> Quebec Historical introduction

The Three Rivers (St Lawrence River), Painting by W.H. Bartlett, 1840

The Acadian refugees in Quebec

Among the founding ancestors of Quebec’s population, Acadians represent the second largest group. More than half of Quebeckers of French-Canadian descent (roughly three million people) would have at least one ancestor of Acadian origin. To understand this considerable migration input, it is necessary to go back to the history of the Acadian people at the time of their deportation by the British authorities, from 1755…

General view of Quebec from Point Levis across the St. Lawrence River, 1761 (engraving by P. Carnot, after drawing by Richard Short, public domain)

It is estimated that about 3,150 Acadians arrived in Canada between 1755 and 1775, in two significant waves of migration. The first took place from 1755 until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Approximately 1,850 Acadians fled to French Canada from Isle Saint-Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island), Miramichi Camp, and the St. John River (now New Brunswick). The second wave occurred from 1766 to 1775. It resulted from the decision of James Murray, governor of the province of Quebec, to offer land to immigrants who would populate the seigneuries (i.e., the domain of a seigneur/lord) within the province. About 1,300 Acadians deported to the original American colonies accepted this offer, mostly from Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Foundation of “Little Cadies”

Acadian refugees in French Canada settled only on a temporary basis, hoping to return to their homeland in Acadia. In this period, the cities of Quebec and Montreal were just transitory places of convenience. In Montreal, the settlers were mostly individuals rather than families and groups. However, in the fullness of time the majority of them decided to stay permanently in Canada, which in 1763 became the province of Quebec. Between 1756 and 1766, the Acadians even founded six new villages, namely Saint-Gervais, Saint-Gregoire, Bonaventure, Saint-Jacques, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Carleton-sur-Mer. These newly created Acadian localities became known as “Little Cadies”. This is the story of the first Acadian communities in Quebec, to which the temporary settlement of Petite-Rochelle (1758), the community of Yamachiche, and the Magdalen Islands should be added…

List of the Acadian communities

étoile acadie star

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