Deportation of the Acadians
In 1755, 6,000 to 8,000 Acadians were deported to the American colonies along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Some made their way to Louisiana to live with the French settlers there. Some of the American colonies refused to take the Acadians, so they (at least the ones who survived) were shipped to England. Some of those who escaped deportation hid out in the woods of Acadia, only to be later captured and deported. Many moved westward to areas still held by the French ... from Ile St. Jean to Quebec. In 1758, Louisbourg (the last French stronghold on the Atlantic coast) fell. Thousands of Acadians at Louisbourg and Ile St. Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island) were deported to northern France. Again, many Acadians did not survive the trip. In fact, two entire ships sank, drowning hundreds of Acadians.
Conditions in the colonies and in England were miserable. Hundreds upon hundreds died from diseases and other conditions. Some were taken as indentured servants. They were confined to certain areas and not allowed to travel. Finding work was extremely difficult. The Protestant, English-speaking colonists did not welcome the Catholic, French-speaking Acadians. With the conclusion of hostilities in 1763, the Acadians were free to return home. But those who did found they could not settle together in large groups and their land was now occupied by people brought over by the English. They gradually settled along the various remote coastal regions of the province.
In 1765, Acadians in the colonies started making their way to Louisiana. From 1765 to 1785, it is estimated that about 1,500 Acadians settled in Louisiana, primarily in the Attakapas and Acadian Coast regions.
Many Acadians settled in French Canada, just west of Acadia (now Nova Scotia), and were assimilated into the French-Canadian culture. Things were different for those who had been sent to France. Even though they were "French", they didn't really feel at home in France. Those Acadians in England, who were 'held' in four port towns, were shipped to France in 1763. Several attempts were made to "settle" the Acadians, but none were successful.
When the Acadians in France found out about their relatives in Louisiana and a possible new "homeland", they asked to join them. It took a number of years to work out the details. In 1785, with the help of Spain, about 1600 Acadians traveled on 7 ships from France to Louisiana to join their friends and family. Over the 20 year time span, over 3,000 Acadians arrived to make South Louisiana their 'New Acadia'. Even though they have intermarried with other nationalities, there are still a large number of people who consider themselves Acadian (or of Acadian heritage). The largest number of these people can be found in Canada and in Louisiana.
Canada has Acadians around its country today. In the former land of Acadia (now Nova Scotia), there are 40,000 Acadian descendants. There are several areas of 'concentration', such as Clare in Digby County, Argyle in Yarmouth County, Guysborough, Richmond, Inverness Counties and the urban areas of Halifax - Dartmouth and Sydney. There are also Acadian areas of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. According to the 1990 census, 597,729 people in the United States claimed that their first ancestry was Acadian-Cajun and 70,542 claimed it as their second. The Louisiana Acadian descendants, which made up 2/3 of this number, are known as Cajuns.