shore barrier dunes.

The pdf provided here shows the colours as they appear in the French National Archives scan, and the large scale of it permits close study of every part of the map.

PDF      [1730-50] Golfe de St. Laurent BN

The map is quite lovely with pen strokes that indicate a forested landscape. Not a lot of settlements are shown but they are the ones, from west to east, that we have come to expect as essential to any map. There are no surprises or irregularities.

The writing on the map is in a neat hand that permits one to read the place names easily. I am wondering whether these particular place names – all harbours – support further the idea that this is a nautical chart giving the precise locations of all fishing ports on Ile Saint Jean.

Baye du port Lajoye – Port la Joye Bay

Cap a L’Ours – Cape Bear

Cascancecq – Cascumpec

havre St pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

les isles a bois – Wood Islands

les trois rivieres – Three Rivers

Macpecq – Malpeque

petit havre – New London Bay

pointe de l’Est – East Point

pointe du Oüest – West Point or North Cape

port la joye – Port la Joye




[Map 11]

[1735-45?], Carte de Lisle St Jean et d’une partie de Lisle Royale et de L’Accadie, (erroneously dated 1690 by BN), manuscript map, pen and ink and some wash on paper. Bibliotheque national, Paris, 20014430.

PDF    1740-50 Carte de L’Isle St. Jean BNF

This very handsome map is one of the latest, I believe, and one of the most elegant in an ornamental sort of way. The combination of red and green inks and the beautifully articulated settlements with the red squares for buildings is very effective. It is quite simply a pleasure to look at this map.

The Bibliotheque Nationale dates it 1o 1690, but that is an error. The map was produced when the cartographers were more secure than before of the outline of the Island and the distribution and form of the settlements.

There is a large colourful compass rose that suggests a nautical function to this chart, but it may have been for office reference. It is possible to see that over time the map has received rough treatment in the way it was roughly folded.

This detail showing the course from Port la Joye to Havre Saint Pierre shows the heavy settlement along the Hillsborough River, and gives an idea of where precisely buildings might have been located. Anchorage is indicated by finely drawn anchors inserted into safe havens. Port la Joye has a cluster of buildings suggestive of a fort. Malpec, curiously, shows no sign of habitation at this time, while Bedeque and Cascumpec each have a number of building icons. These irregularities are always disturbing in maps of obvious quality, like this one.

The settlement patterns along the Hillsborough bring to mind the extremely detailed map of the Hillsborough River produced in 1730. It has been examined earlier in this post.

These are the settlements listed for Ile Saint Jean on this map/chart:

Bedec – Bedeque

C a lours – Cape Bear

Casquampec – Cascumpec

Havre aux anguiles – Savage Harbour

I a boy – Wood Islands

Les trois rivieres – Three Rivers

Malpec –

Pointe de l’est – East Point

Pointe de l’Ouest – North Cape

Port la Joye

R. dunordest – Hillsborough River

St. Pierre

Tracadie – Tracadie




1745 – The Fall of Louisbourg and the Destruction of Port la Joye

Louisbourg (seen below in a vignette in the 1746 Bellin and Jefferys map – see next post), and the colony of Ile Saint Jean came into being at the same time, both as centres for the fishery. Very quickly, and non-stop for 25 years, Louisbourg also became France’s fortress of the Atlantic, guarding the entrance to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Saint Lawrence River, and also its debated position in the huge area of Acadia where, in spite of British political control, the Acadians created and maintained the vast saltmarsh grasslands economy. An enormous fortress in the French Vauban style encircled the town and created the ambience visitors experience when they visit the reconstruction today.

The English, whose presence in New England grew ever more powerful and agitated, were acutely aware of the riches of New France and the major inconvenience the French, with Aboriginal support, posed to their dreams of territorial and economic expansion. By the time the 1740s came along there were clear indications in many quarters, both in Britain and in America, that England had to dominate the continent.

In July of 1745 the British commander William Pepperell sent an expedition to Ile Saint Jean that destroyed the de Roma enterprises at Three Rivers. The French garrison at Port la Joy consisted of 20 troops who fled and were pursued up the Hillsborough River while the British burned the settlement to the ground.

In the messy altercations that followed the French fought back, some New Englanders were killed, and hostages were taken. Here is a good summary of those events.

My next post will describe the mapping activity that took place between 1745 and 1763 when England finally gained control of New France and made plans for huge mapping projects to guide the establishment of government-controlled colonies in this New Eden.


Special Thanks

I wish to thank the Georges Arsenault for his quick response to my post and the corrections to place names he pointed out were necessary. Determining credible place names in these kinds of maps is extremely difficult. He also provided valuable information on the probable meaning of Pt de la Flame.

I am also grateful to Earle Lockerby for discussions of this new cartographic material and for providing and leading me to sources for relevant literature.



Arsenault, Georges; translated by Sally Ross, Illustrated History of the Acadians of Prince Edward Island, The Acord Press, Charlottetown, 2019.

Bélanger, René, Les Basques dans L’Estuaire de Saint-Laurent, Les Presses de L’Université du Québec, Montreal, 1971.

Denys, Nicolas, The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America (Acadia), 1672, Translated and edited with a memoir of the author, collateral documents, and a reprint of the original, by William F. Ganong Ph.D., The Champlain Society, Toronto, 1908.

Douglas, R., Place Names of Prince Edward Island with Meanings, F. C. Acland, Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, Ottawa, 1925.

Ganong, W. F., Crucial Maps in the Early Cartography and Place Nomenclature of the Atlantic Coast of Canada, University of Toronto Press and the Royal Society of Canada, Toronto, 1964, reprinted 2017.

Harvey, D. C., The French Regime in Prince Edward Island, (Reprinted from the 1926 edition), Ams Press, New York, 1970.

Hornsby, Stephen J., Surveyors of Empire: Samuel Holland, J. W. F. Des Barres and the Making of the Atlantic Neptune, Carleton Library Series 221, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, 2011.

Lennox, Jeffers, Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2017.

Kershaw, Kenneth A., Early Printed Maps of Canada, Vol, III – 1703-1799, First Edition, Second Impression, Alexander Books, Ancaster, Ontario, 2002.

Korvemaker, E. Frank., 1968 Excavation at the Roma Site P.E.I.,  National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Ottawa, 1969.

Korvemaker, E. Frank., 1969 Excavation at the Roma Site P.E.I.,  National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Ottawa, 1970.

Lockerby, Earle and Sobey, Douglas, Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island, Island Studies Press, University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, Charlottetown, 2015.

MacLean, Jill, Jean Pierre Roma of the Company of the East of Isle St. Jean, Prince Edward Island Heritage Foundation, 1977.

Rayburn, Alan, Geographical Names of Prince Edward Island, Surveys and Mapping Branch, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, 1973.

Schmeisser, Barbara M., Building a Colonial Outpost on Ile St. Jean: Port la Joye, 1729-1758, Atlantic Service Centre, Parks Canada, Halifax, 2000.

Sobey, Douglas, Early Descriptions of the Forests of Prince Edward Island – A Source Book – Part I, The French Period 1534-1758, Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Charlottetown, 2002.

Thomson, Don W., Men and Meridians: The History of Surveying and Mapping in Canada, Volume 1 Prior to 1867, The Queen’s Printer, Ottawa, 1966.