The tragic story of the Acadians has been immortalized in Longfellow's narrative poem Evangeline. Much of the poet's account was fictional. But in Evangeline and the Acadians, Robert Tallant tells with drama and sympathy what actually happened to the ill-fated French colonists of Acadia.
These colonists, simple but hardy farmers and fishermen from France, had settled Acadia (we know it as Nova Scotia) in 1604. They were hard-working, but also gay and fun-loving. On the new continent they seemed to have found a secure and happy life.
Then came the invading English. They conquered the Acadians, and an abiding hatred built up steadily between the two peoples. Finally, in 1755, the English drove the Acadians from their beloved country. They loaded the unfortunate victims onto ships, often cruelly separating the men from their families. Nearly seven thousand exiles were deposited at spots along the eastern coast of North America, from Massachusetts to Georgia.
For years the homeless Acadians wandered. Some finally reached France, and others made their way to the French West Indies. But most of them headed south for New Orleans, where they might find a haven among French-speaking people.
And in Louisiana the travel-weary Acadians at last did find happiness. Today half a million descendants of Acadian exiles live there. They are still farmers and fisher-folk, still fun-loving people rich in their special customs and traditions.
From the dust jacket
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