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St. John River: Vive la République !

The unique cultural mélange of Madawaska

More on the St. John River:
St. John River:
The Good and the Bountiful

Cargo of Misery:
Disease and death stalk desperate newcomers

Company Town:
Boss Gibson's Marysville

Natural delicacy of the river valley

Fir Trade:
Forests are vital to New Brunswick's economy

Fries to Go:
Fast food for the world

Home Children:
Tragic chapter in our immigration history

Big Noise:
Foghorn is invented for Partridge Island

Return Flight:
Bald eagles recover old nesting sites

The Sand and the Fury:
The complex ecology of the Fundy tides

Starting Over:
Loyalists seek refuge from revolution

Vive la République !:
The unique cultural mélange of Madawaska

So proud and independent is the northwestern corner of New Brunswick that its residents like to call it the "Republic of Madawaska." Natives called it, Madoueskak, or "land of the porcupine" - still a fitting name for a region that continues to depend on trees for its economic well-being.

Squeezed into a nook between Quebec and the state of Maine, the Madawaska region is a unique cultural blend of English-speakers from New Brunswick and Maine, and French-speaking Quebeckers and Acadians.

In 1764 the Acadians, who had been expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755, were allowed to return to the British colonies. But all their farms had been given to English-speaking settlers and the Acadians could not go back to their former homes. Many came to New Brunswick but were not given full legal rights. As Roman Catholics, they were not allowed to vote in New Brunswick until 1810, or sit in the Legislature until 1830.

At the time of the Loyalist influx at the end of the 18th century, a group of Acadians relocated from Fredericton to a remote site in Madawaska. They named it "Petit Sault," meaning Little Falls.

The character of the town changed with an influx of English-speaking settlers and it was renamed Edmundston. Since then, a steady flow of French-speaking settlers from neighbouring Quebec has strengthened the French-speaking character of la République de Madawaska.

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