Pierre Biard


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(1567/8–1622), Jesuit missionary to Acadia. Pierre Biard sailed from France to Port-Royal in 1611. His efforts to evangelize Aboriginal inhabitants reached their apex in 1613, when he and three other Jesuits founded the mission village of Saint-Sauveur in the vicinity of Mount Desert Island. Biard had fallen afoul of the leader of the small French colony in Acadia, Charles de Biencourt, who objected to the Jesuits' thorough instruction of converts before baptism, which provided Biencourt with fewer proselytes to boast about to patrons in France. Biard hoped to free himself of Biencourt by moving to Saint-Sauveur; however, a Virginia expedition burned both settlements later in 1613. Biard was imprisoned by the English, eventually returning to France in 1614. A resourceful missionary and unbending controversialist, Biard emerged in his Relation de la Nouvelle-France (1616) as a perceptive writer about Native societies and the pitfalls of colonial settlement.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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