United States: 901,260
Prince Edward Island
Acadian French (a dialect of French with 370,000 speakers in
Canada), English, or both; some areas speak Chiac; those who have
Quebec typically speak
Predominantly Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
French (Poitevin and Saintongeais), Cajuns, French-Canadians, Métis
Acadians (French: Acadiens, IPA: [akadjɛ̃]) are the
descendants of French colonists who settled in
Acadia during the 17th
and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descended from the
Indigenous peoples of the region.[a] The colony was located in what
is now Eastern Canada's Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), as well as part of Quebec, and
Maine to the Kennebec River. Although today most of the
Acadians and Québécois are French-speaking (francophone) Canadians,
Acadia was a distinctly separate colony of New France. It was
geographically and administratively separate from the French colony of
Canada (modern-day Quebec). As a result, the
Acadians and Québécois
developed two distinct histories and cultures. They also developed
a slightly different French language.
France has one official language
and to accomplish this they have an administration in charge of the
language. Since the
Acadians were separated from this council, their
French language evolved independently, and
Acadians retain several
elements of 17th-century French that have been lost in France. The
settlers whose descendants became
Acadians came from many areas in
France, but especially regions such as Île-de-France, Normandy,
Poitou and Aquitaine. Acadian family names have come from
many areas in France. For example, the Maillets are from Paris; the
LeBlancs of Normandy; the surname Melanson is from Brittany, and those
with the surnames
Bastarache and Basque came from Aquitaine.
French and Indian War
French and Indian War (the North American theater of the
Seven Years' War), British colonial officers suspected
France after finding some
Acadians fighting alongside
French troops at Fort Beausejour. Though most
neutral during the French and Indian War, the British, together with
New England legislators and militia, carried out the Great Expulsion
(Le Grand Dérangement) of the
Acadians during the 1755–1764 period.
They deported approximately 11,500
Acadians from the maritime region.
Approximately one-third perished from disease and drowning. The
result was what one historian described as an ethnic cleansing of the
Acadians from Maritime Canada. Other historians indicate that it was a
deportation similar to other deportations of the time period.
Acadians were deported to various American colonies, where many
were forced into servitude, or marginal lifestyles. Some
deported to England, sent to the Caribbean, and some were deported to
France. After being expelled to France, many
Acadians were eventually
recruited by the Spanish government to migrate to present day
Louisiana state (known then as Spanish colonial Luisiana), where they
developed what became known as
Cajun culture. In time, some
Acadians returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada, mainly to New
Brunswick because they were barred by the British from resettling
their lands and villages in what became Nova Scotia. Before the US
Revolutionary War, the Crown settled
New England Planters
New England Planters in former
Acadian communities and farmland as well as Loyalists after the war
(including nearly 3,000 Black Loyalists, who were freed slaves).
British policy was to assimilate
Acadians with the local populations
where they resettled.
Acadians speak a dialect of French called Acadian French. Many of
those in the
Moncton area speak
Chiac and English. The
descendants speak a dialect of
American English called
with many also speaking
Cajun French, a close relative of the original
Canada influenced by Spanish and West African languages.
1 Pre-deportation history
4.1 Artistic commemorations of The Expulsion
5 Prominent Acadians
6 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
History of the Acadians
History of the Acadians and Military history of the
During the seventeenth century,[when?] about sixty French families
were established in Acadia. They developed friendly relations with the
Wabanaki Confederacy (particularly the Mi'kmaq), learning their
hunting and fishing techniques. The
Acadians lived mainly in the
coastal regions of the Bay of Fundy; farming land reclaimed from the
sea through diking. Living in a contested borderland region between
Canada (modern Quebec) and British territories, the Acadians
often became entangled in the conflict between the powers. Over a
period of seventy-four years, six wars took place in
Acadia and Nova
Scotia in which the Confederacy and some
Acadians fought to keep the
British from taking over the region (See the four French and Indian
Wars as well as
Father Rale's War
Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War).
France lost political control of
Acadia in 1713, the Mí'kmaq
did not concede land to the British. Along with some Acadians, the
Mi'kmaq from time to time used military force to resist the British.
This was particularly evident in the early 1720s during Dummer's War
but hostilities were brought to a close by a treaty signed in 1726.
Acadians at Annapolis Royal by Samuel Scott, 1751, earliest image of
Acadians; the only pre-deportation image of Acadians
The British Conquest of
Acadia happened in 1710. Over the next
forty-five years the
Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of
allegiance to Britain. Many were influenced by Father Jean-Louis Le
Loutre, who from his arrival in 1738 until his capture in 1755
preached against the 'English devils'. During this time period
Acadians participated in various militia operations against the
British and maintained vital supply lines to the French Fortress of
Louisbourg and Fort Beausejour. During the French and Indian War,
the British sought to neutralize any military threat
and to interrupt the vital supply lines
Acadians provided to
Louisbourg by deporting
Acadians from Acadia.
With the founding of Halifax in 1749 the Mi'kmaq resisted British
(Protestant) settlements by making numerous raids on Halifax,
Dartmouth, Lawrencetown and Lunenburg. During the French and Indian
War, the Mi'kmaq assisted the
Acadians in resisting the British during
the Expulsion of the Acadians.
Acadians by Samuel Scott, Annapolis Royal, 1751
Acadians might have signed an unconditional oath to the British
monarchy had the circumstances been better, while other
not sign because they were clearly anti-British. For the Acadians
who might have signed an unconditional oath, there were numerous
reasons why they did not. The difficulty was partly religious, in that
the British monarch was the head of the (Protestant) Church of
England. Another significant issue was that an oath might commit male
Acadians to fight against
France during wartime. A related concern was
whether their Mi'kmaq neighbours might perceive this as acknowledging
the British claim to
Acadia rather than the Mi'kmaq. As a result,
signing an unconditional oath might have put Acadian villages in
dangers of attack from Mi'kmaq.
St. John River Campaign: Raid on Grimrose (present day Gagetown, New
Brunswick). This is the only contemporaneous image of the Expulsion of
Great Expulsion (le Grand Dérangement), after the Battle of
Fort Beauséjour beginning in August 1755 under Lieutenant Governor
Lawrence, approximately 11,500
Acadians (three-quarters of the Acadian
population in Nova Scotia) were expelled, their lands and property
confiscated, and in some cases their homes burned. The
deported throughout the British eastern seaboard colonies from New
England to Georgia. Although measures were taken during the
embarkation of the
Acadians to the transport ship, some families
became split up. After 1758, thousands were transported to France.
Most of the
Acadians who went to
Louisiana were transported there from
France on five Spanish ships provided by the Spanish Crown to populate
Louisiana colony and provide farmers to supply New Orleans. The
Spanish had hired agents to seek out the dispossessed
Brittany and the effort was kept secret so as not to anger the French
King. These new arrivals from
France joined the earlier wave expelled
from Acadia, creating the
Cajun population and culture.
Sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert's sculpture of
Evangeline at the
Grand-Pré National Historic Site
Grand-Pré National Historic Site in Nova Scotia
The Spanish forced the
Acadians they had transported to settle along
the Mississippi River, to block British expansion, rather than Western
Louisiana where many of them had family and friends and where it was
much easier to farm. Rebels among them marched to New Orleans and
ousted the Spanish governor. The Spanish later sent infantry from
other colonies to put down the rebellion and execute the leaders.
After the rebellion in December 1769 the Spanish Governor O'Reilly
Acadians who had settled across the river from Natchez
to resettle on the Iberville or Amite river closer to New Orleans.
A second and smaller expulsion occurred when the British took control
of the North Shore of what is now New Brunswick. After the fall of
Quebec the British lost interest and many
Acadians returned to British
North America, settling in coastal villages not occupied by American
colonists. A few of these had evaded the British for several years but
the brutal winter weather eventually forced them to surrender. Some
returnees settled in the region of Fort Sainte-Anne, now Fredericton,
but were later displaced by the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists
after the American Revolution.
In 2003, at the request of Acadian representatives, Queen Elizabeth
II, Queen of
Canada issued a Royal Proclamation acknowledging the
deportation and establishing July 28 as an annual day of
commemoration, beginning in 2005. The day is called the "Great
Upheaval" on some English-language calendars.
Present-day Acadian communities
Acadians today live predominantly in the Canadian Maritime
provinces, as well as parts of Quebec,
Louisiana and Maine. In New
Acadians inhabit the northern and eastern shores of New
Miscou Island (French: Île Miscou) Île Lamèque
Caraquet in the center, all the way to Neguac in the
southern part, Grande-Anse in the eastern part and Campbellton through
to Saint-Quentin in the northern part. Other groups of
Acadians can be
found in the
Magdalen Islands and throughout other parts of Quebec.
Acadians still live in and around the area of Madawaska, Maine
Acadians first landed and settled in what is now known as
the St. John Valley. There are also
Acadians in Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia such as Chéticamp, Isle Madame, and Clare. East and
West Pubnico, located at the end of the province, are the oldest
regions still Acadian.
Acadians settled on the land before the deportation and returned
to some of the same exact land after the deportation. Still others can
be found in the southern and western regions of New Brunswick, Western
Newfoundland and in New England. Many of these latter communities have
faced varying degrees of assimilation. For many families in
predominantly Anglophone communities, French-language attrition has
occurred, particularly in younger generations.
Acadians who settled in
Louisiana after 1764, known as Cajuns,
have had a dominant cultural influence in many parishes, particularly
in the southwestern area of the state known as Acadiana.
Acadians are a vibrant minority, particularly in New Brunswick,
Louisiana (Cajuns), and northern Maine. Since 1994, Le
Congrès Mondial Acadien has united
Acadians of the Maritimes, New
England, and Louisiana.
Tintamarre in Caraquet, New Brunswick
August 15, the feast of the Assumption, was adopted as the national
feast day of the
Acadians at the First Acadian National Convention,
held in Memramcook,
New Brunswick in 1881. On that day, the Acadians
celebrate by having the tintamarre which consists mainly of a big
parade where people can dress up with the colours of
Acadia and make a
lot of noise.
The national anthem of the
Acadians is "Ave, maris stella", adopted at
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island in 1884. The anthem was revised at the
1992 meeting of the Société Nationale de l'Acadie, where the second,
third and fourth verses were changed to French, with the first and
last kept in the original Latin.
The Federation des Associations de Familles Acadiennes of New
Brunswick and the Société Saint-Thomas d'Aquin of Prince Edward
Island has resolved that December 13 each year shall be commemorated
as "Acadian Remembrance Day" to commemorate the sinking of the Duke
William and the nearly 2000
Acadians deported from Ile-Saint Jean who
perished in the North Atlantic from hunger, disease and drowning in
1758. The event has been commemorated annually since 2004 and
participants mark the event by wearing a black star.
Today, there are cartoons featuring Acadian characters and an Acadian
show named Acadieman.
Artistic commemorations of The Expulsion
A statue of Longfellow's
Evangeline – at St. Martinville, Louisiana.
In 1847, American writer
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published
Evangeline, an epic poem loosely based on the events surrounding the
1755 deportation. The poem became an American classic, and contributed
to a rebirth of Acadian identity in both Maritime
Canada and in
In the early 20th century, two statues were made of Evangeline, one in
Louisiana and the other in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia,
which both commemorate the Expulsion.
Robbie Robertson wrote a popular
song based on the Acadian Expulsion titled Acadian Driftwood, which
appeared on The Band's 1975 album, Northern Lights – Southern Cross.
Antonine Maillet's Pélagie-la-charette concerns the return voyage to
Acadia of several deported families starting 15 years after the Great
The Acadian Memorial (Monument Acadien) honors those 3,000 who
settled in Louisiana.
Throughout the Canadian Maritime Provinces there are Acadian Monuments
to the Expulsion, such as the one at
Georges Island (Nova Scotia)
Georges Island (Nova Scotia) and
Flag of the
Acadiana region of Louisiana
Flag of the
New England Acadians
The flag of the
Acadians is the French tricolour with a golden star in
the blue field (see above), which symbolizes the Saint Mary, Our Lady
of the Assumption, patron saint of the
Acadians and the "Star of the
Sea". This flag was adopted in 1884 at the Second Acadian National
Convention, held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island.
Acadians in the diaspora have adopted other symbols. The flag of
Acadians in Louisiana, known as Cajuns, was designed by Thomas J.
Arceneaux of the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette, and adopted by
Louisiana legislature as the official emblem of the Acadiana
region in 1974.
A group of
Acadians attending Le Congrès Mondial Acadien
Nova Scotia in 2004, endorsed a design for a
New England Acadian
flag by William Cork, and are advocating for its wider acceptance.
Monument to Imprisoned
Acadians at Bishops Landing, Halifax,
overlooking Georges Island
Acadians in the 18th century include Noël Doiron
(1684–1758). Noel was one of more than 350
Acadians that perished on
Duke William on December 13, 1758. Noel was described by the
Captain of the
Duke William as the "father of the whole island", a
reference to Noel's place of prominence among the Acadian residents of
Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). For his "noble resignation"
and self-sacrifice aboard the Duke William, Noel was celebrated in
popular print throughout the 19th century in England and
America. Noel also is the namesake of the village Noel,
Another prominent Acadian from the 18th century was militia leader
Joseph Broussard who joined French priest
Jean-Louis Le Loutre
Jean-Louis Le Loutre in
resisting the British occupation of Acadia.
More recent notable
Acadians include singers
Angèle Arsenault and
Edith Butler, singer Jean-François Breau, writer Antonine Maillet;
film director Phil Comeau; singer-songwriter Julie Doiron; artist
Phoebe Legere, boxers
Yvon Durelle and Jacques LeBlanc; pitcher Rheal
Cormier; former Governor General Roméo LeBlanc; former premier of
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Aubin-Edmond Arsenault, the first Acadian premier
of any province and the first Acadian appointed to a provincial
supreme court; Georges Hebert, guitarist - most notably having played
Anne Murray for over 30 years, as well as for the New Brunswick
Playboys 1960s rock band; Aubin-Edmond Arsenault's father,
Joseph-Octave Arsenault, the first Acadian appointed to the Canadian
Senate from Prince Edward Island; Peter John Veniot, first Acadian
Premier of New Brunswick; and former
New Brunswick premier Louis
Robichaud, who was responsible for modernizing education and the
New Brunswick in the mid-20th century. Singers Beyoncé
Solange Knowles have Acadian ancestry.
Acadians include Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc,
Singer-Songwriter Zachary Richard, Attorney-cultural activist Warren
Perrin, and historian and President of the Council for the Development
of French in
Louisiana (CODOFIL) William Arceneaux.
List of Acadians
History of Nova Scotia
Military history of Nova Scotia
Military history of the Acadians
Lee Roy J. Pitre, Jr., Author, Software Engineer
*History & Origin of
^ For information on
Acadians who also have Indigenous ancestry, see:
Parmenter, John; Robison, Mark Power (April 2007). "The Perils and
Possibilities of Wartime Neutrality on the Edges of Empire: Iroquois
Acadians between the French and British in North America,
1744–1760". Diplomatic History. 31 (2): 182.
Faragher (2005), pp. 35-48, 146-67, 179-81, 203, 271-77
Paul, Daniel N. (2006). We Were Not the Savages: Collision Between
European and Native American Civilizations. Fernwood.
pp. 38–67, 86, 97–104. ISBN 978-1-55266-209-0.
Plank, Geoffrey (2004). An Unsettled Conquest: The British Campaign
Against the Peoples of Acadia. University of Pennsylvania Press.
pp. 23–39, 70–98, 111–14, 122–38.
Robison, Mark Power (2000). Maritime frontiers: The evolution of
empire in Nova Scotia, 1713-1758 (PhD). University of Colorado at
Boulder. pp. 53–84.
Wicken, Bill (Autumn 1995). "26 August 1726: A Case Study in
New England Relationships in the Early 18th Century".
Acadiensis. XXIII (1): 20–21.
Wicken, William C. (1998). "Re-examining Mi'kmaq-Acadian Relations,
1635-1755". In Dépatie, Sylvie; Desbarats, Catherine. Vingt ans
apres, Habitants et marchands: Lectures de l'histoire des XVIIe et
XVIIIe siecles canadiens. McGill-Queen's University Press.
pp. 93–109. ISBN 978-0-7735-6702-3.
Morris, Charles. A Brief Survey of Nova Scotia. Woolwich: The Royal
Artillery Regimental Library. The people are tall and well
proportioned, they delight much in wearing long hair, they are of dark
complexion, in general, and somewhat of the mixture of Indians; but
there are some of a light complexion. They retain the language and
customs of their neighbours the French, with a mixed affectation of
the native Indians, and imitate them in their haunting and wild tones
in their merriment; they are naturally full cheer and merry, subtle,
speak and promise fair,...
Bell, Winthrop Pickard (1961). The Foreign Protestants and the
Settlement of Nova Scotia: The History of a Piece of Arrested British
Colonial Policy in the Eighteenth Century. University of Toronto
Press. p. 405. Many of the
Mi'kmaq people were mixed
bloods , foreign aboriginals or métis example, when Shirley put a
bounty on the
Mi'kmaq people during King George's War, the Acadians
appealed in anxiety to Mascarene because of the "great number of
Mulattoes amongst them".
^ "Canadian census, ethnic data". Retrieved 18 March 2013. A note on
interpretation: With regard to census data, rather than going by
ethnic identification, some would define an Acadian as a native
French-speaking person living in the Maritime provinces of Canada.
According to the same 2006 census, the population was 25,400 in New
Brunswick; 34,025 in Nova Scotia; 32,950 in Quebec; and 5,665 in
^ "Detailed Mother Tongue, Canada– Île-du-Prince-Édouard".
Archived from the original on July 25, 2009.
File not found - Fichier non trouvé". statcan.ca. Retrieved 2
^ Pritchard, James (2004). In Search of Empire: The French in the
Americas, 1670-1730. Cambridge University Press. p. 36.
ISBN 978-0-521-82742-3. Abbé Pierre Maillard claimed that racial
intermixing had proceeded so far by 1753 that in fifty years it would
be impossible to distinguish Amerindian from French in Acadia.
^ Landry, Nicolas; Lang, Nicole (2001). Histoire de l'Acadie. Les
éditions du Septentrion. ISBN 978-2-89448-177-6.
^ Griffiths, N.E.S. (2005). From Migrant to Acadian: A North American
Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 47.
^ a b Lockerby, Earle (Spring 1998). "The Deportation of the Acadians
from Ile St.-Jean, 1758". Acadiensis. XXVII (2): 45–94.
^ Han, Eunjung; Carbonetto, Peter; Curtis, Ross E.; Wang, Yong;
Granka, Julie M.; Byrnes, Jake; Noto, Keith; Kermany, Amir R.; Myres,
Natalie M. (2017-02-07). "Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals
post-colonial population structure of North America". Nature
Communications. 8. doi:10.1038/ncomms14238. ISSN 2041-1723.
^ Parkman, Francis (1914) . Montcalm and Wolfe.
England in North America. Little, Brown.
^ Grenier, John (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia,
1710–1760. University of Oklahoma Press.
^ Patterson, Stephen E. (1998). "Indian-White Relations in Nova
Scotia, 1749–61: A Study in Political Interaction". In Buckner,
Phillip Alfred; Campbell, Gail Grace; Frank, David. The Acadiensis
Canada Before Confederation.
^ Patterson, Stephen. Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples.
p. 144. ISBN 978-0-919107-44-1.
^ Faragher (2005), pp. 110–112.
^ For the best account of Acadian armed resistance to the British, see
Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia,
1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008.
^ Reid, John G. (2009). Nova Scotia: A Pocket History. Fernwood.
p. 49. ISBN 978-1-55266-325-7.
^ Holmes, Jack D.L. (1970). A Guide to Spanish Louisiana, 1762-1806.
A. F. Laborde. p. 5.
^ Pioneer Journal, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, 9 December
2009.[full citation needed]
^ "Acadian Memorial - The Eternal Flame". Retrieved October 18,
^ "Acadian Flag". Acadian-Cajun.com. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
New England Acadian Flag". Archived from the original on
2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
^ Scott, Shawn; Scott, Tod (2008). "Noel Doiron and East Hants
Acadians". The Journal of Royal
Nova Scotia Historical Society. 11:
^ Journal of William Nichols, "The Naval Chronicle", 1807.
^ Frost, John (1846). The
Book of Good Examples; Drawn From Authentic
History and Biography. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
^ Reubens Percy, "Percey's Anecdotes", New York: 1843, p. 47
^ "The Saturday Magazine", New York: 1826, p. 502.
Dupont, Jean-Claude (1977). Héritage d'Acadie (in French). Montreal:
Faragher, John Mack (2005). A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story
of the Expulsion of the French
Acadians from Their American Homeland.
W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-24243-0.
Frink, Tim (1999). New Brunswick, A Short History (2nd ed.).
Summerville, New Brunswick: Stonington Books.
Scott, Michaud. "History of the Madawaska Acadians". Retrieved
Mosher, Howard Frank (1997). North Country: A Personal Journey Through
the Borderland. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Chetro-Szivos, J. Talking Acadian: Work, Communication, and Culture,
YBK 2006, New York ISBN 0-9764359-6-9.
Griffiths, Naomi. From Migrant to Acadian: a North American border
people, 1604–1755, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005.
Hodson, Christopher. The Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century
History (Oxford University Press; 2012) 260 pages online review by
Jobb, Dean. The Acadians: A People's Story of Exile and Triumph, John
Wiley & Sons, 2005 (published in the
United States as The Cajuns:
A People's Story of Exile and Triumph)
Kennedy, Gregory M.W. Something of a Peasant Paradise? Comparing Rural
Societies in Acadie and the Loudunais, 1604-1755 (MQUP 2014)
Laxer, James. The Acadians: In Search of a Homeland, Doubleday Canada,
October 2006 ISBN 0-385-66108-8.
Le Bouthillier, Claude, Phantom Ship, XYZ editors, 1994,
Magord, André, The Quest for Autonomy in
Acadia (Bruxelles etc.,
Peter Lang, 2008) (Études Canadiennes - Canadian Studies, 18).
Naomi E. S. Griffiths, The Acadian Deportation: Deliberate Perfidy or
Cruel Necessity? Toronto: Copp Clark, 1969.
Runte, Hans R. (1997). Writing Acadia: The Emergence of Acadian
Literature 1970–1990. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-0237-1.
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