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Acadia (French: Acadie) was a colony of New France in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine to the Kennebec River. During much of the 17th and early 18th centuries, Norridgewock on the Kennebec River and Castine at the end of the Penobscot River were the southernmost settlements of Acadia. The actual specification by the French government for the territory refers to lands bordering the Atlantic coast, roughly between the 40th and 46th parallels. Later, the territory was divided into the British colonies that became Canadian provinces and American states. The population of Acadia included members of the Wabanaki Confederacy and descendants of emigrants from France (i.e., Acadians). The two communities intermarried, which resulted in a significant portion of the population of Acadia being Métis.

The first capital of Acadia, established in 1605, was Port-Royal. A British force from Virginia attacked and burned down the town in 1613, but it was later rebuilt nearby, where it remained the longest serving capital of French Acadia until the British Siege of Port Royal in 1710. Over seventy-four years there were six colonial wars, in which English and later British interests tried to capture Acadia starting with King William's War in 1689. During these wars, along with some French troops from Quebec, some Acadians, the Wabanaki Confederacy, and French priests continuously raided New England settlements along the border in Maine. While Acadia was officially conquered in 1710 during Queen Anne's War, present-day New Brunswick and much of Maine remained contested territory. Present-day Prince Edward Island (Île Saint-Jean) and Cape Breton (Île Royale) as agreed under Article XIII of the Treaty of Utrecht remained under French control. By militarily defeating the Wabanaki Confederacy and the French priests, present-day Maine fell during Father Rale's War. During King George's War, France and New France made significant attempts to regain mainland Nova Scotia. After Father Le Loutre's War, present-day New Brunswick fell to the British. Finally, during the French and Indian War (the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War), both Île Royale and Île Saint-Jean fell to the British in 1758.

Today, the term Acadia is used to refer to regions of North America that are historically associated with the lands, descendants, or culture of the former French region. It particularly refers to regions of The Maritimes with French roots, language, and culture, primarily in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island, as well as in Maine. It can also be used to refer to the Acadian diaspora in southern Louisiana, a region also referred to as Acadiana. In the abstract, Acadia refers to the existence of a French culture in any of these regions.

People living in Acadia, and sometimes former residents and their descendants, are called Acadians, also later known as Cajuns, the English (mis)pronunciation of 'Cadiens, after resettlement in Louisiana.

Acadie etoile.png More about... Acadia and the Acadian people

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The 1710 Siege of Port Royal resulted in the British Conquest of Acadia by capturing the capital from the French. Nova Scotia was the first French territory that the British Empire seized and held in the New World. Upon the victory, the Anglo-Americans occupied the fort in the capital with all the pomp and ceremony of having captured one of the great fortresses of Europe.

This siege was the third British attempt during Queen Anne's War to capture the Acadian capital, Port Royal. The Siege had profound implications for the history of northeastern North America in the first half of the eighteenth century. The Conquest was a key element in the framing of the North American issues in French-British treaty negotiations of 1711-1713. The conquest of Acadia also created a new colonial society - British Nova Scotia. The Conquest also led to significant questions concerning the fate of both the Acadians and the Mi'kmaq who continued to occupy Acadia. Read more...

Selected biography

Antonine Maillet, PC, CC, OQ, ONB, FRSC (born May 10, 1929) is an Acadian novelist, playwright, and scholar. She was born in Bouctouche, New Brunswick and lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Following high school, she received her BA from the Université de Moncton, followed by an MA from the same institution. She then received her PhD in literature in 1970 from the Université Laval. She taught literature and folklore at Laval, then in Montreal between 1971 to 1976. She later worked for Radio-Canada in Moncton as a script writer and host.

In 1976 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1981. Maillet was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal in 1980. In 1985 she was made an Officier des Arts et des Lettres de France and in 2005 she was inducted into the Order of New Brunswick. She is a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

In 1979 her work Pélagie-la-Charrette won the Prix Goncourt, giving her the distinction of being the only non-European to be awarded the prize until that date. Read more...

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Did you know?

  • The area that became known as Acadia was inhabited for thousands of years by Aboriginal tribes, predominantly the Mi'kmaq people.
  • August 15 is National Acadian Day. Choosing this day was one of the highlights of the first National Acadian Convention in Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881.
  • Both the Acadian motto and the insignia were adopted in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island in 1884, during the second Acadian Convention
  • The Latin song Ave Maris Stella was chosen as the Acadian national anthem in 1884 as well as the The Acadian flag



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