Under both the French and the British, the residents of Les Mines exhibited a strong spirit of independence, made possible in part because of the distance separating them from the authorities at Port-Royal/Annapolis Royal.

The area of Les Mines was not immune to the struggle between Great Britain and France for supremacy in this part of North America. During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), successive French expeditions used Les Mines as a camping place on their way to attack Annapolis Royal.

In 1747, Grand-Pré became the scene of battle, as a French-Amerindian force from Québec attacked British and New England troops who were occupying the Acadian village before their planned attack on the French at Beaubassin. This event is commemorated by a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque located a few hundred metres south of the national historic site. It is also dramatized in the exhibit hall within the Visitor Reception and Interpretation Centre.