La Tour, Charles de Saint-Étienne de

Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, colonizer, trader, governor of Acadia (b at Champagne, France 1593; d at Cap de Sable, Acadia 1663). La Tour possibly reached Acadia as early as 1606, living there permanently from 1610. When Charles de Biencourt died in 1623, La Tour assumed leadership of the colony and 8 years later received a royal commission as lieutenant-general. Shortly afterwards he became embroiled in a dispute with the governor, Charles de Menou d'Aulnay. With support at the French court, d'Aulnay had La Tour discredited and in 1645, in La Tour's absence, attacked and captured his base at Fort La Tour, treacherously killing its defenders. Mme Françoise La Tour, who had commanded the fort, died 3 weeks later.

La Tour returned to Acadia following d'Aulnay's death in 1650, but was captured by an English invading force in 1654. Eventually, he came to terms with his captors and returned to an Acadia under English occupation. During the short-lived Scottish occupation of NS 1629-32, he had been given the title of knight-baronet of Scotland, and in the 1650s he allowed this title to be used to give legitimacy to the English conquest. This arrangement has frequently been termed treachery and opportunism by La Tour's critics, but La Tour had tenaciously defended his settlements when necessary and his commitment to Acadia can be measured by his lifelong residence there.