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The Acadian Migrations

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Acadia--Boundaries; Historical geography


The cultural diversity of people and shifting national boundaries have often led to political instability by the creation of enclaves and exclaves of minority groups. One means by which such situations may be rectified is the forced migrations of peoples across international boundaries. Perhaps the most recent example of this was the measures· taken in the Central European "shatter zone" following World War II to eliminate the minority problems that existed there before the War. The colonial history of North America provides a comparable situation. During the course of the Anglo-French struggle for control of North America a new boundary was placed on the political map of the continent. The Acadians, French and Catholic, and formerly within the French colonial empire suddenly found themselves political members of the English empire. The political instability generated by this new status eventually led to their expulsion in 17 5 5, on the eve of the culminating struggle between the English and the French. For many years after, the Acadian exiles sought either repatriation or a new homeland. They moved across the map always seeking but seldom finding a home. Their efforts toward repatriation were frustrated. Not until 1800 did the Acadians finally achieve some measure of locational stability. This paper will concern itself with the Acadian migrations, their ephemeral homes and their final settlement pattern.

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