Acadian Day of Remembrance Date in the current year: December 13, 2024

Acadian Day of Remembrance The Acadian Day of Remembrance (Le jour du Souvenir acadien) is observed in the Canadian province of New Brunswick on December 13 every year. It was instituted to pay homage to over 3,000 Acadians who were deported from Prince Edward Island in 1758, as well as other victims of the Great Upheaval.

The Acadians are the third largest ethnic group of French Canadians, after Quebeckers (Québécois) and Franco-Ontarians. They descend from French settlers who came to Acadia in the 17th and 18th century. Acadia was a colony of New France located in what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, as well as parts of Quebec and the U.S. state of Maine.

The first French settlement in Acadia was established by Pierre Dugua de Mons in 1604. For a couple of years, the colony had a monopoly in the fur trade, but it was revoked by King Henry IV in 1607 because the colony didn’t bring enough income to justify supplying it further. The Acadians were left to fend for themselves.

The British first occupied Acadia during King William’s War (1688–1697), but the Treaty of Ryswick reverted the colonial borders to their pre-war state. During Queen Anne’s War, the British besieged and captured Port Royal. The war ended with the British victory in 1713, and France ceded its North American colonies, including Acadia, to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Over the next four decades, the number of the Acadians increased from 1,500 to over 14,000 people. This, combined with the fact that the Acadians didn’t want to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain, alarmed the British colonial authorities that doubted their loyalty. Once the Acadians formally refused to sign the oath, Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence decided to deport them to the Thirteen Colonies, Britain and France.

The Expulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, lasted from 1755 to 1764. The first wave of deportation began in August 1755, with the Bay of Fundy Campaign, and the second wave, known as the Ile Saint-Jean Campaign, began in fall 1758. At the time of the campaign, Ile Saint-Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island) was home to about 4,600 Acadians. More than 3,000 of them were captured and deported to France.

Three ships carrying deported Acadians sank in the North Atlantic in mid-December. The sinking of the Duke William, carrying over 360 people, marked the highest number of fatalities during the expulsion. The ship sank on December 13, 1758; the anniversary of this event is now observed as the Acadian Day of Remembrance. Approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported during the Great Upheaval; thousands of them died of cold, starvation and diseases, or in shipwrecks.

The Acadian Day of Remembrance is marked with a solemn memorial ceremony held at Skmaqn–Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site in Rocky Point, Prince Edward Island. The event includes words of remembrance, a moment of silence, and a procession to the monument of the Acadian Odyssey.

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Acadian Day of Remembrance, remembrance day, memorial day, observances in Canada, Expulsion of the Acadians