The Deportation of the Acadians
The Deportation of the Acadians
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Tension and mistrust arising from the war between New France and 13 English colonies led to the expulsion of the Acadians. The British thought the Acadians were a threat to appropriation of the land.

Living successively under French and then British rule (in 1604 and 1713, respectively), the Acadians were often forced to adapt. And when the British conquered Port Royal in 1710 after being ceded Acadia under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, they found themselves up against a people who had developed a strong sense of independence against British and French rule. The Acadians initially refused to recognize British rule, wanting to keep their religious freedom and not wanting to be obliged to bears arms in the event of war. These conditions were accepted only in 1730 and, at that point, the Acadians were recognized as neutral subjects within the colony.

Wanting to settle permanently in the colony, the English founded the city of Halifax in 1749 to reduce the influence of Louisbourg. The new capital city would not need to be dependent on the Acadians for supplies and it could serve as the landing site for new Protestant colonists - and significant troops of soldiers. This military deployment made the Acadians nervous; some of them left for the west of Nova Scotia and others went as far as Prince Edward Island. In 1753, Charles Lawrence was appointed governor of Nova Scotia. Not trusting the Acadians, whom he believed were in cahoots with Natives, he threatened them with deportation to France if they refused to take the oath of allegiance to the British Crown, despite their status as a politically and commercially neutral people, both in terms of the British and the French. He petitioned the colony's court and was granted permission by the top court to carry out his threats. The decision was made easier by the fact that while most Acadians were neutral, some had already taken up arms for France. On July 28, 1755, Lawrence ordered his men to start arresting Acadians with a view to deporting them. But it took until September 5 of that year for Charles Lawrence to gather the Acadians in the St. Charles Church in Grand Pre in order to read the declaration that they must relinquish their possessions to the British Crown and that they would be deported. Unaware of what awaited them in the church, many Acadians were taken prisoner and deported to American colonies, France, and England, and many died during the long ocean voyage. The survivors roamed, looking for a new place to call home. In 1763, after the Seven Year War and the signing of the peace treaty, some Acadians returned to Nova Scotia, only to find that they no longer owned land; it had been redistributed to Protestant settlers. In all, several thousand Acadians died during deportation: of illness, drowning, misery and starvation.

The Acadians are the descendants of the first French colonists who settled in what are today the Maritime provinces, and they developed a cultural independence that is recognized to this day.

Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty signed in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, to end the hostilities between France and England after Spain's Civil War. Spain was the enemy of France and of a coalition of European countries, including England. England benefited most from the agreements, as France ceded Newfoundland, Acadia, Hudson's Bay and St. Christopher's Island in the West Indies.

The forced expulsion of one or several people from a place and their relocation to a different place.