A region located in North America, Acadia is not a territory that is clearly defined geographically or administratively. However, the Acadians living in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island as well as Newfoundland and Labrador have introduced a governance structure with a political, economical and social influence specifically through provincial spokesperson organizations ie the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick, the Société Saint-Thomas d'Aquin, the Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador as well as the Société nationale de l'Acadie, an organization recognized on the national and international level.
In 1603, Henri IV, King of France, grants to Pierre Dugua de Mons the right to colonize the lands in North America. From 1604, the French settlers built their fort at the mouth of the St-Croix River, which separates the current New Brunswick and Maine, on a small island named St-Croix (today Dochet Island). The following Spring, the settlers resettle at the South East of the baie Française (today Bay of Fundy) and they name this location Port-Royal, today Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

It is around 1632 that the first French families settle in Acadia. They develop friendly relations with the Mi’kmaq people, learning their fishing and hunting techniques. The Acadians settle mainly in coastal areas, on lands taken to the sea by a system of dykes called aboiteaux.

Established at the boundary between the French and British territories, the Acadians find themselves on the front line of each conflict between these two powers. The Acadians learn to survive by adopting a reflective attitude of neutrality, refusing to take up arms for either side and are designated as French Neutrals.

During the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, France cedes this part of Acadia called today Nova Scotia (minus Cape Breton Island). In 1754, the British Government, no longer accepting the previously tolerated neutrality of the Acadians, demand they swear unconditional allegiance to the British Crown, which would force the Acadians to accept to take up arms against France and to renounce to their Catholic faith.

In 1755, Colonel Charles Lawrence orders the massive deportation of the Acadians, without formal authorisation from London and despite warnings from British authorities against a drastic response. During what is known as the Deportation or the Expulsion, more than 12,000 Acadians (three quarters of Nova Scotia’s Acadian population) are deported, their homes burned, and their lands confiscated. Families are separated and the Acadians dispersed.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763, New France and Acadia are ceded to Great Britain. It is estimated that at the end of the hostilities, an Acadian population of 2,300 remains in the Maritimes. Some Acadians leave while others decide to remain and recreate a new Acadia. Just as for those Acadians who chose to return after 1764, they obtain permission to resettle in Nova Scotia with the condition to take an oath of allegiance and to disperse into small groups. Settlements on the northern coasts of New Brunswick and in Prince Edward Island are also favoured.
The Acadians are a proud people living in North America, mainly in the Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. They are the descendants of the first French settlers whom established in Acadia at the beginning of the 17th century. Acadian ancestors originate mainly from the regions of Poitou, Aunis, Saintonge and Angoumois, located in the western part of France. They are also listed coming from Bourgogne, Haute-Bretagne and neighbouring provinces like Touraine.

During the Deportation of the Acadians in 1755, considered as an ethnic cleansing, the Acadians are uprooted from their land by the British and deported to New England or the United Kingdom. After this deportation, the survivors return – sometimes several decades later – to Acadia or settled in different regions of the world, like France, the United Kingdom and even in Louisiana.

Today, there are at least 3.8 million descendants of these Acadians all around the world: 500,000 in the Atlantic Provinces, 1 million in Louisiana, 1 million in New England, 1 million in Quebec and approximately 300,000 in France.
Port-Royal designated the first settlement in Nova Scotia and also the actual town of Annapolis Royal as well as the entire river basin of the Annapolis River, formerly known as the Dauphin River.

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