Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

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Beginning of a colony

 

 

The Acadians, 1755-1881

 

Mainland Nova Scotia became British territory in 1713, but most of its inhabitants were French Acadians.  Forty-two years later, on the eve of an European war, the British military forcibly deported most of the Acadians.

 

Such “ethnic cleansing” was explained on the grounds of military security and allegiance, but such excuses were unjustified, given the peaceful and insular nature of the Acadian settlers.  Over the next 100 years, many original settlers and/or their offspring returned and re-established Acadian communities in the Maritimes.

 

In a poem published in 1847 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline (the heroine and the title for this poem); Evangeline’s character symbolizes the courage of the Acadians, who were forced from their lands by Governor Charles Lawrence in1755.  this terrible ordeal – the result of animosity between the French and British colonies – tore families apart and dispersed the Acadian population.  In the poem, Evangelin wanders for years in search of her fiancé Gabriel, from whom she has been cruelly separated, only to find him on his deathbed.

 

Also:Acadia

 

The road to the U.S.

The French moved into North America via rivers and lakes.  The St. Lawrence River was the main entrance to the continent, leading to the Great Lakes, the Mississippi Valley and Louisiana.  Explorers, coureurs des bois, missionaries and soldiers all traveled the waterways with Aboriginal guides.

 

Water routes connected the French territories – Acadia, Newfoundland, Canada and Louisiana – and shaped the settlement of the land.  In the 18th century, the banks of the St. Lawrence had been settled.  Colonists then followed other rivers in search of new lands.  The habitants also used the waterways to visit distant relatives, go to town to sell products, or find a notary, doctor or priest.

 

During winter, the frozen flat surfaces of rivers and lakes were better than bumpy roads for travel in sleighs or carioles.

 

Also see : Cavalier de LaSalle ;   Missouri  

 

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