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The origin of Acadie

Map: National Archives of Canada
The area that became known as Acadia was inhabited for thousands of years by Native American tribes, predominantly the Mi' kmaq. There were 3,000 here when the French first arrived. There is some ambiguity about where the name Acadie originated. The earliest known written form is credited to the Italian explorer Giavanni de Verazzano in 1524. While exploring the Atlantic coast of North America, he apparently was so impressed by the beauty of the trees of the Chesapeake Bay that he gave it the name Arcadia since it evoked images of ancient Greece. Acadia without the "r" - came to designate the present area of Canada's Maritime provinces. According to linguists, the word "Cadie" ("Lacadie" or "Acadie") may have derived from "Quoddy" - a word used by the natives to designate a fertile area like Passamaquoddy, Shubenacadie and Tracadie. It could also derive from the Mi' kmaq word "Algatig" meaning camp.


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Interactive Atlas
View a series of interactive maps dating back to 1556.

Acadian Family Names
Learn more about traditional Acadian Family names.
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Acadia and Archaeology
Only a small part of Acadia�s archaeological story has been studied closely.

Acadie 2004