Cajun Project:
A Brief History of Acadia

Katie Roger

At the beginning of the 17th century, when France was under the rule of Henri IV,
French explorers began to look for routes to the Far East. Instead, Jacques Cartier landed
in North America, and the French exploration of Canada began. Explorer Samuel
Champlain soon attempted to colonize Acadia, the area that is now Nova Scotia and
Maine. In 1604, seventy-nine men came over from France to start the first settlement on
St. Croix Island. It failed over the winter due to the lack of food and the spreading of
disease, though their next settlement, Port Royal, was successful.

The first woman came to Acadia in 1611, and women continued to come to the
colony in the following years, many of them "King's Daughters." These "daughters"
were actually common women, orphans, or prostitutes who had their dowry paid by the
Louis XIV in exchange for colonizing the New World.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries there were many squabbles between the
French the British over control of Acadia. It changed hands several times until 1713,
when Great Britain permanently gained Acadia through the Treaty of Utrecht. The
English were afraid that the Acadians, or descendents of the first French settlers in
Canada, would join hands with the French or the Native Americans to overthrow the
British control of the area. The British decided to ease their fears by exiling 6,000
Acadians to the American colonies in 1755 and 3,000 to France in 1758. The Acadian
people coped by forming two new colonies where they could keep their identity. They
settled in what is now Louisiana and New Brunswick, and their descendents still live
these areas today.

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