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Canadian Ancestry - Acadia - Did you know?

The Great Deportation One of the most crucial parts of Acadian history happened in 1755-1762. Acadia’s ownership had been tossed around for years between France and England. It had changed its name from Acadia to Nova Scotia according to the war and treaties. In 1713, England finally had Acadia as their colony. The French natives had no choice but to be a British subject or leave. Having no means, they were forced to concede and take an unconditional oath to the British crown. The official English colonization of Nova Scotia began with the founding of Halifax in 1749. This time, the British were more impatient with the French Catholic. The former was also more cautious of any hint of rebellion after their defeat against the French Army. In 1755, Governor Charles Lawrence executed the plans for deportation. It was the beginning of a hide-and-seek between Acadians and the British Army that lasted for more than eight years. Approximately 25,000 – 32,000 Acadians who lived in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were about to be deported. In September of that year, Colonel John Winslow summoned the Acadian males aged ten and up to gather in the Grand-Pre Church and read the governor’s order. Some Acadians managed to flee towards Quebec or hide in the forest. Some were imprisoned for trying to escape. Almost ten thousand Acadians boarded the ship to the English colonies along the eastern seaboard as far as Georgia, while some found their way to Louisiana. A few ships sank on the high seas with exiles onboard. 850 Acadians died during the deportation. The British government destroyed the Acadians’ properties and rounded up their livestock to ensure that the Acadians had nothing to return to. In 1770, Nova Scotia Governor Michael Francklin encouraged the Acadians to return to their homeland. He promised they could continue their Catholic worship, receive land grants, and never be expelled again. Life in Acadia became more difficult for the returning Acadians, as New England Planters and later the Black Loyalists took over their dyke lands. They were forced to shift into fishing as the source of their livelihood.

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