Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Unofficial Commencement of the French-Indian Wars and The Acadian Exile - Le Grand Dérangement "Great Expulsion"


The French and Indian conflicts with Great Britain were the result of a decades long territorial dispute over the Ohio Valley region and the Canadian areas of empirical claims.


As France and Britain historically struggled for power in the Americas, l'Acadie became caught in the stuggles for the reigns of power between the 2 empires.


The French and Indian conflicts with Great Britain were the result of a decades long territorial dispute over the Ohio Valley region and the Canadian areas of empirical claims. Ohio was important for a couple of reasons: firstly, it was a productive area for the fur trade; and secondly, the Thirteen Colonies (especially Virginia) wanted to expand westward and the French were in the way. The Americans were particularly unhappy that the French constructed Fort Duquesne in the area of contention. In 1753, the governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie, sent an officer named George Washington to deliver a message ordering the French to leave. The French literally laughed in Washington's face.

"French and Indian" was a term designated by the British as the "opposition forces" that they confronted for empire expansion.Unlike the British, the French maintained relatively great relations with the Native Indian Tribes of Canada, including the Mi'kmaq Indians for certain reasons:

  • The Thirteen Colonies often fought with one another and were by no means united.

  • Indigenous peoples were suspicious of the Americans because they wanted to both trade with Indians and settle Indian lands.

  • Indian peoples found the French more tolerable because Canadiens stressed trade as opposed to settlement.

  • Consequently, the French were in a better position to construct a network of forts in North America's interior that effectively blocked the English-Americans.

  • "Mido-chlorian Theory", i.e. The force was stronger with the French because they were born with more mido-chlorians than the English.






In Acadia (Nova Scotia) in late August and early September, 1755, the Neutral French Inhabitants of Acadia were immediately declared "non-citizens" and their land/livestock were confiscated. There was some confusion and anger among the French. However, the British were prepared. Lt. Col. John Winslow rounded up and imprisoned 2,000 Acadians. To escape expulsion some Acadians fled into the forests where they were hunted down by British troops. Many French managed to avoid capture and made it to Quebec. Nevertheless, by the end of the first year alone nearly 7,000 French had been successfully exiled to prison and concentration camps in the Thirteen Colonies, Englad and France.

Although many Acadians were able to find rfuge in Louisiana, the majority of Acadians migrated to Louisiana betweene the years, 1764 and 1770 with the last great migration being implemented by the Spanish Transport Ships of 1785 which transported Acadians who had been relocated to areas in and around Poitou France during the Great Expulsion years occurring between 1755 - 1762.

A doctor by the name of John Thomas, serving under Lt. Col. John Winslow, kept a detailed journal of the events in Acadia: “September 2nd. Pleasant day. Major Frye sent Lieutenant John Indocott’s detachment to the shore, with orders to burn the village at a place called Peteojack. September 18. Very strong gusts of wind, with rain and snow. Major Prible returned from an expedition with his men, who had burned 200 houses and barns. November 19th. Cold. We rounded up 230 head of cattle, 40 sows, 20 sheep and 20 horses and we came back. We have started moving the inhabitants out. The women were very distressed, carrying their newborns in their arms; others brought along in carts their infirm parents and their personal effects. In short, it was a scene in which confusion was mixed with despair and desolation.

The majority of Acadians were deported to New England, where they were not welcome: “The French neutrals arouse the general discontentment of the population, because they are papist zealots, lazy and of a quarrelsome mind,” declared the governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie, who probably never met a French person in his life. He continued, “We have very few Catholics here, which makes the population very anxious for its religious principles and makes it fear that the French shall corrupt our Negroes."



The ships transporting the Acadians were overcrowded as the French were squished into holds to the point of suffocation. These transports were little more than prison ships. Some of the Acadians ended up in England and France, some in the Caribbean (Antilles), a scattered few in the English Colonies, and a number of them settled in Louisiana.

In 1758, the English captured Louisbourg and a final series of deportations began. The most infamous of all the persecuting British officers was Robert Monckton. Those French who resisted deportation (and weren't executed outright) were sent on an all expenses paid vacation to England where they labored for years in concentration camps. After their stay in England was over, the French were sent to France where they felt and were treated like foreigners.

When the expulsion finally ended in 1762, over 10,000 people had been removed; and of those 3,000 had died due to shipwrecks and disease. In 1764, the deportations officially came to an end and the ban on Acadians was lifted. The ban was lifted only because New France had been conquered and was no longer a threat. Approximately 3,000 people returned to Nova Scotia to start over again. However, many of the French returned only to find their farms occupied by English settlers. Consequently, the majority of these people migrated north-west to found settlements in present day New Brunswick.

Come and visit our website, this post is also posted there: http://www.louisianeacadien.com/fiwar.html

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