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1603-1763 The French English Conflict
  • Early 1600's
  • The first systematic effort to found French colonies in America.  French settlements in Acadia, along the St. Lawrence and at Placentia in Newfoundland flourished.  French government, to participate in the Atlantic fishery and North American fur trade, believed permanent settlements were required.  During the same period, English merchants increased an already extensive fishing operation in Newfoundland and planted colonies along the Atlantic seaboard to the south. 

    Missionaries followed the French colonists and brought Christianity to the First Nation people.  A secondary purpose was to make the Mi'gmaq and Maliseet First Nations friendly to French military forces and to persuade them to assist France in its war against England for control of the region.  The missionaries created a core of genuine converts and these allies proved to be extremely useful in times of war.  This positive response to missionary work indicated that it was possible for the French to identify themselves with Acadia and its First Nation inhabitants. 

    Different concepts of land ownership and usage were imposed on the First Nation people after contact with the French.  In earlier times, lands were used in common with the products of the land being shared by everyone and was distributed according to clan.  After contact with the French, land tenure based on clan ownership was replaced by individual ownership and French traders and settlers quickly occupied the best land. 

    France creates settlements at Port Royal in Acadia (or Nova Scotia) and on the St. Lawrence River in New France (or Quebec) to protect fishing and fur trading activity.

  • 1603
  • Panonias, the leader of a Mi'gmaq war party against the Penobscot, was killed in battle and his corpse brought back to Port Royal for burial (Biggar 1922:444).
  • 1604
  • Samuel de Champlain and Pierre du Gast, the Sieur de Monts, explored what later became New Brunswick and named the Saint John River.  A small French settlement was established on Dochets Island in the St. Croix River in Charlotte County on the Maine and New Brunswick border. 
  • 1605
  • The French colonists moved across the Bay of Fundy from Dochets Island to Port Royal on the present-day Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia.  France sent out more settlers and gradually new communities were established.  The colonists lived along the riverbanks, diking and farming the tidal marshlands, raising cattle and other livestock, and having large healthy families.
  • 1613
  • Captain Samuel Argall of Jamestown, Virginia was sent by the British to attack and capture Port Royal.  This was to be the first of several times the French colony would fall into British hands during the next century.  Port Royal was soon returned to France because of French military victories in Europe and ensuing diplomatic negotiations.
  • 1620's
  • A large number of Puritans seeking religious freedom left England and crossed the Atlantic to establish prosperous settlements in Massachusetts.  Many New Englanders were involved in farming and with each generation, the need for more farmland increased.  New settlements were set up in New Hampshire and Maine in First Nation territory.  The New Englanders drove out resident First Nation people and then rapidly replaced the forests with farm buildings, fields, orchards, fences and pastures. 
  • 1625
  • Charles I of England granted Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander who called the land north of the Bay of Fundy, Alexandria; and its principal river, the Clyde.  This later became New Brunswick and the Saint John River.  French in Acadia and New France tried to prevent the expansion of New England settlements into what they considered their territory.  French military leaders and Jesuit missionaries effectively recruited Mi'gmaq and Maliseet warriors to assist them in the war against the English. 
  • 1631
  • The French built Fort Latour at the mouth of the Saint John River as a trading post and rallying place for the First Nation population. 
  • 1654
  • New England sent forces to attack the French posts at Saint John, New Brunswick, and Port Royal and La Have in Nova Scotia.
  • 1672
  • The French seigniorial system established below Fredericton.
  • 1675-1678
  • King Philip's War  (First Anglo-Wabanaki War) begins between the English and the First Nation people in Maine after an 'Indians'' uprising against English settlements in southern Maine.
    Following King Philip's War, remnants of several defeated New England Wabanaki tribes fled north.
  • early 1680's - mid 1880's
  • The Wabanaki Confederacy played a crucial role for First Nation rights in North America.  The Abenaki, Mi'gmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot First Nations were all members at various times during this interval and developed a close cultural relationship.  Representing a sacred bond of Algonquian goodwill that arose out of necessity, these five First Nations shaped policies in reaction against or in accord with strategic movements by the French, English, Huron, Ottawa, Mohawk, Ojibwa and Iroquois and spanned the Canadian Maritimes, Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec and in Maine (Abbe-Museum).
  • 1688-1759
  • A series of five "French and Indian" Wars or Territorial Wars fought by First Nations, French and English.  In some, First Nations are allied with the French for their conflict with England.  Other First Nations  are simply motivated by self-preservation to stem the steady encroachment by English on First Nation lands and food sources.  English settlers offer bounties for "Indian" scalps.  French offer bounties for English scalps.  Many Wabanaki move out of Maine to Canada's St. Francis and St. Lawrence River valleys. 
  • 1688-1698
  • King William War (Second Anglo-Wabanaki War): New England First Nation communities attacked and ravished; directly related to the ongoing power struggle in Europe.
  • 1689
  • A Maliseet war party traveled from Meductic to Maine where they captured Fort Charles at Pemaquid situated midway on the coast between the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers.  They destroyed the fort and settlement and took captives including a ten-year-old boy named John Gyles who in 1736 published an account of his six year stay on the Saint John River.
  • 1690
  • Sir William Phips attacked and seized Port Royal, and Acadia briefly annexed to Massachusetts.  French and First Nation forces drove New England fishermen from the harbours of Nova Scotia, and continued to attack New England settlements.  French military and naval forces defeated the English elsewhere in the world forcing the return of Port Royal and other captured French posts to France.
  • 1692
  • The French built Fort Nashwaak at the mouth of the Nashwaak River, and for a time it became capital of Acadia.  Here, Maliseet from Meductic and Aukpaque traded with the French in times of peace and supported them in times of war.

    The French established military points of strength at the mouth of the Nashwaak and Saint John rivers and at the Maliseet community of Meductic.  At Meductic there was a fort surrounded by a palisade that guarded the eastern end of an eight-mile long portage that avoided the rapids obstructing the lower end of the Eel River.  Within the fort was a wooden cabin used by French Jesuit missionaries to provide religious instruction.

  • Early 1700's
  • Three or four hundred First Nation people resided at Meductic.  There were other First Nation communities at Aukpaque, Tobique and Madawaska on the Saint John River.  All served to warn the French at Quebec of possible English attacks.
  • 1702 - 1713
  • Queen Anne's War (Third Anglo-Wabanaki War): fought between France and England in North America for control of the continent and was the counterpart of the War of the Spanish Succession in Europe.  The French Crown declares war on neighbouring English colonists.  Many First Nation communities attacked and ravished by the English.
  • 1704
  • English forces attack French settlements along the Bay of Fundy but are unable to capture Port Royal, defended by French, Maliseet and Mi'gmaq forces.
  • 1710
  • The English brought a larger force, attacked and captured Port Royal, and renamed it Annapolis Royal in honour of Queen Anne.  Thus, the first settled French community in North America passed permanently into British hands.  Counterattacks by French forces and Native allies kept the English confined to their fort. 
  • 1711
  • A party of eighty British soldiers ambushed and annihilated within a few miles of the fort at Port Royal.
  • 1713
  • The Treaty of Utrecht resulted in the English gaining control of mainland Nova Scotia but France retained control over what is now Cape Breton and New Brunswick and kept the support of their First Nation allies.  The British Crown acquired the power to pass legislation concerning its American colonies and it could confirm or annul existing property rights.  After 1713, American colonists moved east of the Kennebec River to set up new settlements.
    The French begin construction of a great fortress, Fort Louisbourg, along the sheltered south-western shore of Cape Breton which served as a focal point for French military, fishing and trading operations along the Atlantic seaboard and in the French West Indies.
  • 1722-1727
  • Dummer's or Lovewell's War (Third Anglo-Wabanaki War): a war when First Nations react to British encroachment.  The Passamaquoddy claimed that New Englanders were trespassing on their territory and French military leaders encouraged Maliseet and Mi'gmaq warriors to attack.  The British attacked and burned many First Nation villages, including Norridgewock and Old Town in Maine.  First Nations retaliated by destroying English settlements on the lower Kennebec River.
  • 1724
  • First Nation warriors raid several British controlled points in Nova Scotia.
  • 1725-1727
  • In Dummer's Treaty, English recognize Wabanaki ownership of lands in Maine, but not Mi'gmaq and Maliseet lands in Nova Scotia.  "Articles of Submission and Agreement" were signed at Boston on December 15, 1725 by which First Nations were forced to acknowledge the sovereignty of the British Crown over Nova Scotia.
  • 1736
  • John Gyles published an account of his 6-year stay on the Saint John River with the Maliseet people (1689).
  • 1744-1748
  • King George's War (Fifth Anglo-Wabanaki War) begins after France declares war on Britain, and the conflict spills over into northeast America.  English declare war on the Mi'gmaq and Maliseet First Nations.  New Englanders wanted to settle Nova Scotia but first they had to defeat the French and their First Nation allies, and then deport French colonists.  French and First Nation forces attack English fishing boats and the British fort at Annapolis Royal.  They also renew their attacks on New England settlements to the south.  The First Nation warriors were fighting for traditional interests and against encroachments by New Englanders upon their territory.  The English retaliated by sending forces to attack First Nation encampments in Nova Scotia to kill their inhabitants or drive them into the woods, thus making it unsafe to fish or trade near the coast.
  • 1745
  • Massachusetts land forces assisted by British warships successfully attack and capture the French fortress at Louisbourg.
  • 1746
  • In September 1746, some two hundred First Nation people and their French allies surprised the British troops guarding the captured fortress of Louisbourg and forty British troops killed, wounded or captured. 
  • 1748
  • British military losses to France in Europe forced Great Britain to return Fort Louisbourg to France.  This infuriated the New Englanders who had successfully captured the fortress.  To appease the American interests, strengthen British involvement in the cod fishery, neutralize French strength at Louisbourg, and offer protection against French and First Nation attacks, the British government brought over 3,000 soldiers and settlers and established a colony at Halifax.  The French contested the creation of this English stronghold at Halifax.  French and First Nation forces harassed the infant community and confined the settlers to the palisades.  In an attempt to pacify the First Nations people, British officials renewed the treaty of 1725.  French agents, however, stirred up the First Nation people and influenced them against the British and soon new attacks were being made.
  • 1750's
  • Larger First Nation communities were at Meductic, Aukpaque and Madawaska along the Saint John River, at Old Mission Point on the Restigouche, at various places along the Miramichi and Richibucto Rivers, and at Pleasant Point in Passamaquoddy Bay.  The community at Aukpaque, established in the early 1700's and located five miles above Fredericton, had surpassed Meductic in importance.  The community contained a church and was the home of a French missionary.  In 1767, the bell and other articles from the chapel at Meductic were moved to the chapel at Aukpaque.
  • 1751
  • The French in New Brunswick constructed Fort Beauséjour on the Missiquash River and Fort Gaspéreau at Baie Verte (  The English retaliated by erecting Fort Lawrence three miles from Fort Beauséjour and a continuous state of war followed.
  • 1754-1763
  • French & Indian War (Fifth Anglo-Wabanaki War) breaks out after France and Britain wage war again and the conflict intensifies hostilities in colonial North America.  The war led to the fall of New France.
  • 1754
  • Naval and military forces from Great Britain and New England came to strengthen Fort Lawrence and to drive out the French and their First Nation allies. 
  • 1755
  • In May 1755, a fleet of thirty-six vessels left Boston destined for Fort Lawrence with additional reinforcements. 
    On June 14, 1755, the British and New England forces led by Colonel Robert Monckton attacked Fort Beauséjour, defended by French regulars and several hundred Acadians and First Nation warriors.  Two days later, they captured Fort Beauséjour and renamed it Fort Cumberland.  The British and New England forces went on to successfully attack and destroy other French forts in the area.

    In York County, there was a large Maliseet community at Aukpaque about 7 miles above Fredericton at the mouth of the Springhill Brook.  This site included Savage and Harts Island.  During the French and English war, the church, French Missionary residence and other buildings were burnt to prevent them from falling into British hands. 

  • 1755-1761
  • Between 1755 and 1761, over 10,000 Acadians, 75% of the entire population were deported at the cost of great human misery. Some Acadians escaped, went into hiding and with their First Nation allies conducted a type of guerrilla warfare.  Over the ensuing years, a number of Acadian fugitives made their way back from various places to what later became northern New Brunswick.
  • 1755
  • In June 1755, British and New England officials turned their attention to dealing with the French Acadian population.  British officers demanded that they take an oath of allegiance to the English Crown and when they refused, claiming neutrality, French settlements, farm buildings and crops destroyed and many of these unfortunate Acadians collected and deported.

    In September 1755, a combined force of French regulars, Acadians and First Nation warriors defeated a New England detachment in the Petitcodiac valley.  It would take the New England and British forces several more years to completely locate and destroy the remaining French military forces and their Acadian and First Nation allies.

  • 1758
  • In the spring, General Amherst took command of British and American forces and again launched a large military expedition against Fort Louisbourg, defended by the French army, Acadian recruits and First Nation warriors.  Following a great struggle, the fortress was captured successfully.  Following the capture and destruction of Fort Louisbourg, the British consolidated their victories.  With an army of over 2,000 men Monckton moved to the mouth of the Saint John River and established Fort Frederick and from this military base expeditions were sent up the Saint John and Petitcodiac Rivers and along the coast to sink or capture French ships, destroy French and First Nation settlements and round up and deport Acadians.  At St. Anne's, present-day Fredericton, the settlement was attacked and a 147 buildings burned and a number of Acadians massacred by New England forces in retaliation for similar massacres carried out in New England communities.
  • 1759
  • By the end of 1759, British military and naval forces had captured every position of French strength in Acadia and had gathered up and deported a large part of the French Acadian population.  The French & Indian War continued elsewhere with the conquering of Quebec City in 1759 and Montreal the next year. 
  • 1760
  • British forces conquer Montreal. 
  • 1760 to 1783:
  • English settlement
  • 1760
  • The last battle of the French & Indian War, The Battle of Restigouche, fought in the spring of 1760 when a British fleet met, attacked and destroyed a French fleet, and their land defences.  These final defeats signalled an end of France's attempt to establish a North American empire.  After the fall of New France and Acadia, First Nations and French Acadians came under the control of British officials at Halifax.  The chiefs of the Mi'gmaq and Maliseet along with Acadians representatives made submissions of peace to the British authorities at Fort Cumberland. 

    The years from 1760 to the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783 were not happy ones for First Nation people.  The period began with the defeat of French allies by British forces.  After 1761, several hundred New Englanders and settlers from Europe came to what later became New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and settled on many ancestral Mi'gmaq and Maliseet lands.  First Nation people lost access to territory they had used for three thousand years and this loss of land meant that their long established lifestyle of wandering about the area hunting, fishing and trapping was also challenged.  The British government in London attempted to protect the First Nation people but local officials sided with the new colonists and complaints of interference and trespass went unheeded.  With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, British colonial officials sought to pacify the First Nation people and remove them as a military threat.  Small amounts of land were conveyed to them, a Catholic priest was brought in and an attempt was made to address their complaints.  Although some New Brunswick First Nation people fought with the Americans, most remained neutral in the conflict.

    The First Nation people tried to continue to live a nomadic lifestyle, but the area in which they could move became restricted after 1760 when British authorities in Halifax invited New Englanders to come north and settle the lands that formerly belonged to deported French Acadians.  Approximately 8,000 New Englanders moved north to Nova Scotia from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  A significant number settled on many ancestral Mi'gmaq and Maliseet sites in what later became New Brunswick.  They took up lands at the mouth of the Saint John River, and upriver at Maugerville and Sheffield.  Some Maliseet and a small number of Acadians occupied the land above present-day Fredericton.  The Halifax government laid out 100,000 acres for New Englanders to settle at Sackville and Moncton, along the Memramcook and Petitcodiac Rivers in what later became Westmorland County, and at Hopewell and Hillsborough in what later became Albert County.  A small number of New England settlers took up residence in what later became Charlotte County, New Brunswick.  In the Chignecto region of what is now Westmorland County, New Englanders settled in an area long used by the Mi'gmaq as a route of travel from the Bay of Fundy to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

    After 1761, the Maliseet lost unrestricted access to the entire lower half of the Saint John River valley to New Englanders and this loss of territory accelerated with the arrival of thousands of Loyalists in 1783.  In 1783, before the Loyalists arrived, it was estimated that there were approximately 5,000 inhabitants living in the area that later became New Brunswick.  This population consisted of New Englanders, Acadians, the Mi'gmaq and Maliseet, some settlers from the British Isles and a small number of Germans from Pennsylvania. 

  • 1761
  • British officials were in a conciliatory mood and sought to pacify First Nation leaders with gifts, promises of land, lenient treatment and the services of Catholic clergy.  On June 25, 1761, a "Burying of the Hatchet Ceremony" was held in Halifax where treaties of peace and friendship were signed between the Governor and the Chiefs from the "Merimichi," "Jediack," "Pogmouch," and Cape Breton Mi'gmaq clans by which they acknowledged the rule of King George III of England.  The treaty involved promises not to attack any English settlers, encourage English troops to desert, nor trade with the French.  The chiefs agreed to release all English captives, make compensation for robberies, and not take personal vengeance when quarrels arose but seek redress through the English courts of law.  The First Nations agreed to leave two of their kinsmen at Halifax as hostages and as a guarantee of good behaviour.  After British power was established, First Nation people became peaceful and adhered to their promises.  Annually, First Nation leaders travelled to Halifax to receive presents from the British government.
    The Mi'gmaq First Nation sought redress through the English law courts and lodged complaints concerning English colonists taking over their possessions and establishing illegal settlements on their lands. 
  • 1762
  • A Proclamation in 1762 ordered settlers not to interfere with lands reserved for, or claimed by the First Nations.  Settlers, who inadvertently or illegally were squatting on lands set aside for the First Nations, were instructed to remove themselves, but for the most part this proclamation was ignored.
  • 1763
  • The Royal Proclamation brought the management of Indian Affairs under central direction.  It was an attempt to prevent the illegal seizure of First Nation lands by the incoming British settlers

    At Aukpaque in York County at the mouth of the Springhill Brook (including Savage and Harts Island), First Nation people re-established themselves having fled during the war in 1755.  In July each year, they meet in council on Savage Island to resolve disputes and assign hunting grounds to each family for the following year.  The Maliseet used the site until sold in 1794 to the Loyalists.  The Maliseet moved upriver to Kingsclear and Saint Mary's.

    French and Indian Wars (Anglo-Wabanaki Wars) end with the Treaty of Paris that forces France to give New France and Acadia to Great Britain.  British win control of Canada, Royal Proclamation recognizes First Nation rights to land in North America.  Many Wabanaki lands are included in the swap but without their consent.  During the final years of the war in New Brunswick, the Maliseet and Mi'gmaq, who had played such an important part in the historic struggle between France and England, fighting in virtually every major battle, retreated with defeated French military forces and Acadian refugees. 

  • 1763
  • King George III issued a Royal Proclamation by which the British government tried to pacify the First Nation populations within the newly acquired North American territory.  This proclamation directed that lands not purchased by the British Crown were to be used by the First Nation populations as hunting and fishing grounds and were not to be settled by colonists.  A consistent policy was adopted by which a colonial governor could grant land to settlers after he reached an agreement with the First Nation population.  In practice, however, First Nation rights were not respected and colonial governors often acted according to political expediency and necessity, rather than rights or justice.  Local officials argued that because First Nation people led a nomadic life and lived by hunting and fishing, they did not permanently occupy tracts of land or "own" the land in a European legal sense.  Colonial leaders often treated First Nation lands as if they were vacant to cope with the strenuous demands for land grants made by settlers.  Throughout the area that later became New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, First Nation people had to deal with the influx of a significant number of New England settlers, the same people with whom they had been at war for over a century.  The new settlers acquired ownership of a significant part of the First Nation hunting, fishing and gathering territory.  The First Nation people were alarmed as the government at Halifax established counties and townships and conveyed lands to New England, Yorkshire, Germans and Scottish settlers who quickly built houses, barns and outbuildings, erected grist and sawmills, cleared the forests, fenced land, raised livestock and planted crops.

    500,000 acres below present-day Fredericton set aside by British government officials in London for retired military and naval officers.  The St. John's River Society intended to establish agricultural estates and sponsor settlers on the landlord-tenant principle.  However, it was only in the Society's townships at Gagetown and Burton across from Maugerville that the proprietors made any successful attempts to attract settlers.

    German settlers arrive from Pennsylvania to settle in New Brunswick.