History

 

 

 

Le Grand Drangement

Citizens of Grand Pre (Great Meadow ), Nova Scotia forced to leave in 1755 as the English burn their town .

 

The Acadians were evicted from Acadia (which has since been resettled and consists of parts of what is now known as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada) in the period 1755 - 1763; this has become known as the Great Upheaval or Le Grand Drangement. French exiles are sent to many cities in America, many perish by disease or are sold into slavery .At the time there was a war in what is now Canada between France and Great Britain over the colony of New France. The first documented arrival of Cajun refugees in Louisiana was in 1754 .This war is known in the United States as the French and Indian War, though it was only one theater of the Seven Years' War.

 

 

 

The migration from Canada was spurred by the Treaty of Paris (1763) which ended the war. The treaty terms provided 18 months for unrestrained emigration from Canada. Only after many of the Cajuns had moved to Louisiana did they discover France had secretly ceded Louisiana to Spain in the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762). The formal announcement of the transfer was made in December 1764. The Cajuns took part in the Rebellion of 1768 in an attempt to prevent the transfer. The Spanish formally asserted control in 1769.

 

Bernardo de G�lvez

 

The Acadians were scattered throughout the eastern seaboard. Families were split and put on ships with different destinations. Many ended up in what was then French-colonized Louisiana, reaching as far north as Dakota territory. France had ceded the colony to Spain in 1762, prior to their defeat by Britain, and two years before the first Acadians began settling in Louisiana. The interim French officials provided land and supplies. The Spanish governor, Bernardo de G�lvez, later proved to be hospitable, permitting the Acadians to continue to speak their language, practice Roman Catholicism�which was also the official religion of Spain�and otherwise pursue their livelihoods with minimal interference. Some families and individuals did travel north through the Louisiana territory to set up homes as far north as Wisconsin.

 

Cajuns fought in the American Revolution. On May 8, 1779, Spain authorizes Galvez to harass English colonial holdings and help the American revolutionaries .Although they fought for Spanish General Galvez, their contribution to the winning of the war has been recognized."On August 27, 1779, Galvez leaves New Orleans with an army of Spanish regulars and the Louisiana militia made up of 600 Cajun volunteers and captures the British strongholds of Fort Bute at Bayou Manchac, across from the Acadian settlement at St. Gabriel. And on September 21, they attack and capture Baton Rouge. On March 14, 1780 Mobile surrenders to Galvez and his Cajuns .

 

A review of the list of members shows many common Cajun names among soldiers who participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge and the Battle for West Florida. The Galvez Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in memory of those soldiers.Their fight against the British was partially in response to their treatment by the British in evicting them from Acadia.

 

By 1790, there are over 4,000 Cajun refugees in Louisiana . A slave rebellion on the French Island of Santo Domingo brings many Creole planters and their slaves to join the Cajuns .

 

In 1805, the first Louisiana American constitution is written in French .

 

In 1809, 6,000 refugees fleeing strife in the West Indies arrive in new Orleans .

 

1812, Louisiana joins the United States .In the last battle of the War of 1812 in 1815, Andrew Jackson wins the battle of New Orleans with large numbers of Cajun volunteers. Most notable are Jean  LaFitte's gunners .

 

The Cajuns who settled in southern Louisiana originally did so in the area just west of what is now New Orleans, mainly along the Mississippi River. Later, they were moved by the Spanish colonial government to areas west and southwest of New Orleans, in a region later named Acadiana, where they shared the swamps and prairies with the Attakapa and Chitimacha Native American tribes.

 

1847, Evangeline is published by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow .

 

1862, the Confederate government moves the state capital to the Cajun prairie town of Opelousas .

 

Mostly secluded until the early 1900s, Cajuns today are largely assimilated into the mainstream society and culture. Some Cajuns live in communities outside of Louisiana. Also, some people identify themselves as Cajun culturally despite lacking Acadian ancestry

 

In 1916 the Louisiana Board of education implemented a ban forbidding students from speaking French at school. In WW1 many Cajuns who served in France found their French skills useful and sparked a renewed interest in Cajun life . In 1955, the bicentennial of the Acadian expulsion from Nova Scotia brought about celebrations of Cajun life .

 

 

A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland 

Drawing on original primary research, John Mack Faragher tells the full story of this expulsion in vivid, gripping prose. Following specific Acadian families through the anguish of their removal, he brings to light a tragic chapter in the settlement of America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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