“New France was not merely the settlement of a few fur traders.” The Acadians were “a pastoral-like people who once formed a proud nation in a land called Acadia.” Although falling under the jurisdiction of “New France,” the Acadians governed separately than the rest of the country and were an independent entity within New France. Today, “the Acadians are the French speaking population of the Canadian Maritime provinces,” and these are the Acadians that were not displaced during the expulsions, under British rule. Acadia’s beginnings, with the construction of Port Royal, could have marked the colony for success, but instead, led to a troubling conclusion for the European descendents. Through failed leadership, two major expulsions, and a takeover of the Acadian peoples’ French Catholic culture, the once-thriving group has been evicted primarily to Louisiana, taking on a new identity of Cajuns. However, there have been many Acadian successes throughout their colourful, hardworking story, and their story is one that serves as an accurate history of settlement patterns and lifestyle of Canada’s Maritime provinces.
Port Royal’s Beginnings
Acadia was discovered by French explorers. Jacques Cartier was the first to formally explore the land that would become Acadia but Samuel de Champlain was the first to bring with him French settlers in 1605, making Acadia the second permanent European settlement in present-day Canada. Champlain’s group first settled along the banks of present-day Maine in 1604 but suffered in a hard winter, losing many of the settlers to scurvy. Champlain moved the settlement to Port Royal the following spring, and the colony began to grow, forming alliances with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Ab...
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Parkman, Francis. A Half Century of Conflict: France and England in North America. The Floating Press, 2010.
Sutherland, Maxwell. “Armstrong, Lawrence.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 2. (1969). Accessed 11 November 2013. http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/armstrong_lawrence_2E.html.
Watson, Julie V. Shipwrecks & Seafaring Tales of Prince Edward Island. Hounslow Press: Toronto, 1994.
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