settlement n what is now the United States was St. Augustine
The oldest settlement
in all the territory north of the 30th parallel o latitude
was that of Port Royal, now called Annapolis, which was settled
in 1605 by Poutrincourt. Poutrincourt brought with him as
his Apothecary Louis Hebert, whose father was the apothecary
of Catherine de Medici.
This Louis Herbert was the progenitor
of the thousands of Hebert's living in Canada and United States
today. Soon other colonists were brought over from France.
They were mostly peasants from Normandy and from Tourmaline.
In the next 30 years several hundred additional families came
to Acadie. The descendants of these few families in little
more that 100 years numbered 10,000. The land was rich and
fertile and they became prosperous and well-to-do.
had obtained possession of Nova Scotia by the treaty of Utrecht
At various times
her times her governors had attempted to force the French
Acadians to take the oath of loyalty to England. The Acadians
not only spoke a different language but they were Catholic
in religion. Many would not take the oath and claimed themselves
"neutrals" -prisoners of war, so to speak.
were later termed "French Neutrals" by the English
in their correspondence. Many Acadians, however, did take
the unconditional oath. The governor during this time was
Perregrin Hopson, absent from Nova Scotia de to illness and
residing in England. Although not officially named governor
of Nova Scotia until December 1755, Charles Lawrence appears
to have been the catalyst requiring the Acadians to swear
allegiance to England.
Correspondence to another to another
English official, Monckton, shows that Lawrence planned to
deport the Acadians regardless of their decision to either
take the oath or ignore it. With reasons only tantamount to
a witch hunt, an order was decreed by Judge Jonathan Belcher,
in conjunction with Lawrence, and the deportation of all Acadians
in September 1755, the men were herded in their village churches,
arrested, and loaded on board ships waiting in the offing.
In this process some of the families were separated
. The soldiers burned the houses, took away their livestock,
destroyed the orchards, and lay waste the crops.
Deportations, mass killings, and displacement have been practiced
throughout recorded history and, unfortunately, continue to
deportation of the Acadians and their exile by force has been
the subject of song and story. The
tale of Evangeline by Longfellow moves us still.
Louvriere has written a famous book in French termed The Tragedy
of a People, which won him the DeGoncourt prize for French
composition and for excellent in literary expression.
In it he tells the story of the expulsion of the Acadians.
There are other books on the subject.
Acadians were deported in the fall of 1755. These Acadian
families were placed on ships and sent to various English
colonies up and down the Atlantic Coast- Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston.
Some were landed at various ports in the Caribbean. Most of
these deportees found their way back to Canada in a few years,
while some were lost at sea, and some died from malnutrition
However, no Acadians arrived
in Louisiana until April 4, 1764. On this date D'Abbadie,
the acting governor of the colony, noted in his diary that
20 Acadians had arrived from New York City. There were four
families but they had no money as they had paid all of it
for their passage down to New Orleans.
(On April 6 D'Abbadie
wrote his superior officers in France about the Acadians-
for this reason the difference of two days in the date of
the arrival of the Acadians has not been understood by some
After this there continued to
arrive in Louisiana from various parts of the country and
the Caribbean Islands small groups of Acadians. One of the
largest contingents came from Baltimore in 1769.
In 1785 about
2,000 Acadians came from France, where they had lived for
a generation. There is known as the "grand migration."
This group had gone to England from New England and then removed
to St. Malo, France, where they were supported by the French
Finally in 1784 arrangements were made with the
Spanish government to have them transported to Louisiana.
Most of these settled along Bayou Teche or in the Attakapas
country. The name of these immigrants and information about
them is contained in a book published by the Louisiana State
From records available, it is
probable that no more than 1,000 Acadians had arrived in Louisiana
previous to 1784. The total number of Acadians who came here
then could not have been more than 3,500. Today their descendents
number from 200,000 to 300,000.
claim that a few Acadians settled in St. James and other parishes
in 1756, reaching here overland from Georgia.
This is improbable and would have been almost impossible.
In the first lace, it was the time of the French and Indian
War. This lasted for seven years. Beginning in 1756, it did
not end until 1763. During this time the English at war with
the French would not have permitted ships to sail down the
coast bringing these French Acadian exiles to Louisiana.
migrants could not have come overland because not only was
the war on and Indians on the warpath, but travel overland
was practically impossible in those days. The exiles and their
families would have had to traverse dense forests through
which at that time there were no routes or trails from the
Eastern seaboard to the Ohio or Mississippi rivers.
improbabilities there are no records to prove that any of
these people arrived in Louisiana before 1764. There are two sources of records - first, the Catholic Church,
and second, the Spanish government, which governed the province
of Louisiana at that time. The Acadians were a very religious
people and they were careful to record their marriages, baptisms,
For instance, in St. James Parish, the first settlers
would wait until a priest visited the area when several couples
would get married at the same time and children of earlier
marriages would be baptized. The Church has no records in
any its churches of sacraments administered to any Acadians
were industrious, kindly, and thrifty people. After arriving
in Louisiana they worked hard and it wasn't long before they
had gotten back the wealth they had lost by their forced migration. They did so well along
the Mississippi River in St. James and Ascension parishes
that that section of the country was known as the German Coast
in the early part of the 19th century.