Alexander, William, Earl of Stirling

William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, poet, courtier, colonizer (b at Menstrie, Scot c 1577; d at London, Eng 1640). Although he never visited North America, he is remembered for his nationalistic foresight, and for providing Nova Scotia with its name, flag and coat of arms. Sir William envisaged colonization as an answer to Scottish expansion, comparable to the contemporary, successful English ventures.

Enjoying the support of both James I and Charles I, he was granted territory (1621), necessary funding through the sale of knight-baronetcies (1624), and armorial bearings for the province (1625). Financial problems, the reluctance of Scots to emigrate and French territorial claims all hampered development. Although Sir William's son established 2 brief settlements, in Cape Breton and at PORT-ROYAL (Annapolis Royal), the entire grant was sacrificed to the French in 1632 in return for full payment of Charles I's marriage settlement.