History of Acadia Survival: The Great Deportation
Origin of the word "Acadia" The earliest known written form of the name Acadia dates to 1524 and is credited to the Italian explorer Giavanni de Verazzano. While exploring the Atlantic coast of North America, he was so impressed by the beauty of the trees of the Chesapeake Bay area that he gave the region the name of "Arcadia" since it evoked images of ancient Greece. With the evolution of the cartography of North America, the name "Acadia" - without the "r" - came to designate the present area of Canada's Maritime Provinces. Nevertheless, the origin of the name is still somewhat ambiguous. According to linguists, the word "Cadie" (hence "Lacadie" or "Acadie") may have derived from "Quoddy" - a word used by the native inhabitants of the Maritime Provinces to designate a fertile area such as in Passamaquoddy, Shubenacadie and Tracadie. According to linguists, the word " Cadie " used to designate the territory that is now part of the Maritime Provinces, comes from the native dialect. The name Acadia supposedly derives from the Micmac word " Algatig " meaning camp, or from a distortion of the malecite word " Quoddy " indicating fertile areas, such as are found in Shubenacadie, Tracadie, and Passamaquoddy.
Île Ste-Croix Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts, obtained from the King of France exclusive control over the fur trade in Acadia. He organized a company and, together with Samuel de Champlain, crossed the Atlantic in 1604 to colonize his new domain. After exploring the shores of the Bay of Fundy, they settled on a little island at the mouth of the Sainte-Croix River. The winter of 1604-05 came early and was very hard on the newcomers. Because they were ill-protected and poorly nourished, thirty-six of the company of eighty men perished. Port-Royal Because of the harsh winter spent at Île Sainte-Croix, Sieur de Monts was forced to seek refuge elsewhere. He chose Port-Royal, on the other side of the Bay of Fundy or "Baie française" where a new "Habitation" was built. This new attempt at colonization lasted only eight years. In 1613, the English, led by Samuel Argall, attacked and destroyed Port-Royal.
The Growth of Acadia <ul><li>The first serious efforts to bring true French settlers to Acadia, which included women and children, only began in the 1630s. Isaac de Razilly, the first governor of Acadia, had brought from France some "300 elite men" in 1632, although it is uncertain if some of these included their families. </li></ul><ul><li>Acadians numbered about 2,500 in 1713. From 1713 to 1755, the Acadian population grew rapidly. Several new villages were founded. In 1755, there were about 15,000 Acadians. The Acadian territory surrendered by France in 1713 comprised only the Nova Scotia Peninsula. In 1749, England founded Halifax, the colony's new capital. The relations between the Acadians and the English authorities deteriorated and many Acadians had to take refuge in French territories: Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island), Île Royale (Cape Breton) and in the territory which is now New Brunswick. </li></ul>
The deportation Tensions between the English and the French resulted in the deportation of a large part of the Acadian population between 1755 and 1763. The first embarkation occurred at Grand-Pré in October 1755. The following factors explain why the Acadians were deported: * The link between Québec and Louisbourg via Acadia worried the English. * Some considered Acadia as the key to all the North American colonies. * Beauséjour and the settlements along the Saint-John River began to look to much like the nucleus of French colonization with no definitive boundaries. * The Acadians had the best lands, and this was detrimental to English colonization. * The Acadians persisted in remaining neutral.
Oath of Allegiance <ul><li>When a general inquiry was made of the deputies as to whether those whom they represented intended to sign the oath as has been demanded of them: Jean Melancon stepped forward. What was wanted, one and all, were reassurances that they should be able to carry on with their priests and their religion. Doubtlessly there was some impatience by the English spokesman which was immediately displayed: "Yes, yes, -- your religion and your priests ... practice your religion, whatever you like; and as for your priests: they need but register themselves with the governor's office." "But," with a quick look at a parchment on the desk before him, "this business of you not wanting to bear arms in a time of war; well, as British citizens, which you all are to become upon swearing and signing the oath, you must come to the aid of your country when called upon." Then impatient observation broke out into peremptory demand, as was written in the minutes: </li></ul><ul><li>"[Your people must] take the Oath of Allegiance as offered them, for His Majesty would allow none to possess lands in His territory whose allegiance and assistance in case of need could not be depended upon. And that such as should behave as true subjects ought to do will be supported encouraged and protected equally with the rest of His Majesty's subjects." </li></ul>
The Quarrel Over Acadia Leading To The Expulsion It all started because the British colonies in New England and the French colonies in Quebec wanted to expand their colonies onto the same piece of land at the same time. The British wanted to expand up north, while the French wanted to expand Southeasterly. In the year 1613, the French habitation was burnt to the ground by the English. As a result, for the next 100 years, Acadia became the center of a dispute which involved Acadia being captured by one side or the other, seven times. On October 13 of 1710, Port Royal was captured by the English. They took down the French flag (Fleur de Lis) and renamed the fort after their queen, Queen Anne. All French settlers were forced to leave, but the Acadians were permitted to stay, since they seemed to be neutral. In 1713, a peace treaty called "The Treaty of Utrecht" was signed. In this treaty, Newfoundland and Acadia were given to the English, while the French were granted only Isle de Royal, and English island we now call Cape Breton. The British then asked the Acadians to sign the Oath of allegiance if they wished to remain living on British soil. The oath stated that the Acadians would have to fight for the English against the French (their relatives) in times of war. The Acadians refused claiming that they wished to remain neutral, and the English took no action against them at this time.
In 1720, the French people wanted to build strength and eventually take back Acadia. The first step in this plan was to build Fortress Louisbourg on Cape Breton. Unfortunately, in 1745 Louisbourg was captured by the English. The French made efforts to retake Louisbourg and Acadia, but they failed. 1748 brought the end of the war and the return of Louisbourg to the French because of another peace treaty. Britain did not want to give up that much power so easily, so they founded Halifax in 1749 and moved their main headquarters there from Annapolis Royal. Just after this, the French tried to gain the upper hand in the power struggle by building Forte Beausejour on the bank of the Missiguah River. They believed that they could control the Isthmus de Chignecto, and with it the winter route in and out of N.S and Quebec. To counter the French forte, the British built Fort Lawrence on the opposite side of the plain, in view of Beausejour. The only thing separating the two sides was a small strip of land occupied by the Acadian people. The French asked the Acadians to leave, saying that it was for their own good, but when they refused, the French burnt their homes to the ground. The English knew that war was becoming ever so close and they became nervous that the Acadians could not be trusted to stay neutral. They therefore decided to attack Beausejour in order to gain control of the Isthmus de Chignecto. They were successful.
The English again offered the Oath of allegiance to the Acadians, but they refused since they felt that there would be no consequences of refusal. The English Governor therefore decided to expel them and to spread them out over 13 British colonies to weaken the Acadian community. This would minimize any threat that the Acadians may pose to the British army. At Grand Pre, Colonel John Winslow took over and moved into the priest's house of the Acadian village. In September of 1755 he ordered all the Acadian men above the age of 10 to report to their church. Once inside the 400 men were told that they were to be held prisoner until the ships arrived to start the expulsion of the Acadian community. It took two entire months before enough ships arrived, and by this time the lives and spirits of the Acadian people had been broken. Meanwhile, 1000 Acadians were expelled from the Chignecto area. The community was burnt down and the livestock was taken by the English soldier as a prize of war onto the ships. Altogether 10 000 Acadians lived in Nova Scotia at the time and 6000 of them were expelled to the U.S.A (13 British colonies) while the other 4000 escaped to Isle St. Jean (Quebec) and into the woods. The British authorities wanted to keep the families together, but it was impossible and many families were separated and destroyed. As a result of all of this the Cajuns were formed in Louisiana (a new culture created by the Acadians who settled in Louisiana State). When the 7 Year War ended and the British had won, another peace treaty was signed (1763). The Acadians were freed and permitted to return to Acadia as long as they signed the Oath of Allegiance. Many decided to walk home to Nova Scotia from Boston (through the woods). Many died over the 4 month long walk, but it only proved that the Acadians had told the truth concerning the fact that they only wished to live on their land in Acadia in peace!
Question: Group Debate The question of the deportation of the Acadians by the British if they didn’t sign the “Oath of Allegiance,” is a very controversial issue in our countries history. In looking at PERSPECTIVES, discuss in your group one of the perspectives given. British: Governor Lawrence was given the task of ensuring the security of their new colony of Acadia. In doing so, he gave the Acadians a choice to sign the oath or be deported. Why were the British so harsh to the Acadians and were they justified in doing what they did? French (Acadians): Do you think that the Acadians could have been dealt with differently to show they were neutral to the wars or should they have just signed the oath? Why would so many NOT sign this oath even with the fear of deportation?