This section is written to introduce you to the history of Acadia and the Acadian people. This is a brief introduction for those seeking a summary of Acadian history or those who want to refresh themselves.
The Acadian People
In short, Acadians are the descendants of French settlers who traveled to North America from 1604 on. Most of them are from western central France. They settled on the territory of ancient Acadia. Acadia included the territory east of New England and southeastern New France, present-day Nova Scotia, as well as part of New Brunswick and Île-du-Québec. -Prince Edward Island. Acadia was likely to include parts of Maine (United States) and Quebec.
Under British pressure, British Governor Charles Lawrence and the Council of Nova Scotia decided to expel the Acadians. This expulsion began in 1755. 10,000 to 18,000 Acadians were displaced by deportation (Grand Dérangement). Thousands more were killed.
Our History Cont.
In 1764, the British authorities allowed the Acadians to return in small isolated groups. They came back slowly, and they moved to various places in Nova Scotia and on Cape Breton Island. Others met in Newfoundland, the West Indies, France and even the Falkland Islands. About 3,000 Acadians settle in Louisiana, becoming our cousins the “Cajuns”.
It was just a glimpse of Acadian history. Browse our website and you will find more information and a more detailed local history of the Acadian culture.
Origins of the Name
The first known European to coin the term Acadia or Arcadia was Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528). The name came to him from one of two possible sources. One would be his meetings with a native who used the word “quoddy” or “cadie” to describe what Verrazzano understood to be the territory surrounding them. The second possible origin of the word would be from Greek or Roman classics, where the word Arcadia is used to describe a pastoral paradise. Verrazzano, impressed with the beauty of his surroundings, may have recalled the name from these works.
During the next decades, Acadia was the name given to the land that stretched from present-day New Jersey to Nova Scotia. The name Larcadia first appeared on a 1548 map by Giacomo Gastaldi. He located it near what is now Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It later appears on a 1566 map by the Italian cartographer Bolognino Zalttieri. He placed it where Nova Scotia is today, seven decades before the French began settling there. In 1575, the French historian André Thevet changed the name to Arcadie.