Sable Island

Failed Colonies: Sable Island 1598

1. Who wrote the document and why?
This document was written by the Henry de Bourbon on March 1, 1598, in comission to recruit 100 of the best and most experienced French infantry, (under a lieutenant to be named) to join the Marquis de la Roche to Canada within the two weeks that the soldiers have been recruited.

2. Where was the colony located?
This failed colony was located on Sable Island, which is 300km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is primarily a sand bar, compromised of beaches, dunes, fields of grass and fresh water ponds. It is 42 km long and roughly 1.5 km wide.

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3. Who were the settlers who tried to colonize this place?
The settlers who tried to colonize Sable Island were a mixture of men and woman these people were beggars, vagabonds and convicts.

4. What motivated these people to travel across the Atlantic?
The settlers on Sable Island consisted of 100 soldiers, 200 men, and 50 women. The Parliament of Normandy authorized the transport of these people on May 20, 1598. The men and women consisted of “sturdy beggars” and “strong tramps” that were investigated and rounded up in Rouen. These people did not hold motivation to travel across the Atlantic, but instead did so “according to the will, and intention of the King”.

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5. With whom did these people come into contact when they arrived in North America?
The French settlers of Sable Island or ‘Marquis de La Roche’ encountered aboriginal people, which they called the ‘Souriquois’ when they arrived to North America. The Souriquois are more commonly known today as the Mi’kmaq.


6. Why did the colony fail?
Sable Island, once referred to as Marquis de la Roche, failed as a colony for a variety of reasons. One reason could have been that the timeline to set up the colony of 100 men was too short, the span of two weeks. Another factor that may have played a role in failing this colony is nightly theft. A lieutenant general of the police was sent to control the theft rates but little could be done with the information he received. Resources were also slim, which caused the people to revolt and murder two leaders. La Roche died in 1606.


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