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Several myths surround the expulsion and wanderings of the Acadians. By examining these myths, we can separate fact from fiction and develop a better understanding of the Acadians' tragic ordeal.
MYTH: The British expelled the entire Acadian population in 1755.
REALITY: The British expelled, at most, about half the Acadian population in 1755. The remainder avoided capture and escaped to regions controlled by the French or their Indian allies, such as mainland Canada. Some would be captured years later and then deported. [Click here for more info] Like many who were captured, thousands who escaped deportation died of disease, starvation, and exposure brought about by the expulsion.
MYTH: Only troops and ships from England were involved in the expulsion.
REALITY: Although in service to the British Crown, many of the officials who planned the expulsion and most of the foot soldiers who carried it out, hailed from colonial New England... present-day Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Furthermore, most of the ships used to carry away the Acadian exiles [Click here for more info] came from New England and had been hired by a Boston trading firm.
MYTH: All the Acadian exiles eventually made their way to Louisiana.
REALITY: Fewer than half the Acadians exiles settled in Louisiana. Most either died before reaching Louisiana or landed elsewhere... France, Haiti and the British colonies of North America.
MYTH: The Acadians who went to Louisiana traveled there directly from Nova Scotia.
REALITY: All of the Acadians who settled in Louisiana first landed somewhere else. For example, those who went to Louisiana in 1765 with Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, first landed in Haiti and only later decided to settle in Louisiana. Similarly, others who came to Louisiana, traveled first to the British colonies of North America, to France, or to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, near Newfoundland.
MYTH: Some Acadians traveled overland to Louisiana.
REALITY: All known historical evidence, indicates the Acadian exiles went to Louisiana solely by ship. Claims to the contrary stem largely from the work of Saint Martinville writer Judge Felix Voorhies, whose 1907 fictional account of the expulsion, Acadian Reminiscences, described a "perilous and weary journey overland."
I am grateful to Shane K. Bernard for providing me authorization to reproduce the above, from his excellent publication
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