The Odaneois were a small nation in northeastern Everique that lived on the northern bank of the Grande Vire, downstream of the island that would become Ville Marcelet. Their largest town was perched on the Cape Adamant, overlooking the Grande Vire at the place where the river narrows. The Odaneois inhabited a land rich in game and fish, but the harsh winters from the north kept their population small.
The Odaneois encountered Jaquet d'Artais in 1531 on his second attempt to create a colony in Everique. At first things went well. The colonists brought valued trade goods from Japethe while the Odaneois provided fish and furs. The Odaneois even helped the colonists survive the winter and stave off scurvy by boiling the bark and needles of white cedar trees.
The pleasant relations between the colonists and the natives were not to last. d'Artais' constant efforts to make contact with nations further inland threatened the Odaneois' monopoly on furs. Moreover, many of the colonists were of unsavory disposition, cheating the Odaneois, provoking their warriors, and accosting their women. The Odaneois retaliated by raiding the outlying farmsteads in 1533.
The skirmishing between Odaneois and colonists continued until 1538. Late that year, the colonists captured the sons of the sachem of the Odaneois, while d'Artais had returned to Saronne. The insult drove the Odaneois to full-out war. When he returned, d'Artais found both of the sons slain and his settlement besieged. He could not repair relations with the Odaneois, and d'Artais abandoned the colony in 1539.
When Jaquet d'Artais returned in 1548 with a larger military force and more colonists, he found that the Odaneois had vanished. Their town atop the bluffs was nothing more than burned timbers. He could find no explanation as to fate of the nation, though philosophers posit that a malignant spirit of disease may have forced them to abandon their lands. With their disappearance, d'Artais founded Sherbourg on the site of the Odaneois town that commanded the river below it.« Return to the Almanac Index