The history of Acadia spans more than four centuries to the present day. Vikings frequented at least part of the coast in the 11th century, followed by Basque fishermen and other Europeans from the 13th century. Giovanni da Verrazzano walked along the coast in 1524 and used the name Acadie for the first time. Jacques Cartier took possession of Acadia on behalf of France in 1534. Acadia was colonized for the first time by a Huguenot, Pierre du Gua de Mons, first governor of Acadia, accompanied by Samuel de Champlain in 1604 and by Jean de Poutrincourt.
They established their first colony on Île Sainte-Croix, located on a river flowing from present-day Maine, from the province of New Brunswick to part of present-day Quebec. The colony of Sainte-Croix will not survive, due to the harshness of winter and the lack of fresh water. Half of the settlers died in the winter of 1605 and it was decided to relocate the group to another location. This other place, this time located near the Bay of Fundy, will be called Port-Royal. Due to lack of funds, the colonists left the area in 1607. In 1610, Jean de Poutrincourt, second governor of Acadia, with his 19-year-old son, Charles de Biencourt, Claude de Saint-Étienne de la Tour and his 14-year-old son years Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour, a Catholic priest and other French settlers surrendered to the dwelling.
In 1613, the home was attacked by English settlers from Virginia. Several French settlers are killed and others are kidnapped. The fort and the goods are destroyed. Biencourt, who was in France to collect supplies, returned to Port-Royal the following spring. He was forced to return to France with the surviving settlers. Charles de Biencourt and Charles de la Tour remained among the Mi’kmaq, engaging in the fur industry. Biencourt died in 1623.
In 1631, Charles de la Tour was appointed lieutenant general of Acadia by France and built forts at Cap Sable and Saint-Jean. Acadia was ceded to France in 1632 with the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Governor Isaac de Razilly then moved the capital to La Hève and resumed colonization by bringing in 300 people. Razilly is more interested in maritime trade than agriculture, which explains his choice of establishments. French missionaries had participated in colonization since 1613 and some wooden churches were built from 1680.
After Razilly’s death in 1636, Charles de Menou d´Aulnay de Charnizay brought the capital back to Port-Royal and started a civil war against La Tour, the two disputing the succession. D’Aulnay considered that the future of Acadia lay in agricultural production and he managed to bring in a few families before his death in 1650, making the colony more autonomous. The population of Acadia took place in particular from 1636 under the mandate of governors Razilly and Menou d’Aulnay-Charnizay who called on colonists recruited in their region of origin Touraine, but also in Anjou, Saintonge, Aunis, Ile-de-France, Burgundy or the Basque Country … but their origins remain very difficult to specify since for Acadian migrants there is little information concerning them (gaps: places of origin, names of parents) which would confirm their origins. In Touraine, the origins of Nicolas Denys born in 1603 in Tours or in Anjou, those of Guillaume Trahan and Pierre Martin from Bourgueil and Montreuil-Bellay, among others, have been found.
France and England entered the war again and Acadia was conquered by the English in 1654, before being ceded to France in 1667 by the Treaty of Breda. Acadia was conquered again by William Phips in 1690 and returned again to France in 1697 by the Treaty of Ryswick.
From 1670, the inhabitants of Port-Royal founded new villages, the main ones being Beaubassin and Grand-Pré. Acadia, renamed Nova Scotia, was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht. The latter, relaxed by a letter from Queen Anne, allows Acadians to leave Nova Scotia without conditions. At the same time, France tries to attract them to Île Royale, which replaced Plaisance as the French trade center in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as to Île Saint-Jean, which was to serve as an agricultural colony. . Most Acadians still decide to stay put, because of the difficult living conditions on these two islands. On the other hand, the English are still few in Nova Scotia and try to prevent the Acadians from leaving it, because there are no English farmers yet and they fear that the Acadian trade relations will contribute to the power of Isle Royale. In addition, the French quickly changed their strategy, assuming that the Acadians would prevent British colonization if they remained in Nova Scotia. The French built the Fortress of Louisbourg on Île Royale from 1720, which established their control over the region, at the same time when large immigration from France and Newfoundland swelled the island’s population.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the French tried unsuccessfully to retake Nova Scotia. The British took Louisbourg in 1745. A major French military expedition attempted to retake Nova Scotia in 1746, but a storm killed half the men and dispersed the boats. A land expedition still retook the Mines in 1746, but was quickly expelled by the British. In 1748, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle returned Île Saint-Jean and Île Royale to France, which the British saw as an affront. They then decided to change their strategy and put an end to the French presence, including Acadian. This is how 2,000 settlers founded Halifax in 1749. The Acadians have maintained a neutral attitude for some time and their exodus continues to the regions bordering New France. The British still tried to get them to take an oath of allegiance, and in 1761 the French declared a rebel any Acadian who refused to swear allegiance to the King of France. Between 1751 and 1754, the two powers built several forts in preparation for war.
In 1755, the governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, had Fort Beauséjour taken from the French and began the Deportation of the Acadians. Until 1763, the territories bordering Nova Scotia were annexed and the Acadians deported to New England. Many others managed to escape to Canada or Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island) or even hid among the Indians. Several colonies refused these prisoners, who were then deported to England or brought back to Nova Scotia. Île Saint-Jean was almost emptied of its population in 1758. Two-thirds were deported to France while the others took refuge in the Ristigouche River or in Quebec. Refugees from England were expatriated to France in 1763. Acadians took refuge in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, but almost all were deported again in 1778. More than half of Acadians died during this period.