Expulsion of the Acadians
The Expulsion of the Acadians (also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, The Deportation, the Acadian Expulsion, Le Grand Dérangement) was the forced removal by the British of the Acadian people from present day Canadian Maritime provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (an area also known as Acadie). The Expulsion (1755–1763) occurred during the French and Indian War. The Expulsion started by the British deporting Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies and then, after 1758, the British sent them to France. Approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported.
The British Conquest of Acadia happened in 1710. The Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713, and allowed the Acadians to keep their lands. Over the next forty-five years, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. During this period, some Acadians participated in various militia operations against the British and maintained vital supply lines to the French fortress of Louisbourg and Fort Beausejour. The Acadian Expulsion was part of the military campaign that the New Englanders used to defeat New France. The British sought to eliminate any future military threat posed by the Acadians and to permanently cut the supply lines they provided to Louisbourg by deporting all Acadians from the area.
Without making distinctions between the Acadians who had been peaceful and those who rebelled against the occupation, the British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered them all expelled. In the first wave of the expulsion, Acadians were deported to other British colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to England and France (from where some Acadians migrated to Louisiana). Many Acadians fled initially to Francophone colonies such as Canada, the unsettled Northern part of Acadia, Isle Saint-Jean and Isle Royale. During the second wave of the expulsion, many of these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported. The deportation led to the deaths of thousands of Acadians primarily by disease and drowning when ships were lost. One historian compared this event to a contemporary ethnic cleansing, while other historians have suggested the event is comparable with other deportations in history.
The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow memorialized the historic event in his poem about the plight of the fictional character Evangeline; it was widely popular and made the expulsion well known. Acadians who lived during the deportation include Noel Doiron and Joseph Broussard ("Beausoleil"), who became icons.
Charles Lawrence (British Army officer)
Brigadier-General Charles Lawrence (December 14, 1709 – October 19, 1760) was a British military officer who, as lieutenant governor and subsequently governor of Nova Scotia. He is perhaps best known for overseeing the Expulsion of the Acadians and settling the New England Planters in Nova Scotia. He was born in Plymouth, England and died in Halifax, Nova Scotia. According historian Elizabeth Griffith, Lawrence was seen as a "competent", "efficient" officer with a "service record that had earned him fairly rapid promotion, a person of considerable administrative talent who was trusted by both Cornwallis and Hopson." He is the namesake of Fort Lawrence, Nova Scotia and Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.