Children listening to a story

An unequalled means of transmitting values and teaching about life, stories and legends were greatly appreciated.

Village Historique Acadien

[scene at the VHA]
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


Originating in 17th century France, Acadians nowadays reside in Canada’s Maritime provinces and account for 30% of the population of New Brunswick. The first French-speaking people to settle in the country, we know that their history, which began at St. Croix Island in 1604, has been marked chiefly by the Deportation (1755 to 1763) and, of course, by their customs. These particular customs of the Acadian way of life enabled them to preserve important characteristics of the cultures of their ancestors throughout the centuries, inhabitants of such places as Poitou and Brittany, etc.

After being driven from their ancestral lands in present-day Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, Acadians, both those who escaped the expulsion and those who came back later from their exile, set out to find a new place to stay after the Royal Proclamation of 1764. It was on the shore of the Bay of Chaleur that many of them established their new homes. The settling of this new colony proved to be a harsh time for those people who had to begin anew, but even though the Acadia of old had disappeared in the fall of 1755, it would soon rise again – from the sea.

Originating in 17th century France, Acadians nowadays reside in Canada’s Maritime provinces and account for 30% of the population of New Brunswick. The first French-speaking people to settle in the country, we know that their history, which began at St. Croix Island in 1604, has been marked chiefly by the Deportation (1755 to 1763) and, of course, by their customs. These particular customs of the Acadian way of life enabled them to preserve important characteristics of the cultures of their ancestors throughout the centuries, inhabitants of such places as Poitou and Brittany, etc.

After being driven from their ancestral lands in present-day Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, Acadians, both those who escaped the expulsion and those who came back later from their exile, set out to find a new place to stay after the Royal Proclamation of 1764. It was on the shore of the Bay of Chaleur that many of them established their new homes. The settling of this new colony proved to be a harsh time for those people who had to begin anew, but even though the Acadia of old had disappeared in the fall of 1755, it would soon rise again – from the sea.

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

[scene at the VHA]

Unlike the chapel, the school is not always present among most Acadian villages.

Village Historique Acadien

[scene at the VHA]
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


It is known that the search for a seaway through to Asia led to the exploration of the ‘new continent’ discovered by Columbus in 1492. It was the vast amount of riches gathered by the Portuguese and the Spanish in South America which prompted France and England to explore the more northerly territories. No precious metals were found, but the abundance of codfish was noted, codfish being an important staple in the diet of Europeans. As early as the late 16th century, fishermen working the waters of the North Atlantic also begin to take back furs obtained from the native populations. It was the struggle among established powers for control of these two resources which guided the evolution of the colonization of North America.

The origin of the term ‘Acadia’ may be traced to the voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, who explored, on behalf of the King of France, a sizeable part of the Atlantic coast from the Saint Lawrence River to the Florida Peninsula, between 1524 and 1528. During his voyage, he gave the name of ‘Arcadia’ to the territory lying between the coasts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, because it reminded him of that fabled Read More

It is known that the search for a seaway through to Asia led to the exploration of the ‘new continent’ discovered by Columbus in 1492. It was the vast amount of riches gathered by the Portuguese and the Spanish in South America which prompted France and England to explore the more northerly territories. No precious metals were found, but the abundance of codfish was noted, codfish being an important staple in the diet of Europeans. As early as the late 16th century, fishermen working the waters of the North Atlantic also begin to take back furs obtained from the native populations. It was the struggle among established powers for control of these two resources which guided the evolution of the colonization of North America.

The origin of the term ‘Acadia’ may be traced to the voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, who explored, on behalf of the King of France, a sizeable part of the Atlantic coast from the Saint Lawrence River to the Florida Peninsula, between 1524 and 1528. During his voyage, he gave the name of ‘Arcadia’ to the territory lying between the coasts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, because it reminded him of that fabled land of ancient Greece. It seems that the frequency of the word ‘Cadie’ (or ‘Quoddy’) in the vocabulary of the native Mi’Kmaq tribes of the Maritime provinces, a word which translates as ‘fertile ground’, subsequently brought about a displacement of the name. In the 17th century, most maps or documents referring to this area use one or the other of its variants (Larcadie, La Cadie, or l’Accady).

However, it was only in the early 17th century that the settlement of Acadia was undertaken. In 1603, Pierre Du Gua, sieur de Monts, obtained the appointment of Lieutenant Governor of the French territories in the New World from King Henri IV. In June 1604, under the recommendation of Samuel de Champlain, who accompanied him as a geographer, he decided to establish his colony on St.Croix Island, south of the territories previously explored by Jacques Cartier in the 16th century. However, the harshness of the winter revealed the ill-advised nature of this choice and in 1605, De Monts moved his settlers to Port Royal. It was from this site that Acadie flourished.


© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

[scene at the VHA]

In any period, children have been fascinated by animals and enjoyed feeding them.

Village Historique Acadien
2002
[scene at the VHA]
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


[scene at the VHA]

In the foreground: shuttle. Numerous Acadian families made and produced themselves their pieces of material.

Village Historique Acadien
2002
[scene at the VHA]
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • gather enough information to describe the origin of Acadia;
  • organize in a timeline the major event of Acadia history (first settlers, Deportation …).

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