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Acadian Life Since 1763

The Return of the Acadians

The fall of Louisbourg in 1758 meant that France no longer controlled neither Ile-Royale (Cape Breton) nor Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island). In 1760, the fall of Québec brought about the end of the French regime in what is now Canada. According to the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France lost all its territories in North America except the Islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and the Louisiana territory.

Acadians were allowed to return to Nova Scotia in 1764 with a few conditions: they had to take the oath of allegiance and they were ordered to settle at a great distance from the Islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

After 1764, the British authorities in Halifax allowed exiled or imprisoned Acadians to resettle in Nova Scotia. This permission was conditional to their taking the oath of allegiance and settling in small dispersed groups throughout the colony. Because the New England Planters had occupied the vacated Acadian lands between 1760-1763, those who returned had little option but to settle the coastal areas. That set the geographic pattern of settlement still evident today. The accompanying map of Nova Scotia shows the seven locations where Acadians reestablished upon their return from exile. Their descendants are still located in those areas.

  • 1 Argyle (Yarmouth County)
  • 2 Clare (Digby County)
  • 3 Minudie, Nappan and Maccan (Cumberland County)
  • 4 Chéticamp (Inverness County, Cape Breton)
  • 5 Isle Madame (Richmond County, Cape Breton)
  • 6 Pomquet, Tracadie, Havre-Boucher (Antigonish County)
  • 7 Chezzetcook (Halifax County)
  • Acadian Identity in the 19th Century

    It was during the occasion of their second national convention, held in Miscouche in Prince Edward Island in 1884, that the Acadians of the maritime provinces chose their flag and national anthem. They adopted the French Tricolor in order to demonstrate that they were not forgetful of the origins of their ancestors. What distinguishes the Acadian flag from that of France is a star "Face of Mary", situated in the blue rectangle of the former, for the color blue is symbolic of the Virgin Mary. This star, "Stella Maris", which is praised in the Acadian national anthem guides the Acadian people through their hardships. Picture
    It bears the papal color as being representative of the unwaivering adherence of the Acadians to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1984, we witnessed the 100th anniversary of the act which, for Acadians, having chosen this flag and anthem is symbolic of their emergence as a people.

    Acadian Identity today

    The Acadian identity remains to this day profoundly touched by the events that have surrounded the deportation. However, there is much more to this identity than simply this tragic fact. There are numerous factors that were important to the Acadian identity in the past and they still are today. During the Golden Age (1713-1748) the Acadians had cultivated a remarkable sense of independence with respect to their neighbors. They remained proud of the French language, their Roman Catholic faith, their families and communities, as well as their culture and work. Many of these elements are still valued today. We conclude with contemporary images which reveal the Acadian identity today.

    More information on Acadian history and genealogy is available at the Centre Acadien, Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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