Sunday, July 20th, 2008
The Acadians were the first French people to establish a permanent settlement in North America at the beginning of the 17th c. They happily went about their business, staying neutral even as France and Britain duked it out all over them until 1754 when the British decided to up the ante and demand the Acadians take an oath of allegiance and fight for them.
Not wanting to kill their family members still living under French rule and having a religious problem swearing an oath to the British king anyway, the 10,000+ Acadians in British territory in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island refused and were expelled, their villages burned to the ground.
Now a Qebec archaeologist thinks he may have found La Petite-Rochelle, the last village British Commodore John Byron burned down after the ethnic cleansing of the Acadians.
“We’re pretty confident that we’ve located the village that the Acadians had fled to, to get away from the deportation,” said Michel Goudreau, vice-president of Quebec-based La Société Historique Machault, the organization that sponsored the survey.
“These are the people who did get away, and they’re why we still have an Acadian population in northern New Brunswick.”
Located in Quebec, just across the Restigouche River from Campbellton, N.B., La Petite-Rochelle was a community of about 200 houses, founded after the expulsion of the Acadians, an event that has since become known to history as the Great Upheaval.
The article is a bit unclear on the timeline. I guess Commodore Byron just kept burning even after the expelling was over?
Fun fact: John Byron was the grandpappy of George Gordon, Lord Byron, the famous Romantic poet.