Expulsion of the Acadians

Expulsion of the Acadians
St. John River Campaign: Raid on Grimrose (present day Gagetown, New Brunswick). This is the only contemporaneous image of the Expulsion of the Acadians

The Expulsion of the Acadians (also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, The Deportation, the Acadian Expulsion, Le Grand Dérangement) was the forced removal by the British of the Acadian people from present day Canadian Maritime provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (an area also known as Acadie). The Expulsion occurred during most of the French and Indian War (1755–1763). The Expulsion started by the British deporting Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies and then, after 1758, the British sent them to France.[1] Approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported.[2]

The British Conquest of Acadia happened in 1710. The Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713, and allowed the Acadians to keep their lands. Over the next forty-five years, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. During this period, some Acadians participated in various militia operations against the British and maintained vital supply lines to the French fortress of Louisbourg and Fort Beausejour.[3] The Acadian Expulsion was part of the military campaign that the New Englanders used to defeat New France. The British sought to eliminate any future military threat posed by the Acadians and to permanently cut the supply lines they provided to Louisbourg by deporting all Acadians from the area.[4]

Without making distinctions between the Acadians who had been peaceful and those who rebelled against the occupation, the British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered them all expelled.[5] In the first wave of the expulsion, Acadians were deported to other British colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to England and France (from where some Acadians migrated to Louisiana). Many Acadians fled initially to Francophone colonies such as Canada, the unsettled Northern part of Acadia, Isle Saint-Jean and Isle Royale. During the second wave of the expulsion, many of these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported. The deportation led to the deaths of thousands of Acadians primarily by disease and drowning when ships were lost. One historian compared this event to a contemporary ethnic cleansing, while other historians have suggested the event is comparable with other deportations in history.[6]

The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow memorialized the historic event in his poem about the plight of the fictional character Evangeline; it was widely popular and made the expulsion well known. Acadians who lived during the deportation include Noel Doiron and Joseph Broussard ("Beausoleil"), who became icons.


Historical context

The Acadian removal occurred during the French and Indian War. After the initial British Conquest of Acadia, during Queen Anne's War, Catholic Acadians remained the dominant population in Acadia for the next fifty years. Those from the Chignectou peninsula near present day New Brunswick, were most apt to help the French and the Canadiens. Those near Annapolis Royal did not. Thus, their allegiance to the British was determined largely by how close they lived to the capital. The closer the Acadians were to the French-dominated Fort Beauséjour, the more their resistance to the British was evident.[7]

There was a long history of the British threatening to remove the Acadians. As early as 1720, there was talk of deporting the Acadians. On December 28, 1720 in London, the House of Lords wrote: "It seems as though the French in Nova Scotia will never be good British subjects to her Majesty...This is why we believe that they should be expulsed as soon as the necessary forces, which will be sent to Nova Scotia, are ready."[8] After the first Siege of Louisbourg (1745), the thousands of Acadians on Île-Royale were deported to France.[9]

Acadian political resistance

After the British officially gained control of Acadia in 1713, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of loyalty to become British subjects. Instead, they negotiated a conditional oath that promised neutrality. Many Acadians might have signed an unconditional oath to the British monarchy had the circumstances been better, while other Acadians did not sign because they were anti-British. The Acadians who might have signed the oath had numerous reasons for refusal: The difficulty was partly religious, as the British monarch was the head of the (Protestant) Church of England and the Acadians were Catholic. They worried that signing the oath might commit male Acadians to fight against France during wartime. Third, they were concerned that signing the oath would be perceived by their Mi'kmaq neighbours as acknowledging the British claim to Acadia rather than that of the Mi'kmaq. To be seen as allies of the British might have put Acadian villages at risk of attack from Mi'kmaq.[10]

Other Acadians were adamantly opposed to any British rule. Various historians have observed that many Acadians were labeled "neutral" when they were not.[11] The Acadians either ignored the demands for an unconditional oath or attempted to negotiate the terms by asking to be exempted from taking up arms against their former countrymen during any event of war between Britain and France.

During King George's War, after the failure of the Duc d'Anville Expedition to recapture Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia Governor Paul Mascarene told Acadians to avoid all "deluding Hopes of Returning under the Dominion of France."[12] One French officer noted that when the French troops withdrew from Annapolis Royal, the Acadians were alarmed and disappointed, feeling they were being abandoned to British retribution.[13] After King George's War in 1744, many English speakers began calling the Acadians "French neutral," and that label would remain in common use through the 1750s. Some British used the term sarcastically in derision.[14] This stance led to the Acadians becoming known at times as the "neutral French".[15] In 1749, Governor Cornwallis again asked the Acadians to take the oath. Although unsuccessful, he took no drastic action against them. The following governor, Peregrine Hopson, continued the conciliatory policy for the Acadians.[16]

Prior to the expulsion, as an example of political resistance, many Acadians left mainland Nova Scotia for other areas during Father Le Loutre's War. From 1749–55, there was massive Acadian migration out of British-occupied mainland Nova Scotia and into French-occupied New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (not then known by those names), and Cape Breton. A prominant Acadian who transported Acadians to Ile St. Jean and Ile Royal was Joseph-Nicolas Gautier. While some Acadians were forced to leave, for other Acadians leaving British-occupied territory for French-occupied territory was an act of resistance to the British occupation.[17] On one occasion, when a British naval patrol intercepted Acadians in a vessel making their way to Ile St. Jean, an Acadian passenger said, "They chose rather to quit their lands and estates than possess them upon the terms propos'd by the English [sic] governor."[18]

Another example of political resistance was the Acadian refusal to trade with the British. By 1754, they sent no Acadian produce to the Halifax market. When British merchants tried to buy directly from Acadians, they were refused. Acadians refused to supply Fort Edward with any firewood.[19] Lawrence saw the need to neutralize the Acadian military threat. To defeat Louisbourg, the British destroyed the base of supply by deporting the Acadians.[20]

Acadian and Native armed resistance

Joseph Broussard ("Beausoleil"). Artist Herb Roe

By the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians, there was already a long history of Acadian, Mi’kmaq and Maliseet resistance to the British occupation of Acadia – both politically and militarily.[21] The Mi'kmaq and the Acadians were allies through their religious connection to Catholicism and through numerous inter-marriages.[22] The Mi'kmaq held the military strength in Acadia even after the conquest of 1710.[23] They primarily resisted the British occupation of Acadia and were joined in their efforts on numerous occasions by Acadians. The military conflicts involving New France and its native allies against New England and its native allies involved the killing of men, women, children and infants on both sides of the conflict. This "frontier warfare" extended into Acadia during King George's War with the arrival of the Rangers from New England. Examples of Mi'kmaq, Acadians and Maliseet engaging in frontier warfare are their raids on Protestant British settlements of Dartmouth and Lunenburg when they were first established. The escalation of such warfare contributed to the British decision to remove all Acadians, both combatants and non-combatants, from Acadia.[24]

Before the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Acadians fought against the British occupation. While many Acadians traded with the New England Protestants, they were reluctant to be ruled by them. During King William's War, the crews of the very successful French privateer Pierre Maisonnat dit Baptiste were primarily Acadian. The Acadians resisted during the Raid on Chignecto (1696). During Queen Anne's War, Mi’kmaq and Acadians resisted during the Raid on Grand Pré, Piziquid and Chignecto in 1704. Acadians joined French privateer Pierre Maisonnat dit Baptiste as crew members in his victories over many British vessels. The Acadians also assisted the French in protecting the capital in the Siege of Port Royal (1707) and the final Conquest of Acadia. The Acadians and Mi’kmaq were also successful in the Battle of Bloody Creek (1711).[25]

During Dummer's War, the Maliseet raided numerous vessels on the Bay of Fundy while the Mi'kmaq engaged in the Raid on Canso, Nova Scotia (1723). In the latter engagement, the Mi'kmaq were aided by Acadians.[26] During King George's War, Abbe Jean-Louis Le Loutre led many efforts which involved both Acadians and Mi’kmaq to recapture the capital, such as the Siege of Annapolis Royal (1744).[25] During the Siege, French officer Marin had taken British prisoners and stopped with them further up the bay at Cobequid. While they were at Cobequid, an Acadian said that the French soldiers should have "left their [the British] carcasses behind and brought their skins."[27] Le Loutre was joined by prominent Acadian resistance leader Joseph Broussard (Beausoleil). Broussard and other Acadians were involved in supporting the French soldiers in the Battle of Grand Pré.

During Father Le Loutre’s War, the conflict continued. The Mi'kmaq attacked New England Rangers in the Siege of Grand Pre and Battle at St. Croix. Upon the founding of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Broussard and the Mi'kmaq conducted numerous raids of the village, such as the one in 1751, to try to stop the British colonists' migration into Nova Scotia. (Similarly, during the French and Indian War, Mi’kmaq, Acadians and Maliseet also engaged in numerous raids on Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to stop the migration, including one in 1756.[28] Le Loutre and Broussard also worked together to resist the British occupation of Chignecto (1750) and then later fought together with Acadians in the Battle of Beausejour (1755).[25] During the summer of 1750, Father Le Loutre had his Mi’kmaq warriers burn the church and all the Acadian homes at Beaubassin. He did this to force them to migrate towards Fort Beauséjour. The British finding nothing but ruins in Beaubassin, erected Fort Lawrence where the church once stood.[29] (As early as the summer of 1751, La Valiere reported, approximately 250 Acadians had already enrolled in the local militia at Fort Beauséjour.)[30] Father Le Loutre's War had done much to create the condition of total war; British civilians had not been spared, and, as Lawrence saw it, Acadian civilians had provided intelligence, sanctuary, and logistical support while others fought in armed conflict.[31]

When Charles Lawrence took over the post following Hopson’s return to England, he took a stronger stance. He was not only a government official but a military leader for the region. Lawrence came up with a military solution for the forty-five years of an unsettled British conquest of Acadia. The French and Indian War (and Seven Years' War in Europe) began in 1754. Lawrence's primary objectives in Acadia were to defeat the French fortifications at Beausejour and Louisbourg. The British saw many Acadians as a military threat in their allegiance to the French and Mi'kmaq. The British also wanted to interrupt the Acadian supply lines to Fortress Louisbourg, which, in turn, supplied the Mi'kmaq.[32] According to Historian Stephen Patterson, more than any other single factor - including the massive assault that eventually forced the surrender of Louisbourg - the supply problem spelled doom to French power in the region. Lawrence realised he could cut off supplies to the French by deporting the Acadians.[33]

British deportation campaigns

Bay of Fundy (1755)

Grand Pré: Deportation of the Acadians.

The first wave of the expulsion began on August 10, 1755, with the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) during the French and Indian War.[34] The British ordered the expulsion of the Acadians after the Battle of Beausejour (1755). The Campaign started at Chignecto and then quickly moved to Grand Pre, Piziquid (Falmouth/ Windsor, Nova Scotia) and finally Annapolis Royal.[35]

On November 17, 1755, during the Bay of Fundy Campaign at Chignecto, George Scott took 700 troops and attacked twenty houses at Memramcook. They arrested the Acadians who remained and killed two hundred head of livestock, to deprive the French of supplies.[36] Many Acadians tried to escape the Expulsion by retreating to St. John and Petitcodiac rivers, and the Miramichi in New Brunswick. The British cleared the Acadians from these areas in the later campaigns of Petitcodiac River, St. John River, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1758.

Cape Sable

Cape Sable included Port La Tour and the surrounding area (a much larger area than simply Cape Sable Island). In April 1756, Major Preble and his New England troops, on their return to Boston, raided a settlement near Port La Tour and captured 72 men, women and children.[37]

In the late summer of 1758, Major Henry Fletcher led the 35th regiment and a company of Gorham's Rangers to Cape Sable. He cordoned off the cape and sent his men through it. One hundred Acadians and Father Jean Baptistee de Gray surrendered, while about 130 Acadians and seven Mi'kmaq escaped. The Acadian prisoners were taken to Georges Island in Halifax Harbour.[38]

En route to the St. John River Campaign in September 1758, Moncton sent Major Roger Morris, in command of two men-of-war and transport ships with 325 soldiers, to deport more Acadians. On October 28, his troops sent the women and children to Georges Island. The men were kept behind and forced to work with troops to destroy their village. On October 31, they were also sent to Halifax.[39] In the spring of 1759, Joseph Gorham and his rangers arrived to take prisoner the remaining 151 Acadians. They reached Georges Island with them on June 29.[40]

Ile St. Jean and Ile Royale

The second wave of the Deportation began with the French defeat at the Siege of Louisbourg (1758). Thousands of Acadians were deported from Ile Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) and Ile Royale (Cape Breton). The Ile Saint-Jean Campaign resulted in the largest percentage of deaths of the Acadians deported. The highest single event total of fatalities during the Deportation occurred with the sinking of the Violet, with about 280 persons aboard, and the Duke William, with over 360 persons aboard.[41] By the time the second wave of the expulsion had begun, the British had discarded their policy of relocating the Catholic, French-speaking colonists to the Thirteen Colonies. They deported them directly to France.[42] In 1758, hundreds of Ile Royale Acadians fled to one of Boishebert's refugee camps south of Baie des Chaleurs.[43]

Petitcodiac River Campaign

This was a series of British military operations from June to November 1758 to deport the Acadians who either lived along the river or had taken refuge there from earlier deportation operations, such as the Ile Saint-Jean Campaign. Benoni Danks and Joseph Gorham's Rangers carried out the operation.[35]

Contrary to Governor Lawrence's direction, New England Ranger Danks engaged in frontier warfare against the Acadians. On July 1, 1758, Danks himself began to pursue the Acadians on the Petiticodiac. They arrived at present day Moncton and Danks’ Rangers ambushed about thirty Acadians, who were led by Joseph Broussard (Beausoleil). Many were driven into the river, three of them were killed and scalped, and others were captured. Broussard was seriously wounded.[44] Danks reported that the scalps were Mi’kmaq and received payment for them. Thereafter, he went down in local lore as “one of the most reckless and brutal” of the Rangers.[45]

St. John River Campaign

Colonel Robert Monckton led a force of 1150 British soldiers to destroy the Acadian settlements along the banks of the Saint John River until they reached the largest village of Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas (present day Fredericton, New Brunswick) in February 1759.[46] Monckton was accompanied by New England Rangers led by Joseph Goreham, Captain Benoni Danks, Moses Hazen and George Scott.[47] The British started at the bottom of the river with raiding Kennebecais and Managoueche (City of St. John), where the British built Fort Frederick. Then they moved up the river and raided Grimross (Gagetown, New Brunswick), Jemseg, and finally they reached Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas.[47]

Contrary to Governor Lawrence's direction, New England Ranger Lieutenant Hazen engaged in frontier warfare against the Acadians in what has become known as the "Ste Anne's Massacre". On 18 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas. The Rangers pillaged and burned the village of 147 buildings, two Mass-houses, besides all the barns and stables. The Rangers burned a large store-house, and with a large quantity of hay, wheat, peas, oats, etc., killing 212 horses, about 5 head of cattle, a large number of hogs and so forth. They also burned the church (located just west of Old Government House, Fredericton).[48]

As well, the rangers tortured and scalped six Acadians and took six prisoners.[48] There is a written record of one of the Acadian survivors Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine. He reported that the Rangers restrained him and then massacred his family in front of him. There are other primary sources that support his assertions.[49]

Gulf of St. Lawrence Campaign

Raid on Miramichi Bay - Burnt Church Village by Captain Hervey Smyth (1758)

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence Campaign (also known as the Gaspee Expedition), British forces raided French villages along present-day New Brunswick and the Gaspé Peninsula coast of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Sir Charles Hardy and Brigadier-General James Wolfe commanded the naval and military forces, respectively. After the Siege of Louisbourg (1758), Wolfe and Hardy led a force of 1500 troops in nine vessels to the Gaspé Bay arriving there on September 5. From there they dispatched troops to Miramichi Bay (Sept. 12), Grande-Rivière, Quebec and Pabos (Sept. 13), and Mont-Louis, Quebec (Sept. 14). Over the following weeks, Sir Charles Hardy took four sloops or schooners, destroyed about 200 fishing vessels, and took about 200 prisoners.[50]


The Acadians took refuge along the Baie des Chaleurs and the Restigouche River.[51] Boishébert had a refugee camp at Petit-Rochelle (which was located perhaps near present-day Pointe-à-la-Croix, Quebec).[52] The year after the Battle of Restigouche, in late 1761, Captain Roderick Mackenzie and his force captured over 330 Acadians at Boishebert's camp.[53]


Monument to Imprisoned Acadians on Georges Island (background), Bishops Landing, Halifax

After the French conquered Saint John's, Newfoundland in June 1762, the success galvanized both the Acadians and Natives. They began gathering in large numbers at various points throughout the province and behaving in a confident and, according to the British,"insolent fashion". Officials were especially alarmed when Natives concentrated close to the two principal towns in the province, Halifax and Lunenburg, where there were also large groups of Acadians. The government organized an expulsion of 1300 people, shipping them to Boston. The government of Massachusetts refused the Acadians permission to land and sent them back to Halifax.[54]

Before the deportation, Acadian population was estimated at 14,000 Acadians. Most were deported.[55] Some Acadians escaped to Quebec, or hid among the Mi'kmaq or in the countryside, to avoid deportation until the situation settled down.[56]

Acadian and Mi’kmaq resistance

During the expulsion, French Officer Charles Deschamps de Boishébert led the Mi'kmaq and the Acadians in a guerrilla war against the British.[57] According to Louisbourg account books, by late 1756, the French had regularly dispensed supplies to 700 Natives. From 1756 to the fall of Louisbourg in 1758, the French made regular payments to Chief Jean-Baptiste Cope and other natives for British scalps.[58]

Annapolis (Fort Anne)

The Acadians and Mi’kmaq fought in the Annapolis region. They were victorious in the Battle of Bloody Creek (1757).[25] Acadians being deported from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia on the ship Pembroke rebelled against the British crew, took over the ship and sailed to land.

In December 1757, while cutting firewood near Fort Anne, John Weatherspoon was captured by Indians (presumably Mi'kmaq) and carried away to the mouth of the Miramichi River. From there he was eventually sold or traded to the French and taken to Quebec, where he was held until late in 1759 and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, when General Wolfe's forces prevailed.[59]

About 50 or 60 Acadians who escaped the initial deportation are reported to have made their way to the Cape Sable region (which included south western Nova Scotia). From there, they participated in numerous raids on Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.[60]

Piziquid (Fort Edward)

In the April of 1757, a band of Acadian and Mi'kmaq raided a warehouse near Fort Edward, killing thirteen British soldiers. After loading with what provisions they could carry, they set fire to the building.[61]

Chignecto (Fort Cumberland)

The Acadians and Mi’kmaq also resisted in the Chignecto region. They were victorious in the Battle of Petitcodiac (1755).[25] In the spring of 1756, a wood-gathering party from Fort Monckton (former Fort Gaspareaux), was ambushed and nine were scalped.[62] In the April of 1757, after raiding Fort Edward, the same band of Acadian and Mi'kmaq partisans raided Fort Cumberland, killing and scalping two men and taking two prisoners.[63] July 20, 1757 Mi'kmaq killed 23 and captured two of Gorham's rangers outside Fort Cumberland near present-day Jolicure, New Brunswick.[64] In March 1758, forty Acadian and Mi'kmaq attacked a schooner at Fort Cumberland and killed its master and two sailors.[65] In the winter of 1759, the Mi'kmaq ambushed five British soldiers on patrol while they were crossing a bridge near Fort Cumberland. They were ritually scalped and their bodies mutilated as was common in frontier warfare.[66] During the night of 4 April 1759, using canoes, a force of Acadians and French captured the transport. At dawn they attacked the ship Moncton and chased it for five hours down the Bay of Fundy. Although the Moncton escaped, it’s crew suffered one killed and two wounded.[67]

Others resisted during the St. John River Campaign and the Petitcodiac River Campaign.[68]


By June 1757, the settlers had to be withdrawn completely from the settlement of Lawrencetown (established 1754) because the number of Indian raids eventually prevented settlers from leaving their houses.[69]

In near-by Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in the spring of 1759, there was another Mi'kmaq attack on Fort Clarence (located at the present day Dartmouth Refinery), in which five soldiers were killed.[70]


On 13 August 1758 Boishebert left Miramichi, New Brunswick with 400 soldiers, including Acadians which he led from Port Toulouse. They marched to Fort St George (Thomaston, Maine) and Munduncook (Friendship, Maine). While the former siege was unsuccessful, in the latter raid on Munduncook, they wounded eight British settlers and killed others. This was Boishébert’s last Acadian expedition. From there, Boishebert and the Acadians went to Quebec and fought in the Battle of Quebec (1759).[71]


The Acadians and Mi'kmaq raided the Lunenburg settlement nine times over a three year period during the war. Boishebert ordered the first Raid on Lunenburg (1756). Following the raid of 1756, in 1757, there was a raid on Lunenburg in which six people from the Brissang family were killed.[72] The following year, March 1758, there was a raid on the Lunenburg Peninsula at the Northwest Range (present-day Blockhouse, Nova Scotia) when five people were killed from the Ochs and Roder families.[73] By the end of May 1758, most of those on the Lunenburg Peninsula abandoned their farms and retreated to the protection of the fortifications around the town of Lunenburg, losing the season for sowing their grain.[74] For those that did not leave their farms for the town, the number of raids intensified.

During the summer of 1758, there were four raids on the Lunenburg Peninsula. On 13 July 1758, one person on the LaHave River at Dayspring was killed and another seriously wounded by a member of the Labrador family.[75] The next raid happened at Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia on 24 August 1758, when eight Mi'kmaq attacked the family homes of Lay and Brant. While they killed three people in the raid, the Mi'kmaq were unsuccessful in taking their scalps, which was the common practice for payment from the French.[76] Two days, later, two soldiers were killed in a raid on the blockhouse at LaHave, Nova Scotia.[77] Almost two weeks later, on 11 September, a child was killed in a raid on the Northwest Range.[78] Another raid happened on 27 March 1759, in which three members of the Oxner family were killed.[72] The last raid happened on 20 April 1759. The Mi’kmaq killed four settlers at Lunenburg who were members of the Trippeau and Crighton families.[79]


Acadian Pierre Gautier, son of Joseph-Nicolas Gautier, led Mi’kmaq warriors from Louisbourg on three raids against Halifax in 1757. In each raid, Gautier took prisoners or scalps or both. The last raid happened in September and Gautier went with four Mi’kmaq and killed and scalped two British men at the foot of Citadel Hill. (Pierre went on to participate in the Battle of Restigouche.) [80]

Deportation destinations

In the first wave the Expulsion, most Acadian exiles were assigned to rural communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina. In general, they refused to stay where they were put; a large number migrated to the colonial port cities, where they gathered in isolated, impoverished French-speaking Catholic neighbourhoods, exactly the sort of communities Britain's colonial officials had hoped to discourage. More worrisome still, a number of Acadians threatened to make their way north to French-controlled regions, including the St. John River, Ile Royale, the coasts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Canada.[81] Because the British believed their policy of sending the Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies had failed, during the second wave of the Expulsion, they deported the Acadians to France.


Approximately 1000 Acadians went to Maryland, where they lived in a section of Baltimore that became known as French Town.[82][83] The Irish Catholics were reported to have shown charity to the Acadians by taking some of the orphaned children into their homes.[84]


Destinations for deported Acadians[85]
Colony # of Exiles
Massachusetts 2000
Virginia 1100
Maryland 1000
Connecticut 700
Pennsylvania 500
North Carolina 500
South Carolina 500
Georgia 400
New York 250
TOTAL 6950
England 866
France 3,500
TOTAL 11, 316[86]

Approximately 2,000 Acadians disembarked at Massachusetts. For four long winter months, they were not allowed to disembark on orders of the one who had given orders to deport them, William Shirley. As consequence, half died of cold and starvation aboard the ships. Many of the children were taken away from their parents to be distributed to various families throughout Massachusetts.[87] The government also arranged the adoption of orphaned children and provided subsidies for housing and food for a year.[88]


Connecticut prepared for the arrival of 700 Acadians.[89] Like Maryland, the Connecticut legislature declared that “[the Acadians] be made welcome, helped and settled under the most advantageous conditions, or if they have to be sent away, measures be taken for their transfer.”[90]

Pennsylvania and Virginia

Pennsylvania accommodated 500 Acadians. Because they arrived unexpectedly, the Acadians had to remain in port on their vessels for several months. Likewise, Virginia refused to accept the Acadians on grounds that no notice was given of their arrival.[91] They were detained for some time at Williamsburg, where hundreds died from disease and malnutrition. They were then sent to England where they were held as prisoners until the Treaty of Paris in 1763.[92]

Carolinas and Georgia

The Acadians who had offered the most resistance to the British - particularly those who were at Chignecto - were reported to have been sent the furthest south to the British colonies of the Carolinas and Georgia.[93] About 1400 Acadians settled in these colonies. The Acadians were “subsidized” and put to work on plantations.[94]

Under the leadership of Jacques Maurice Vigneau of Baie Verte, the majority of the Acadians in Georgia received a passport from the governor Renyolds.[95] Without such passports, travel between borders was not allowed.[96] As soon as the Acadians bearing passports from Georgia reached the Carolinas, the colonies granted passports to the Acadians in their territories.[97] Along with these papers, the Acadians were given two vessels.[98] After running aground numerous times in the ships, some Acadians did make it back to the Bay of Fundy.[94] Along the way, many were captured and imprisoned.[99] Only 900 made it to Acadia, less than half who had begun the voyage.[94]

Others also tried to return home. The South Carolina Gazette reported that in February, about 30 Acadians fled the island to which they were confined and escaped their pursuers.[100] Alexandre Broussard, brother of the famed resistance leader Joseph Broussard, dit Beausoleil, was among them.[101] About a dozen are recorded to have returned to Acadia after an overland journey of 1,400 leagues.[102] Such Acadians returning to the homeland were exceptions.

France and England

Mémorial des Acadiens de Nantes

After the Siege of Louisbourg (1758), the British began to deport the Acadians directly to France rather than to the British colonies. Many deported to France never reached their destination. Three hundred and sixty died when the transport ship Duke William sank, as did the Violet and Ruby, in 1758 en route from Île St.-Jean to France. About 3,000 eventually gathered in France’s port cities; many went to Nantes.

The Virginians sent other Acadians to Britain as prisoners of war. British officials distributed them to districts in segregated quarters in cities along the British coast. These prisoners were eventually repatriated to France. They said the area where they were held, which they called La Grand’ Ligne (the King’s Highway), yielded no harvest for two years. Following the Treaty of Paris 1763, many Acadians were repatriated to Belle-Île-en-Mer off the western coast of Brittany.


Many Acadians left France (under the influence of Henri Peyroux de la Coudreniere) to settle in Louisiana, which was then a colony of Spain.[103] The British did not deport Acadians to Louisiana.[104] The transfer of Louisiana to the Spanish government was done in 1762.[105] Good relations between the two nations, and their common Catholic religion resulted in many Acadians choosing to take oaths of allegiance to the Spanish government.[92] Soon the Acadians comprised the largest ethnic group within Louisiana.[106] Acadians settled, first in areas along the Mississippi River, then later in the Atchafalaya Basin and in the prairie lands to the west, a region later renamed Acadiana. During the 19th century, as Acadians reestablished their culture, "Acadian" was elided locally into "Cajun".

Aftermath of the Seven Years War

Of the 12,000 or so Acadians deported, several thousands died either of drowning aboard ill fated ships, starvation, illness, and misery.[107] Of the 60,000 French sailors captured by the British Royal Navy, 8,500 died prisoners aboard old British pontoons.[108] In 1763, after the signing of the peace treaty, some Acadians returned to Nova Scotia. They quickly found out that they no longer owned land, it had been redistributed to Protestant settlers, and they were forced to live as fisherman on the west side of Nova Scotia known as the French Shore.[109]

As for the other Acadians, the British authorities scattered them in small groups along the shores of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It was only in the 1930s with the arrival of the Acadian co-operative movements that the Acadians became less economically disadvantaged.[110]

Historical comparisons

The Expulsion of the Acadians has been compared to many such military operations during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The French had carried out their own expulsion in Newfoundland in 1697 when they occupied all of the English portion of Newfoundland during Pierre d'Iberville's Avalon Peninsula Campaign, burning every English settlement and exiling all the surviving English inhabitants.[111] One historian compared the Acadian Exodus to the retreating Russians burning their own lands before Napoleon's invasion, while comparing the British actions to General Sherman's destroying everything in his path as his unchallenged army drove its powerful way across Georgia in the American Civil War.[112] Another historian compared the deportation to the fate the of the United Empire Loyalists, who were expelled from the United States to present-day Canada after the American Revolution.[113] Another deportation was the Highland Clearances in Scotland between 1762 and 1886.[114] Another parallel cited in North America was the relocation of the Cherokee and other Native Americans from the South-East United States in the 1830s in the Indian Removal.[115]


  • American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a long, narrative poem about the plight of the Acadians called Evangeline in 1847.[116] The Evangeline Oak is a tourist attraction in Louisiana.
  • The song "Acadian Driftwood", recorded in 1975 by The Band, portrays the Great Upheaval and the displacement of the Acadian people.[117]
  • The author Antonine Maillet wrote a novel about the aftermath of the Great Upheaval, Pélagie-la-Charrette. The novel was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1979.
  • Grand-Pré Park, situated in present-day Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia is now a National Historic Site of Canada. It has been preserved as a living monument to the Expulsion, complete with a memorial church and a statue of Evangeline, the subject and title of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's stirring poem on the experience.
  • In December 2003, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, representing Canada's Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, declared the Crown's acknowledgement of (but did not apologise for) the Expulsion. She designated July 28 as "A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval."[118] This proclamation, often referred to as the Royal Proclamation of 2003, closed one of the longest open cases in the history of the British courts, initiated when the Acadian representatives first presented their grievances of forced dispossession of land, property and livestock in 1760.
  • December 13, the day the Duke William sank during the Expulsion, is commemorated every year as Acadian Remembrance Day.[119]
  • There is a museum dedicated to Acadian history and culture, including detailed reconstruction of the Great Uprising, in the town of Bonaventure, Quebec.[120]

See also

  • Expulsion of the Loyalists
  • France in the Seven Years War
  • Great Britain in the Seven Years War
  • Tintamarre

End notes

  1. ^ The French and Indian war began in 1754, two years prior to the formalization of conflict between France and Britain in the Seven Years War, commonly referred to by French Canadians as the Guerre de la Conquête britannique ("War of British Conquest").
  2. ^ Geoffrey Plank, An Unsettled Conquest. University of Pennsylvania. 2001, 149
  3. ^ John Grenier, Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia 1710-1760, Oklahoma University Press. 2008
  4. ^ Stephen E. Patterson. "Indian-White Relations in Nova Scotia, 1749-61: A Study in Political Interaction", in Buckner, P, Campbell, G. and Frank, D. (eds). The Acadiensis Reader Vol 1: Atlantic Canada Before Confederation, 1998. pp. 105-106.; Also see Stephen Patterson, Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples, p. 144.
  5. ^ British officer John Winslow raised his concern that officials were not distinguishing between Acadians who rebelled against the British and those who did not. (See John Faragher, p. 337
  6. ^ John Faragher compares this event to "ethnic cleansing" while Elizabeth Griffith suggest that "the Acadian deportation, as a government action, was a pattern with other contemporary happenings" (Griffith, p. 462). A.J.B Johnston argues that the evidence for the removal of the Acadians indicates the decision makers thought the Acadians were a military threat, therefore, the deportation of 1755 does not qualify as an ethnic cleansing. As the deportation continued, Johnston identifies that it was a "cleansing", however, not an ethnic cleansing because the persecutors cared much more about religious adherence than about ethnicity. (See "The Acadian Deportation in a Comparative Context: An Introduction," Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society: The Journal, 2007. pp. 114-131)
  7. ^ Geoffery Pleck. An Unsettled Conquest, 2001, p. 89
  8. ^ Lionel-Groulx, "L'histoire Acadienne" dans : Notre maître le passé, page 168, édition 10-10, 1977
  9. ^ Johnson, A.J.B. Storied Shore. University College of Cape Breton Press. 2004., p. 70
  10. ^ Ried, John. Nova Scotia: A Pocket History, Fernwood Publishing. 2009. p. 49.
  11. ^ Marice Basque (2004). "Family and Political Culture in Pre-Conquest Acadia," In The Conquest of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. 2004, University of Toronto Press. p. 49; John Reid, Six Crucial Decades, 29-32; John Reid. 1686-1720: Imperial Instrusions; Barnes, "Twelve Apostles" or a "Dozen Traitors?"; Basque, Des hommes de pouvoir, 51-99; Basque and Brun, La neutralite l' epreuve.; Bernard Potheir, Course d l'Accadie; Bobert Rumilly, L'Acadie angalise.
  12. ^ John Grenier. (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia 1710-1760 University of Oklahoma Press, p. 133
  13. ^ Brenda Dunn. Port Royal-Annapolis Royal. Nimbus Press. 2004. p. 166
  14. ^ Georrery Plank. An Unsettled Conquest, University of Pennsylvania. 2001. p. 105.
  15. ^ R. Douglas Francis, Richard Jones, and Donald B. Smith, Origins: Canadian History to Confederation, 6th ed. (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2009), 117
  16. ^ John Brebner, New England’s Outpost: Acadia before the Conquest of Canada, (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1965), 190.
  17. ^ John Johnston. "French Attitudes Toward the Acadians, ca. 1680-1756", In Du Grand Dérangement à la Déportation. pp. 152
  18. ^ John Faragher (2005) A Great and Noble Scheme. p. 262
  19. ^ Stephen Patterson. Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples, University of Toronto Press. p. 142
  20. ^ Stephen E. Patterson. "Indian-White Relations in Nova Scotia, 1749-61: A Study in Political Interaction," in The Acadiensis Reader Vol 1: Atlantic Canada Before Confederation, Buckner, P, Campbell, G. and Frank, D. (eds). 1998. pp. 105-106.; Also see Stephen Patterson, Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples, p. 144.
  21. ^ Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme New York; W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. pp. 110–112 ISBN 0-393-05135-8
  22. ^ Geoffery Plank. An Unsettled Conquest. University of Pennsylvania. 2001. p. 72
  23. ^ Geoffery Plank. An Unsettled Conquest. University of Pennsylvania. 2001. p. 67
  24. ^ John Grenier. First Way of War.
  25. ^ a b c d e Faragher, John Mack, A Great and Noble Scheme, New York; W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. pp. 110–112 ISBN 0-393-05135-8
  26. ^ John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire. pp. 46-73
  27. ^ (William Pote's Journal, 1745, p. 34)
  28. ^ Winthrop Pickard Bell. (1961). The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia; Mather Byles DesBrisay (1895). History of the county of Lunenburg.
  29. ^ Bona Arsenault, History of the Acadians, 1978, p. 156.
  30. ^ Faragher, p. 271
  31. ^ Patterson, 1994, p. 146
  32. ^ Stephen Patterson, Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples,
  33. ^ Patterson, 1994, p. 152
  34. ^ Faragher, John Mack (2005-02-22). A great and noble scheme: the tragic story of the expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 338. ISBN 9780393051353. http://books.google.com/books?id=dZiRciF_rbMC&pg=PA338. 
  35. ^ a b John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press. 2008
  36. ^ John Grenier, p. 184
  37. ^ Winthrop Bell. Foreign Protestants, University of Toronto, 1961, p. 504; Peter Landry. The Lion and the Lily, Trafford Press. 2007.p. 555
  38. ^ John Grenier, The Far Reaches of Empire, Oklahoma Press. 2008. p. 198
  39. ^ Marshall, p. 98; see also Bell. Foreign Protestants. p. 512
  40. ^ Marshall, p. 98; Peter Landry. The Lion and the Lily, Trafford Press. 2007. p. 555
  41. ^ Earle Lockerby, The Expulsion of the Acadians from Prince Edward Island. Nimbus Publications. 2009
  42. ^ Plank, p. 160
  43. ^ John Grenier, p. 197
  44. ^ Grenier, p. 198; Faragher, p. 402.
  45. ^ Grenier, p. 198
  46. ^ John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760, Oklahoma University Press.pp. 199-200. Note that John Faragher in the Great and Nobel Scheme indicates that Monckton had a force of 2000 men for this campaign. p. 405.
  47. ^ a b John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760, Oklahoma University Press. 2008, pp. 199-200
  48. ^ a b John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press, p. 202; Also see Plank, p. 61
  49. ^ A letter from Fort Frederick which was printed in Parker’s New York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy on 2 April 1759 provides some additional details of the behavior of the Rangers. Also see William O. Raymond. The River St. John: Its Physical Features, Legends and History from 1604 to 1784. St. John, New Brunswick. 1910. pp. 96-107
  50. ^ J.S. McLennan, Louisbourg: From its Founding to its Fall, Macmillan and Co. Ltd London, UK 1918, pp. 417-423, Appendix 11 (see http://www.archive.org/stream/louisbourgfromit00mcleuoft/louisbourgfromit00mcleuoft_djvu.txt)
  51. ^ Lockerby, 2008, p.17, p.24, p.26, p.56
  52. ^ Faragher, p. 414; also see History: Commodore Byron's Conquest. The Canadian Press. July 19, 2008 http://www.acadian.org/La%20Petite-Rochelle.html
  53. ^ John Grenier, p. 211; John Faragher, p. 41; see the account of Captain Mackenzie's raid at MacKenzie's Raid
  54. ^ Patterson, 1994, p. 153; Brenda Dunn, p. 207
  55. ^ Griffith, 2005, p. 438
  56. ^ Faragher, p. 423–424
  57. ^ John Gorham. The Far Reaches of Empire: War In Nova Scotia (1710-1760). University of Oklahoma Press. 2008. p. 177-206
  58. ^ Patterson, Stephen E. 1744-1763: Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples. In Phillip Buckner and John Reid (eds.) The Atlantic Region to Conderation: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1994. p. 148
  59. ^ The journal of John Weatherspoon was published in Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society for the Years 1879-1880 (Halifax 1881) that has since been reprinted (Mika Publishing Company, Belleville, Ontario, 1976).
  60. ^ Winthrop Bell, Foreign Protestants, University of Toronto. 1961. p.503
  61. ^ John Faragher. Great and Noble Scheme. Norton. 2005. p. 398.
  62. ^ Webster as cited by bluepete, p. 371
  63. ^ John Faragher.Great and Noble Scheme. Norton. 2005. p. 398.
  64. ^ John Grenier, p. 190; New Brunswick Military Project
  65. ^ John Grenier, p. 195
  66. ^ John Faragher, p. 410
  67. ^ New Brunswick Military Project
  68. ^ John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760, Oklahoma University Press.pp. 199–200
  69. ^ Bell Foreign Protestants. p. 508
  70. ^ Harry Chapman, p. 32; John Faragher, p. 410
  71. ^ Phyllis E. Leblanc, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online; Cyrus Eaton's history, p. 77; William Durkee Williamson, The history of the state of Maine: from its first discovery, A. D ..., Volume 2, p. 333 (Williamson's Book)
  72. ^ a b Archibald McMechan, Red Snow of Grand Pre. 1931. p. 192
  73. ^ Bell, p. 509
  74. ^ Bell. Foreign Protestants. p. 510, p. 513
  75. ^ Bell, p. 510
  76. ^ Bell, Foreign Protestants, p. 511
  77. ^ Bell, p. 511
  78. ^ Bell, p. 512
  79. ^ Bell, p. 513
  80. ^ Earle Lockerby. Pre-Deportation Letters from Ile Saint Jean. Les Cahiers. La Societe hitorique acadienne. Vol. 42, No2. June 2011. pp. 99-100
  81. ^ Plank, 2005, p. 70
  82. ^ Arsenault 155
  83. ^ Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Maryland (August 1940). Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 206. http://books.google.com/books?id=K6BlU1wPV7oC&pg=PA206&lpg=PA206&dq=acadia+French-town+baltimore#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 30 April 2011. "In time the Acadians were able to construct small houses along South Charles Street; for a century this section of Baltimore was called French Town" 
  84. ^ Rieder, Milton P. Jr. and Rieder, Norma G. Acadian Exiles in the American Colonies, Metairie, LA, 1977, p. 2; Faragher 375
  85. ^ Statistics for the British colonies found in Geoffrey Plank. Unsettled Conquest. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2001. p. 149.
  86. ^ Total exiles for England and France found in R.A. LEBLANC. "Les migrations acadiennes", in Cahiers de géographie du Québec, Vol. 23, no 58, April 1979, p. 99-124.
  87. ^ Arsenault 197
  88. ^ Faragher 374
  89. ^ Rieder and Rieder 1
  90. ^ Arsenault 153
  91. ^ Arsenault 156
  92. ^ a b Arsenault 203
  93. ^ Arsenault 157; Farragher 383
  94. ^ a b c Arsenault 157
  95. ^ (Faragher 386)
  96. ^ Farragher 389
  97. ^ Farragher 386
  98. ^ Rieder 2
  99. ^ LeBlanc, Dudley J. The True Story of the Acadians (1932), p. 48
  100. ^ Doughty 140
  101. ^ Arsenault 160
  102. ^ Faragher 388
  103. ^ Winzerling 91
  104. ^ Doughty 150
  105. ^ Winzerling 59
  106. ^ Faragher 436
  107. ^ Bona Arsenault, p192.
  108. ^ Jean-Pierre Duteil et Patrick Villiers, op. cit., p. 103.
  109. ^ Bona Arsenault, p326.
  110. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia, Hurtig Publishers, p6.
  111. ^ Reid, John G. "1686-1720 Imperial Intrusions" In Phillip Buckner and John Reid (eds.) The Atlantic Region to Conderation: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1994. p. 84
  112. ^ Patterson, 1994, p. 147
  113. ^ (See Johnston, p. 120).
  114. ^ Johnston, p. 121).
  115. ^ (Johnston, p. 121).
  116. ^ Calhoun, Charles C. Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004: 189. ISBN 0807070262.
  117. ^ "Acadian Driftwood". The Band. http://theband.hiof.no/lyrics/acadian_driftwood.html. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  118. ^ "Acadian Affairs". Government of Nova Scotia. http://www.gov.ns.ca/acadien/en/lacadie-celebrations.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  119. ^ "Acadian Remembrance Day Dec. 13". The Journal Pioneer. 2009-12-09. http://www.journalpioneer.com/Living/Faith/2009-12-09/article-1397141/Acadian-Remembrance-Day-Dec.-13/1. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  120. ^ "Musée Acadien du Québec". Musée Acadien du Québec. http://www.museeacadien.com. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 


  • LeBlanc, Ronnie-Gilles, ed. (2005). Du Grand dérangement à la Déportation : nouvelles perspectives historiques, Moncton: Chaire d'études acadiennes, Université de Moncton, 465 p.
  • Arsenault, Bona and Pascal Alain (2004). Histoire des Acadiens, Saint-Laurent, Québec: Éditions Fides, 502 p.
  • Sauvageau, Robert (1987). Acadie : La guerre de Cent Ans des français d'Amérique aux Maritimes et en Louisiane 1670-1769 Paris: Berger-Levrault
  • Gaudet, Placide (1922). Le Grand Dérangement : sur qui retombe la responsabilité de l'expulsion des Acadiens, Ottawa: Impr. de l'Ottawa Printing Co.
  • d'Arles, Henri (1918). La déportation des Acadiens, Québec: Imprimerie de l'Action sociale

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