Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hey! Wait a minute...

So I'm knee-deep in Acadians.   The records are tricky because once the English invaded and started forcibly removing them, they moved around.   A lot.

Many escaped to Québec, others ended up back to France.   Some settled elsewhere in the Saint-Lawrence River islands:  Miquelon, Prince Edward Island, the Iles-de-Madeleine, etc., and some went to other French colonies: Louisiana, and the Caribbean (Haiti, Guadeloupe, etc.).

But many ALSO went to the (now) USA:  Boston, the Carolinas, Georgia, and so on.

This doesn't make any sense to me.   If you've just been invaded by a foreign empire, why would you travel to that empire's colonies? 

But there's a simple explanation --- tt turns out that this was actually the British government's doing; at first they "relocated" Acadians to the British Colonies, to rural parts of Massachusetts, New York, and so on.  However this cunning plan didn't work out the way they wanted:  the Acadians refused to stay and just to the cities forming Francophone communes or tried to get back to Canada (which is exactly what the British did NOT want to happen).   So, the second wave of deportations were made to France instead.

From THERE, many once again moved - this time from France either back to the St. Lawrence River settlements, or south to the Caribbean and Louisiana (which I just learned came under Spanish control in 1762 - I really need to bone up on this history).  Some even went as far as the Falkland Islands! 

I've also noticed that many died shortly after leaving Acadie.   The records in Québec are rife with burial of Acadians in 1759.   But I'm also finding similar spikes in deaths in France among the repatriated Acadians.  (Some others apparently died at sea trying to get to France.)

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