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After Europeans found out about this "new" continent, the king of France decided that he should send people to settle there in order to claim the land for France. He called this land New France. Building settlements and looking after the settlers was expensive so he offered to give all the rights to fur trading to one person and in exchange they would have to bring settlers to New France.
In 1603, King Henry IV of France gave Pierre Du Gua de Monts a monopoly on the fur trade in New France. That year De Monts, his mapmaker Samuel de Champlain and the crew left France on the ship Bonne Renommée and arrived at Tadoussac, a fur-trading centre, to start a colony. In the first year of the settlement, only five of 16 men survived. In 1604, de Monts and Champlain began a new colony on Île Sainte-Croix in the Baie Française (now called the Bay of Fundy). But the conditions were harsh and 35 of 79 men died. In 1605, they moved the settlement to sheltered harbour across the bay in what is now Nova Scotia. They called this new settlement Port-Royal, and it became the capital of Acadia, the first colony in New France.
The French built a wooden fort, two stories high, with a courtyard in the middle. They planted wheat and vegetables outside the fort to help feed them throughout the winter. In order to take the men's minds off the long cold winter, Champlain began a tradition called the Order of Good Cheer. Each man took his turn to plan an evening of entertainment and a delicious feast. The person who was planning the evening had to catch or hunt the main course and cook the food. Roasts of moose, duck, goose, rabbit, bear, porcupine, beaver tail or fish might be served. He was also responsible for organizing the entertainment, which might be music or skits. These evenings helped to keep the men's health and spirits up.
The French formed good relations with the Mi'kmaq and traded with them for furs. The colonists had made it through the winter well, but one day news came from France that the king had ended de Monts' monopoly on fur trading. The settlement could not continue without a supply of men, profits from furs and supplies. Port-Royal was abandoned in 1607 and the settlers returned to France.