| The first Acadians to reach St. Pierre and
Miquelon came from Cape Breton in 1758. After the Treaty of Paris
in 1763, the Acadians were told that they had 18 months to relocate to
French soil. The French govermnent recognized that St. Pierre and
Miquelon would soon be faced with new settlers. In order to keep
things under contral, they agreed to support only 300 Acadians. The
new governor (Dangeac) and the 300 sailed from Rochefort on the Garonne
and arrived in 1763. The governor also supplied the legitimate settlers
with fishing equipment. But they were soon joined by others.
| Since St. Pierre and Miquelon were the last
French colonies left in North America after the treaty, hundreds of Acadians
sailed there from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New England.
From 1763 to 1767, other Acadians came from French Atlantic cities.
But the small islands didn’t have the resources to support them all, especially
In October 1763, 116 Acadians arrived from
Boston. They were followed in August of 1764, by 100 Acadians (from
Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, the Isthmus of Chignecto, and
Chedabouctou) who had been imprisoned in Nova Scotian forts before sailing
to Miquelon. In October of 1765, 111 Acadians from Prince Edward
Island and Halifax also migrated to Miquelon. That same month, 72
Acadians from Beausejour made it to the islands. Acadians (about
50) on a French fishing fleet jumped ship at St. Pierre at about the same
Dangeac tried to get the new Acadian settlers
to move to Guiana, but the tropical climate terrified the Acadians and
they refused to go. They built meager homes, consisting of spruce
stakes stuck in the ground and covered with sod. The chimneys were
made of clay, mud, and hay. There wasn’t enough building materials
to construct sturdy homes for everyone.
Finally, Dangeac had enough. When 72
Acadians arrived in November of 1765, he sent 43 of them to Nantes, France.
He communicated the problem to France, and the unauthorized Acadian settlers
were ordered to go to Acadia (Nova Scotia) or France. The didn’t
want to return to Acadia. Some said they would go to Louisiana, but
nothing became of it. Actually, 14 from this group eventually made
it to Louisiana aboard the seven ships in 1785.
From October to December of 1767, 763 people
(almost all Acadians) left the islands. Most (586) went to France,
while the rest (163) went to Acadian (actually, to Cape Breton Island,
Ile Madame, and Cocagne).
After the island population was drastically
reduced, the merchants began to speak up ... saying how the island could
support more if they engaged themselves in the fishing industry.
So 240 Acadians at St. Malo and Rochefort asked the French government to
reconsider their position. In 1768, Choiseul said okay, and allowed
a limited number of them to return (if they were self-supporting and would
pay their own transportion). Two Acadian schooners brought 103 Acadians
back to the islands. The South Carolina Gazette (Feb. 1, 1768) has an article from London that quotes an Oct. 9 letter from Parish that stated:
"They write from Brest, that a ship is arrived there, on hoard of which were brought, from the Island of St. Pierre and M'quslon. 80 Acadians , who make 15 families, which were ordered by the ministry to be brought to France, on account of the misery they were reduced to, and the handships they suffered from the English on account of the cod fishery."
The Creole sailed from Rochefort carrying 37
Acadians; it arrived at Miquelon on May 5, 1768. The Louise carried
66 more, arriving on June 23, 1768. Choiseul later agreed to transport
them for free, and 219 more made the trip.
The Acadians tried to raise livestock, but
it proved to be a failure. When the demand for codfish increased,
they were able to improve their situation. By 1776, the population
of St. Pierre and Miquelon was 1894.
Trouble returned in 1778, when France declared
war on England. The Acadians on St. Pierre and Miquelon were herded
onto ships as their settlements were destroyed. They were sent to France,
where they lived on welfare in the port towns of St. Malo, La Rochelle,
Cherbourg, Rochefort, and Nantes. After the peace treaty in 1783,
1250 Acadians asked to return to St. Pierre and Miquelon. In 1783,
510 Acadians returned to the islands, and 713 followed the next year.
The settlements were rebuilt, and the cod
fishing industry was resumed. Acadians and Frenchmen from the continent
even traveled there to work during the summers. But with success
came yet another invasion. On May 14, 1793, a small British force
raided the island and sent the small French garrison and non-resident fisherman
to Halifax. From there, they were sent to France ... arriving in mid 1794.
The resident Acadian fisherman were told to
work for the English, but they refused. So the English decided to
expel all of them. But before they could, about 32 Acadian families
left for Iles Madeleine (1793). More (360) Acadians sailed for Ile
Madame. In September 1796, the remaining Acadians on the islands
were sent to Halifax. They were placed in nearby fishing villages
and forced to work on English fishing boats in the Grand Banks.
Finally, in July of 1796, the government said
they could go to France. In July 1797, a number of them sailed to
Bordeaux in France. The following month, more Acadians sailed to
When a treaty was made in 1814, hundreds of
Acadians returned to St. Pierre and Miquelon. By 1820, there were
800 Acadians on the islands.