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Annapolis River - Grand Dérangement

Deportation of the Acadians

More on the Annapolis River:
Annapolis River:
Land of Evangeline

Apple Core:
Orchard blossoms in the valley

Fourteenth Colony:
An extension of New England

First Colony:
The beginning of European settlement in Canada

Grand Dérangement:
Deportation of the Acadians

For peat’s sake:
The ecology of peat bogs

Slippery business:
Eels and other catches of the Annapolis

Steal away:
Destination on the underground railway

Waste water is cleansed by the sun

In 1754, war broke out in North America between the French and the British. The British authorities in Nova Scotia became very concerned about their Acadian colonists. Would they honour their pledge of neutrality, or would they join the French to fight the British?

The Lieutenant Governor, Edward Cornwallis, decided to find out. He ordered the Acadians to take a very strongly worded oath pledging their support to the British. The Acadians pointed out that they had always been loyal citizens, and offered to give up their arms, but they did not want to take another oath.

The Acadians seemed to have some misunderstanding of the seriousness of the situation. The British were determined to have their way. It may be that some of the British wanted to take over the rich Acadian farms.

When the British ordered the Acadians deported from Nova Scotia, they planned it poorly, and a culture was brutally dislocated. Acadian families were broken up, never to be reunited.

The British plan was to send the Acadians by ship to the Thirteen Colonies to the south or to England. Some people ran away to hide in the forests along the Annapolis Rivers to escape deportation. Meanwhile, their homes and barns were burned to the ground.

On board ship, storms, shortages of drinking water and food, and poor sanitary conditions condemned many of the refugees to a miserable death. One ship, the Cornwallis, lost 207 of the 417 Acadians on board.

The Expulsion or 'Grand Dérangement,' as the Acadians called it, lasted seven years, until 1762. It is difficult to know exactly how many Acadians were deported. It is estimated that the total number deported was about 10,000, out of a total Acadian population of 13,000.

In 1764 the British permitted Acadians to return to Nova Scotia. Since other people now owned their farms and properties, however, few returning Acadians took advantage of the offer. It is estimated that about 3,000 came back. But the artifacts remaining of their culture were few. Most had been destroyed.

Acadians today, living in the Annapolis River region and elsewhere in the province of Nova Scotia, are experiencing a cultural renaissance. They retain their strong cultural identity that is expressed most effectively through their language and their music.

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