||The Expulsion of the Acadians
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 3 Claiming the Wilderness
In the early 18th century, peace reigned in New France. This encouraged economic development in all of France's territories across the continent. Fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland and the fur trade were in full bloom. The population established along the shores of the St. Lawrence grew quickly after the hard years of war and disease. In 1700, New France had 15,000 inhabitants; in 1750, it boasted 50,000.
In the cities of New France, a new society was taking shape. Aristocrats, military men, artisans and farmers populated the country. Many inhabitants were born in Canada and distanced themselves from French traditions. They were increasingly "Canadian", and formed a distinct society in their homeland.
France ceded Acadia to Britain in 1713, when the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht ended the Spanish War of Succession. The Acadians became British subjects and in 1730 agreed to take an oath of allegiance to the king of England that nevertheless preserved their military neutrality. In 1755, Charles Lawrence, governor of the colony, demanded they take a new oath cancelling the neutrality clause. The Acadians refused. Lawrence decided to deport them, confiscating their land and livestock. In the summer and fall of 1755, he carried out what was then called "le grand dérangement" - the deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia. Nearly 10,000 people were exiled.
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