The Acadian Deportation (1755)
-- Citations --
“Acadian Timeline.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, www.cbc.ca/acadian/timeline.html.
Marsh, James H. “The Deportation of the Acadians.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 4 Sept. 2013, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/the-deportation-of-the-acadians-feature/.
- ACADIA - POPULATION: 14,100
(But what about my friends in the west...)
Swear to me!
During the dawn of the colonization of the land now known as Canada, the coastal provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were owned by France and called "Acadia". Despite their French origins, the Acadians had been separated from French culture for years and had formed their own culture. In 1753, tensions between British and French colonies erupted, leading to the British taking Acadia in 1755.
TO LOUISIANA -------->
The British had captured these lands in order to give themselves a foothold in Canada, which is well protected by the French forces. In order to ensure the Acadians would not fight their new controllers, the British demanded the Acadians swear an oath of loyalty to them. Many Acadians refused to do so out of fear that they would be forced to fight against their French allies, and some even rebelled against the British.
As punishment for the Acadians' refusal to swear allegiance, the British decided to deport them. Cruelly, the British commanders made no distinction between the cooperative citizens and the dissenters, and even went as far as killing heavily opposed people. The Acadians were either sent back to Europe, or sent down to the 13 Colonies (present day Eastern U.S.A.). A few were allowed to remain in Acadia.
Many Acadians decided against going to Europe, as they were born and raised in Acadia and had nothing in France. Many travelled from France or through the 13 Colonies to the southern part of North America, an area owned by France's ally Spain. The path was brutal, and filled with disease and danger. Many Acadians were separated from their families or died, with around 1,649 people dying after Louisbourg was taken in 1758.
Once there, many Acadians settled in Louisiana, causing a new cultural identity to be born -- the "Cajuns", named due to a corruption of the word "Acadian". The Cajuns developed new traditions, cuisine and dialect over time, building a unique culture there. The plight of the Acadians also resonated globally, with the famous poem "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describing the tragedy with great sorrow.
Back in Acadia, the natural Acadians continued to face difficulties at the hands of the British. The British Empire had no desire to give the Acadians a free life under their control, and stole their farmland and property. Eventually, in 1764, the British allowed the Acadians to return as long as they swear an oath to Britain, but the damage was done. The Acadians could not be considered equal in wealth or social standing to the British until the 1930s.
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