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Pierre Dugua Sieur de Monts
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Pierre Dugua Sieur de Monts

Pierre de Monts (15581628) was a merchant, explorer and colonizer. He was born in Saintonge, France and had a great influence over the first two decades of the 17th century. He probably came to Canada for the first time in 1600 with Pierre Chauvin de Tonnetuit.

In 1603, the king of France, Henri IV, granted him, for ten years, the exclusive rights to colonize. He also gave him the monopoly of the fur trade in the French lands of the New World. The king also named de Monts the governor of Acadia. In return, de Monts promised to bring 60 new colonists each year to Acadia.

In 1604, de Monts left France with about 100 men, including cartographer Samuel de Champlain, the baron de Poutrincourt and priest Nicolas Aubry.

De Monts founded a colony on Ste. Croix Island (now called Dochet Island). Forced by the climate and disease during the winter, the colony was moved to Port Royal in 1605. The colony survived and prospered until 1607.

The king decided that Port Royal was not making enough profit in fish and furs. The settlers were ordered to abandon the colony and de Monts' fur trade monopoly was revoked.

De Monts returned to France and turned his attention to the St. Lawrence Valley. He never came back to the New World but he sent Champlain to open a commercial counter at Quebec in 1608, thus playing a major role in the foundation of a permanent French colony in North America. De Monts maintained his commercial interests until 1617 when he retired to the Ardennes. He died in 1628.