Upheaval & Isle St. Jean Expulsion
Historians have long neglected the Acadian expulsion of 1758 in favour of the better-known 1755 deportation. The second event however also occurred in a tumultuous period during the Seven Years War, which would be defined by political tension, religious differences, and cultural issues between the British and the French. This clash of cultures was prevalent in Acadia and Isle St. Jean, which involved a power struggle between the two major forces that often defined life for inhabitants on the island.
This site endeavours to explore further the 1758 deportation, with a focus on the island of Isle St. Jean. At its basic form, this project is a digital map containing information related to the people of Isle St. Jean who experienced periods of both prosperity and hardship. By including geographic information and historical data, it allows us to visualize this story through both time and space, hence creating a story-map. This includes overlaying eighteenth-century maps onto an Arc-GIS map and placing names to faces and people to places. The story of the expulsion is a story that transpires in space: the movement of people as groups, families and individuals, the migration from Nova Scotia to Isle St-Jean, the defeat of Louisbourg, the displacement of over 3000 colonists from their lands, the journeys that will see over thousands perish, and for those that survive, another chance at coming home.
This site presents a summary of Acadian social life, including understandings of Isle St. Jean’s socio-economic status during the mid-eighteenth century, as well as notions of religion and contemporary politics. These sections serve to provide historical context before and around the time of the 1758 expulsion through informative summaries, census analysis, and personal narratives from surviving primary accounts. These sections, complete with multi-media, serve to provide additional context as viewers can also familiarize themselves with Acadian society in the eighteenth century on a geographical scale.
This site also features five particular families who were involved in the 1758 deportation, which will reflect a more personal perspective towards such a distressing event which saw these people caught between the imperial ambitions of the French and the British. Each family page features an interactive map designed to trace the family’s migration routes before, during, and after the expulsion. This feature combines contemporary mapping with modern GIS technology, presenting a unique interaction between the past and the present. These maps heavily relied upon multiple census's, that helped form a coherent and informative narrative.
Lastly, this site focuses on an event that historians have largely ignored since its occurrence, in which Isle St. Jean records reflect that there is much more to study regarding the Acadian deportation of 1758. The information presented throughout the site recognizes the importance of Isle St. Jean during the Seven Years War and why its beneficial for historians to study and present such a small community's history. As well, this site not only endeavours to provide viewers with historical context through its multi-media elements and narratives, but to prompt reflection on the harsh realities of the 1758 expulsion. This project also allows a small window into the past in which we can view the people of Isle St Jean as a population who did not passively accept their fate, but continually acted with agency to mold and improve their situation, sometimes resisting imperial powers to the greatest extent. This project desires to promote discussion around the 1758 Acadian deportation and its role during the war, but also the impact this particular event had on inhabitants of Isle St. Jean. This site will hopefully act as an aid to educate and provide opportunity for all to reflect on such an intense event in Acadian history, but also understand why this neglected study is a major part of not only Canadian, but also global history.
Special thanks to:
Dr Stephen Hornsby – University of Maine
Dr Daniel Samson