Sunday, October 24, 2010

Port-Royal Captured, 1710

A recent anniversary:

The handful of French soldiers defending Acadie were hungry and tired of war on Monday, October 6, 1710, when ships from New England returned to the Annapolis Basin, this time under the command of Francis Nicholson, and under the eye of Samuel Vetch, an ambitious Scotsman who had a promise of governorship of Canada if he could take it from the French. Vetch had put together the attacking force and made Nicholson it commander in chief.

This time, the siege lasted a week, but Subercase did not have the men or material he needed. On Saturday, October 11, Subercase wrote to Nicholson, "I now write to you to tell you, Sir, that for to (sic) prevent the spilling of both English and French Blood, I am ready to hold up both hands for a Capitulation that will be honorable to both of us."

The final articles of surrender were signed on October 13, 1710. They decreed, among other things, that inhabitants of Port Royal "within cannon shot of the fort...shall remain upon their estates, with their corn, cattle, and furniture...they taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Fidelity to Her Sacred Majesty of Great Britain."

The banner of France was raised for the last time at Port Royal at sunrise on Thursday, October 16, 1710. Midway through the morning, French officials and soldiers and their families, 258 people, paraded from the little fort, boarded British ships, and sailed for home. As they left, British and American troops and officers marched into the fort, hoisted the Union Jack, toasted Queen Anne, and gave the town her name. It has been Annapolis Royal since then.

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession in Europe. It ceded Acadie and Newfoundland to England. This time it stayed in British hands.

According to the language of the treaty, "...all Nova Scotia or Acadie, with its ancient Boundaries; as also the City of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal, and all other things in those Parts, which depend on the said Lands and Islands; together with the Dominion, Propriety, and Possession of the said Islands, Lands, and Places; and all Right whatsoever, by Treaties, or by any other way obtained, which the most Christian King, the Crown of France, or any of the Subjects thereof, have hitherto had to the said Islands, Lands, and Places, and the Inhabitants of the same, are yielded and made over to the Queen of Great Britain and to her Crown for ever."

Vive l'Acadie.

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