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Acadians in Louisiana

[Summary]History A Short History of the Acadians and Cajuns Judy LaBorde About 400 years ago, a trickle of men and women left their hometowns in France and sailed to Canada where they settled along the eastern coast. They befriended the Indians, devised an in

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History

A Short History of the Acadians and Cajuns

Judy LaBorde

Acadians in Louisiana
About 400 years ago, a trickle of men and women left their hometowns in France and sailed to Canada where they settled along the eastern coast. They befriended the Indians, devised an ingenious way to drain the salty marshlands, and in time made their tiny settlements into prosperous farms and trading posts. At their peak, they numbered no more than 15,000.

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Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana

The book Acadian Miracle by Dudley J. LeBlanc, pgs. 311ff, discusses the possibility that some Acadians may have arrived in present-day St. James and Ascension Parishes prior to 1755; and some shortly thereafter from South Carolina and Georgia. Dr. Jacqueline K. Voohries in Some Late Eighteenth Century Louisianans, pages 421 - 422 has a Census of Acadian Farmers Living Around Fort Toulouse in 1758. This was interpreted by some to be Fort Toulouse, Alabama. Stephen A. White, noted Historian and Genealogist at the University of Moncton, New Brunswick has determined that the year 1758 in the section entitled Census of Acadian Farmers Living Around Fort Toulouse 1758 was actually about 1716; and, it was Fort Toulouse, Cape Breton. The material was inadvertently filed in the 1758 section of the microfilmed records. There is also a Mouton family legend that Salvador Mouton settled the St. James area in 1756. This legend is clearly disputed by the fact that Salvador was in prison in Halifax in 1763 and didn't arrive in Louisiana until 1765! While there were Houma Indians living in the area of St. James and Ascension around 1755, Ms. Lillian C. Bourgeois in her book Cabanocey, pgs. 8-9 states that the first persons to develop the area were Jacques Cantrelle and his son-in-law, Nicholas Verret who had plantations in the area prior to 1763. They had slaves working the land, and didn't move there until some time between October 7, 1764 and April 4, 1765. Their families moved after the April 1, 1766 census.

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Acadians

Before 1713, Acadia was a French colony pioneered mostly by settlers from the coastal provinces of Brittany, Normandy, Picardy, and Poitou—a region that suffered great hardships in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In 1628, famine and plague followed the end of a series of religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. When social tensions in coastal France ripened, more than 10,000 people left for the colony founded by Samuel Champlain in 1604 known as "La Cadie" or Acadia. The area, which included what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and part of Maine, was one of the first European colonies in North America. The Company of New France recruited colonists from coastal France as indentured servants. Fishermen, farmers, and trappers served for five years to repay the company with their labor for the transportation and materials it had provided. In the New World, colonists forged alliances with local Indians, who generally preferred the settlers from France over those from Britain because, unlike the British who took all the land they could, the coastal French in Acadia did not invade Indian hunting grounds inland.

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