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Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada


War and the Great Upheaval

In the 1740s the French launched several separate attacks to regain Acadia. The first attack, in 1744, was led by Captain François du Pont Duvivier of Louisbourg. For about a month, French soldiers and First Nations warriors attacked the fort at night. The fort’s commandant, Paul Mascarene, held the enemy at a distance until reinforcements arrived from New England and the attackers retreated. The French also launched expeditions in 1745 and 1746. Officials at the fort continued to govern the Mi’kmaq, Acadian and small British population of Nova Scotia until 1749 when Halifax was founded as the new capital.

British Soldiers defending the fort, 1744 British Soldiers defending the fort, 1744
© Parks Canada/H. MacDonald

British-French warfare broke out yet again in the 1750s, this time with tragic consequences for the Acadians. In 1755, Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to the British King, insisting on their neutrality. Twice in July, Acadian representatives refused. Their resistance led to a resolution by the Nova Scotia Council to deport them from the colony. Military officials in New England would facilitate the process. On August 11, Governor Charles Lawrence decreed that the Acadians were to be forced on to ships and dispersed among the British colonies south of Nova Scotia. The Great Upheaval of the Acadian people began in the upper Bay of Fundy and dragged on through the autumn. Annapolis Royal was a port of call for ships involved in the deportation.

For a short span of time, the Acadians living along the Annapolis basin and river remained at liberty. The garrison at Annapolis Royal had co-existed with the nearby Acadian villages for years. Acadians had worked on repairs to the fort at Annapolis and Acadian deputies had represented their communities in dealings with the governing council. Nevertheless, in December 1755, as had happened with other Acadians in the Chignecto, Grand-Pré and Pigiguit areas a few months earlier, British officials oversaw the round-up of Acadians from the greater Annapolis area. Those people, numbering 1,664, were transported to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and South Carolina. The homes and outbuildings they left behind were destroyed. Some 232 Acadians, however, the ones aboard the Pembroke destined for North Carolina, were able to take over the vessel and sail it to the Saint John River. All 232 escaped. Most made their way to Quebec, but some returned to the Annapolis area to live in the shadows. All told, the Acadian Deportation lasted from 1755 to 1762 and resulted in the forcible removal of about 10,000 Acadians. Another 4,000 escaped before they were apprehended, fleeing to what are now New Brunswick, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. The first Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, brought an end to the war between Great Britain and France. France transfered control of all French lands in North America to Britain, except for the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon which provided a base for the French fishery. The Treaty allowed the Acadians to live openly and resettle, but by then, thousands of settlers from New England had taken over their fertile farmlands. Despite their losses, as well as the poverty and discrimination they faced, Acadian communities persisted and began a long process of rebuilding their unique culture. Today their descendants comprise more than 300,000 of the population of the Atlantic provinces.