Acadia, Nova Scotia

Acadia was the French colony in what became the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. It was distinct from the French colony around the St. Lawrence River, known as Canada. Despite their mutual French roots, Acadians and Canadians had little contact with one another, and the Acadians developed a unique culture prior to their tragic expulsion by the British, which began in 1755. The colony of Acadia succeeded only after several failed attempts. In 1604, a group of French settlers wintered on an island in the St. Croix River, and, in 1605, the French began a settlement at Port Royal, on the Nova Scotia mainland. After the establishment of Quebec in 1607, Canada became a more important colony to France. The settlement of Acadia ended temporarily when British forces under Virginian Samuel Argall destroyed Port Royal in 1613. In 1632, however, Isaac de Razilly arrived in Acadia and finally began a permanent French settlement. Unlike many European settlers in North America, the Acadians did not clear large sections of forests for their farms. Instead, most Acadians settled around the shorelines of the Bay of Fundy, becoming skilled at constructing dikes to reclaim fertile land. This less intrusive form of development encouraged good relations with the indigenous peoples of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet. Acadian and aboriginal intermarriage was relatively common, and the French and native peoples became allies against the British. The Catholic Church and the family were more important in Acadia than the seigniorial system then dominant in France. The population of Acadia increased rapidly through natural reproduction. There were more than 800 Acadians by 1686, about 2,300 by 1714, and approximately 13,000 in 1754. Both economic cooperation and military conflict marked the relationship between Acadia and the British colonies of North America. Acadia carried on an extensive trade with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but whenever war broke out between England and France, New Englanders almost invariably attacked Acadia. For example, after King William’s War broke out in 1689, 700 New England troops under William Phips captured Acadia, holding it until 1697. During the War of the Spanish Succession, known as Queen Anne’s War in North America, which broke out in 1702, New Englanders conquered Acadia again in 1710. The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, ending the war, permanently made the peninsula of Nova Scotia a British colony, although the French retained Cape Breton Island (Ile Royale), New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (Ile Saint-Jean). Despite living under British control, the first half of the eighteenth century was a golden age for Acadians. Their population increased, and their economy remained healthy. Given the large number of Acadians and their close ties to the native peoples, the British were generally reluctant to enforce their authority. To prevent the Acadians from taking up arms against Britain, the British tried to force them to swear an oath of allegiance. The Acadians, however, refused and insisted that they were neutral, thus becoming known as the neutral French. Their neutrality became increasingly contentious. The French established a strong military presence with their fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton. Britain responded by establishing Halifax in 1749 and bringing in Protestant settlers. This increased English presence brought greater conflict with the Mi’kmaq. In 1749, the Acadians again refused to take an oath of allegiance. In 1753, the British appointed a new governor, Charles Lawrence, who worried about the Mi’kmaq threat and doubted the sincerity of the Acadian’s neutrality. In July 1755, the British decided to forcibly expel the Acadians from the region. The expulsion was poorly planned and brutal. Despite Acadian resistance, much of their society was destroyed. The British separated family members as they loaded transport ships with Acadians, who were allowed to bring only what they could carry. Many died at sea; others perished while interned, often of disease. The British were reluctant to send the Acadians to other French colonies for fear that this would strengthen French defenses. They therefore attempted to disperse the Acadians throughout the thirteen colonies. The expulsion lasted until 1762, by which time the British had deported approximately 11,000 Enrolment trending up at N.S. universities The Chronicle Herald L’Acadie Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia Acadian Motel – Motel Reviews, Deals – Cheticamp, Nova Scotia …

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