Planter & Merchants


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It is thought that the name Fortune Bay comes from the Basques who fished along the coast in the 1500s and 1600s. The name appears on Basque maps in the 1500s as Fortuna, the word meaning good fortune or good luck. Author Randell Pope began his book Planters & Merchants: A History of Fortune Bay four years ago but his research goes back more than twenty years. He starts his book with a geographic description of his beloved Fortune Bay including the two principal islands of Brunette and Sagona where planters and fishing servants brought over by English merchants with businesses at Harbour Breton, Jersey Harbour and Little Bay West. As the population of the two islands increased, planters moved to form new communities around the bay. In 1763 the English population of Fortune Bay was 316 people in five communities: by 1794 there were 914 people in twenty communities. Author Pope has put together a wealth of information about Fortune Bay, everything from its early planters and merchants and its long association with St. Pierre to smuggling with the French and Americans, the inshore fishery, the bait fishery, the bank fishery, rum-running and right up to today. Fortune Bay’s history makes for good reading.

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