Trapped For The Winter / Prisonniers de l'hiver
"During the winter a certain malady attacked many of our people...
We could find no remedy..."
Samuel Champlain Journal, 1604 (translation)
When winter came, treacherous ice made crossing to the mainland impossible. The French were trapped on the island without fresh water or game. They survived on preserved food, wine, and melted snow. But then sickness struck. by spring, thirty-five men—nearly half their number—were dead.
The French were not only unprepared for the North American climate, but they were also unlucky. In 1604-05, winter temperatures were colder than they usually are today.
In his journals, Champlain suggests that the settlers were killed by scurvy. Unfortunately, it would be another 150 years before Europeans learned that fresh fruit prevents scurvy.
Nous ne pusmes trouuer aucun remede...»
L'hiver venu, l'état incertain des glaces empêche les gens de se rendre sur le continent. Les Français sont prisonniers de l'île, sans eau potable ou gibier sauvage. Ils parviennent à survivre en se nourrissant de conserves, de vin et de neige fondue, mais la maladie frappe. Au printemps, 35 hommes — soit près de la moitrié d'entre eux — sont morts.
Le Français étaient non seulement mal préparés pour affronter le climat nord-américain, mais également malchanceux. En 1604-1605, l'hiver était beaucoup plus rigoureux qu'il ne l'est habituellement aujourd'hui.
Selon les journeaux de Champlain, les pionniers auraient été victimes du scorbut. Malbeureusement, il faudra attendre encore 150 ans avant que les Européens apprennent que manger des fruits frais prévient cette maladie.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Disasters • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1604.
Location. 45° 7.439′ N, 67° 8.761′ W. Marker is near Calais, Maine, in Washington County. Marker is on the grounds of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, along the interpretive trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 84 Saint Croix Drive, Calais ME 04619, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. Exploring the Coast / Exploration de la côte (a few steps from this marker); Lessons Learned / Leçons durement apprises (a few steps from this marker); Imagining the Settlement / La colonie telle qu'on l'imagine (within shouting distance of this marker); Building A Community / Tout à bâtir (within shouting distance of this marker); Settling on Saint Croix Island / Colonisation de l'île Sainte-Croix (within shouting distance of this marker); Strangers Offshore / Étrangers du grand large (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Saint Croix Island International Historic Site / An Enduring Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Saint Croix Island (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Calais.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site / Île Sainte-Croix Lieu historique international
Also see . . .
1. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. (Submitted on October 21, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site Audio Files for Interpretive Trail. (Submitted on October 21, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 174 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 21, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.