Friday, May 22, 2009

Cajun Story Part II

Once there was a place called Acadie... Located on the Bay of Fundy in what is now Nova Scotia, the areas was colonized in 1604 by hardy French farmers and fishermen who found such beauty, peace and joy in the family-like companionship of their neighbors in the simple setting, that they chose to give it a name derived from the Greek legend of the nearly Utopian province of Arcadia. Hence, the French colony became Acadie, and its people, Acadians.
The Acadians were willing and eager workers, and their hard labor brought forth a rich natural bounty from their new land. They lived in idyllic simplicity. There was little currency, goods and services were bartered. There was perfect harmony with each other and with their Indian neighbors. There land was truly Acadie.
Then the rule of the area passed from the French to the British, and eventually conflict arose between those countries. The British were wary of these French Acadians in thier midst, especially when they refused to sign an oath of alligance to the Crown, unless it contained provisions for them to continue in their Catholic religion and protected them from having to bear arms against the enemies of the British Empire, which could have included not only their French countrymen, but also their friends, the Indians. The biggest concern of the British was the concern over the fact that the choicest land belonged to these French Acadians. They felt the property so hard earned by the Acadians should rightfully be inhabited by the loyal British subjects.
The entire story is long and filled with manuevers motivated both by military concern and the attractivness of this precious real estate owned by the Acadians. The Acadians, in 1755 saw their villages burned and found themselves herded onto British ships, dispersing them throughout the colonies. Families were torn apart, many never to see each other again. Deaths on the ships were rampant. No one received the Acadians with open arms. Many were not allowed off the ships and many died in the cramped hold of those ships. Many were pressed into a form of slavery called Indentured Servitude. (to be continued)

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