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Saint Croix Island International Historic Site: Wikis


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Saint Croix Island
International Historic Site
Location Washington County, Maine, United States
Nearest city Calais, Maine
Coordinates 45°7′42″N 67°8′0″W / 45.12833°N 67.133333°W / 45.12833; -67.133333Coordinates: 45°7′42″N 67°8′0″W / 45.12833°N 67.133333°W / 45.12833; -67.133333
Area 44.90 acres (181,700 m2)
22.44 acres (0.0908 km2) federal
Established June 8, 1949
Governing body National Park Service
Buildings on Saint Croix Island, 1613

Saint Croix Island (French: Île Sainte-Croix), long known to locals as Dochet Island, is a small uninhabited island in Maine near the mouth of the Saint Croix River that forms part of the International Boundary separating Maine from New Brunswick.

The 6.5 acre (26,000 m2) island measures approximately 200 yd (200 m) long by 100 yd (100 m) wide, and is located approximately 4 mi (6 km) upstream from the mouth of the river on Passamaquoddy Bay.

The island was the site of an early attempt at French colonization by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons in 1604. In 1984 it was designated by the United States Congress as Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. There is no public access to the island, but there is a visitor center on the U.S. mainland and a display on the Canadian mainland opposite the island.


St. Croix Settlement

The island was called Muttoneguis by the Passamaquoddy Nation who had used or lived on the island for numerous centuries before European discovery.

French noble Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons established a settlement on Saint Croix Island in June 1604 under the authority of the King of France. This outpost was one of the first attempts by France at year-round colonization in the territory they called l'Acadie. Earlier attempts by Cartier at Charlesbourg-Royal in 1541, at Tadoussac in 1544, and at Sable Island in 1598 had failed.

Cartographer Samuel de Champlain was part of the Dugua expedition and settlement on the small river island in 1604. The following spring, Champlain and François Gravé Du Pont, moved the settlement to a new location on the southern shore of the Bay of Fundy called Port-Royal. During the winter more than half the settlers had perished due to a "land-sickness" believed to be scurvy. Champlain had discovered this new location earlier in the spring during a shoreline reconnaissance of the Bay of Fundy for a more suitable settlement site.

In 1608, Samuel de Champlain and some of the settlers moved from Port-Royal to a settlement on the Saint Lawrence River that later became Québec.

Heritage of St. Croix Island

During a boundary dispute between Britain and the U.S. in 1797, the island was deemed to be under U.S. sovereignty by a survey of the river which determined it to be on the western side of the main river channel.

It became known as Bone Island in the 1700s after many of the graves were exposed by erosion. 23 sets of remains were removed in 1969 and subsequently reburied in 2003. Analysis of the bones showed that many of them had indications of scurvy, confirming the cause of the deaths described by Champlain. One skull showed signs of having been autopsied which Champlain wrote that he had ordered to try to discover the cause of their illness.[1]

The island was neutral territory in the War of 1812, leading it to be sometimes called Neutral Island.

Named by the French, Ile Ste-Croix, the island has also been called Demont's Island and Doucett Island.

International Historic Site


In 1949, the island was designated Saint Croix Island National Monument by the United States Congress. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It was given its current designation by Congress as an International Historic Site on September 25, 1984, a unique designation in the National Park System of the United States. Since 1968, the island's historical sites have been managed by the National Park Service (U.S.) under Acadia National Park, in consultation with Parks Canada which maintains a viewing and interpretation site on the New Brunswick side of the river. The two nations routinely cooperate on commemorative activities and promotions. Special commemorations by the two nations in 2004 marked the 400th anniversary of French settlement in North America.

See also


External links



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