View Full Version : Was the oldest continuously inhabited town in Canada Portuguese?

02-12-2022, 06:33 PM
In 1521 Portuguese explorer Joao Alvarez Fagundes with a group of men from the port city of Viana in Portugal, organzed an expedition in order to found a colony on Cape Breton Island. They had two ships including "a caravel and a large ship". First they sailed to the Azores, where they recruited 10 families of settlers (probably around 50 people?). Then the expedition crossed the Atlantic sailing to the Bahamas, and from there they sailed further along the coast in northern direction until reaching Cape Breton Island.

Cape Breton Island was then inhabited by the Mikmaq Indians.

They Portuguese established a settlement in the northern part of the island - and called it Santo Pedro.


It is controversial when exactly - and if - this settlement ceased to exist (or if it survived continuously):

In one article I read, that most probably it was abandoned by all settlers already after few years (probably around 1527). According to another source (Jean Alfonse) the settlement was not abandoned, but was destroyed by the Mikmaq Indians, who killed all of the settlers. According to yet another article, the settlement could survive until 1585 when Bernard Drake destroyed Spanish and Portuguese fishing fleets around Newfoundland. Finally, according to Wikipedia, the settlement survived until the early 17th century, when it was captured by the French (in the 1630s). The French changed its name from Santo Pedro to Saint Pierre and populated it with merchants from La Rochelle.

Question is, which version is true? Could Portuguese fishermen & settlers survive there for over 100 years?

If the last version is true it would mean that Santo Pedro / Saint Pierre is the oldest continuously inhabited white settlement in Canada (and perhaps in all of North Amercia).


What else do we know about Portuguese exploration & other settlement attempts in North America?

02-13-2022, 01:22 AM
The Portuguese Empire was not interested in North America because we had to fight for South America strategically positioned en route to Africa and India, as far as I know no official project or plan to conquer or colonize there.

jose luis
02-13-2022, 04:15 PM
"The brothers Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real made bold voyages seeking the elusive North West Passage in tiny caravels of the Order of Christ in the years 1501-1502. Miguel was lost in the northern seas while seeking his brother Gaspar, who is credited by some historians with explorations of the coasts from Greenland all the way to New England. It has been asserted by some historians that the Portuguese were the first to exploit the fishing found on the Grand Bankss, late in the 15th century. In support of this theory there is documentation of special tithes levied on catches of cod by King Manuel of Portugal as early as 1506. For a century or more after its recorded discovery, Newfoundland became known to Western Europe as '`Tierra dos Bacallaos" (Portuguese for codfish). It is identified in this manner on a map published in 1569 by the celeb rated Dutchman Gerardus Mercator, who marked Labrador (the Portuguese word for farmer) as "Terra Corte Realis". Some of the longest settled and most historic parts of the Island of Newfoundland stil bear names of Portuguese origin... As early as 1502 a Portuguese map identified what is now Newfoundland as "Land of the King of Portugal".

The Portuguese In Newfoundland Waters, http://ngb.chebucto.org/Articles/hist-010.shtml

There are other clues about Portuguese establishments in North America, but they are not confirmed.

"Viking documents mention the presence of Basque whalers operating approx. 500 miles east of Greenland in 1412 near Grundarfjörður."

Basque colonization of the Americas, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basque_colonization_of_the_Americas

Until the Portuguese discovered the Volta do mar, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volta_do_mar ,when they tried to explore the Atlantic, they were carried by the Canary Current to the Caribbean and North America. There are countless European shipwrecks that arrived in North America. These are the ones on record: list of shipwrecks of North America, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shipwrecks_of_North_America . Some of these shipwrecked Portuguese may have survived on the coast of North America and their DNA, mixed with the indigenous people, reached the present, but it is difficult to know, it is the same as the post-Columbian European DNA in the Americas and the indigenous peoples of the North Atlantic american coast are practically extinct, nor are there records of most of them.