History[edit | edit source]
Canada[edit | edit source]
The Acadians (French: Acadiens, IPA: [akadjɛ̃]) are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia, many of whom are metis. The colony was located in what is now Eastern Canada's Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), as well as part of Quebec, and present-day Maine to the Kennebec River.
Although today most of the Acadians and Québécois are French speaking (francophone) Canadians, Acadia was a distinctly separate colony of New France. It was geographically and administratively separate from the French colony of Canada (modern-day Quebec). As a result, the Acadians and Québécois developed two distinct histories and cultures.
They also developed a slightly different French language. France has one official language and to accomplish this they have an administration in charge of the language. Since the Acadians were separated from this council, their French language evolved independently, and Acadians retain several elements of 17th-century French that have been lost in France. The settlers whose descendants became Acadians came from "all the regions of France but coming predominantly directly from the cities".
Louisiana[edit | edit source]
Many Acadians migrated to Spanish colonial Luisiana, present day Louisiana state, where they developed what became known as Cajun culture. Others were transported to France. Some of those were settled secondarily to Louisiana by Henri Peyroux de la Coudreniere.
Later on, many Acadians returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada, most specifically New Brunswick. Most who returned ended up in New Brunswick because they were barred by the British from resettling their lands and villages in the land that became Nova Scotia. Before the U.S. Revolutionary War, the Crown settled New England Planters then after the war, Loyalists (including nearly 3,000 Black Loyalists - freed slaves) in former Acadian communities and farmland. British policy was to assimilate Acadians with the local populations where they resettled.
Acadians speak a dialect of French called Acadian French. Many of those in the Moncton, New Brunswick area speak Chiac and English. The Louisiana Cajun descendants mostly now speak English. A distinct local dialect known as Cajun English is prominent among them. Historically, they spoke Cajun French, a French dialect developed in Louisiana.