St. Malo was named after a Welsh mond named Maclou, or Malo. He fled
to Brittany in the 6th century and became the first bishop of St. Servan,
then called Aleth. The area was still sparsely populated until a
nearby group of people arrived in the 8th century seeking refuge from the
Normans. The bishopric was moved to the island in 1144. It was later
eliminated in 1790. St. Malo grew in the 17th and 18th centuries,
from traders, seamen, and privateers.
The 1758 deportation of the Ile
St. Jean & Ile Royale inhabitants
started in the fall. By April 1759, 1100 Acadians had arrived at
St. Malo. It is estimated that 2000+ Acadians were shipped from Ile
St. Jean to France. Two of the ships, however, sank en route
... the Duke William and the Violet. An estimated 700
Acadians drowned. For those that survived the trip, many died soon
after arriving. Temporary housing was set up at St. Servan.
While there, they tried to reassemble into family groups. Some of
these Acadians would stay in the area for the rest of their lives, though
most moved on to settle at Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Poitou (then Nantes), and
finally Louisiana. The town names on the map below will show up in
many Acadian records of the period.
The first ships to arrive at St. Malo were the Antelope and the Duke William on Nov. 1, 1758. Of the 79 Acadians that had boarded the Antelope, 1 died at sea and 7 more died soon after their arrival. Of the 488 Acadians that had boarded the Duke William, 146 died at sea and 29 more died soon after their arrival. The next ship to arrive (on Nov. 17, 1758) was the Queen of Spain. Of the 171 Acadians that had boarded, 66 died at sea and 9 more died soon after. The Tamerlan arrived on January 16, 1759. Six of the 62 Acadians that boarded had died en route. On January 23, 1759, five ships (John Samuel, Mathias, Patience, Restoration, Yarmouth) arrived. Of the 1372 Acadians that boarded those ships, 339 had died at sea and 156 died soon after arriving. The final ship to arrive from the 1758 exile was the Supply on March 9, 1759. Of the 191 Acadians that had boarded the ship, 24 died at sea and 19 more died soon after arriving.
The French sloop Ambition,
unloaded 219 Acadians from Southampton in mid-May 1763. A few days
later, the Dorothée unloaded 175 from Bristol. There were about 1500 Acadians in the
St. Malo area in 1763. The group was so large, it had to be scattered
throught the 37 parish of Cotes d'Armor and Ille et Vilaine. Parish
with more than 5 Acadian families included: Bonnabon (6), Tremereuc (6),
Langrolay (9), St. Coulomb (10), St. Méloir des Ondes (10), Paramé
(12), Ploubalay (14), La Gouesniére (16), Trigavou (16), Pleslin
(18), Chateauneuf d'Ille et Vilaine (25), Pleurtuit (40), St. Enogat (50),
Pleudihen (78), St. Malo (84), Plouer (90), St. Suliac (111), St. Servan
Nantes to Louisiana, Braud]
In 1763, some Acadians left from St. Malo and Rochefort to attempt
settlements at Guyana and the Falkland Islands (les Malouines). The L'Aigle left St. Malo on Sept. 9, 1763 for Iles Malouines and arrived there in April 1764. The attempt was unsuccessful and the
survivors returned between 1769 to 1775.
On April 20, 1764, the Le Fort left St. Malo and headed for Cayenne. It arrived there on Aug. 15, 1764.
Le Loutre convinced 22 families
in the St. Malo area to migrate to Belle Isle en Mer in October of 1765.
Other Acadians tried to resettle at St.Pierre & Miquelon. The La Creole left St. Malo with 37 passengers on March 14, 1768;
but the islands quickly became overcrowded and they were encouraged to
settle elsewhere … 163 asked to move to Cape Breton.
About this time, 586 Acadians
arrived at Cherbourg, LaRochelle, Rochefort, and St. Malo. By the 1770s, the Poitou
settlement was developing. But the Acadians had already heard of
the success of the Acadians in Louisiana. They also thought about
resettling in the Sierra Morena of Spain. But the Minister rejected
both ideas. The representative for the relocation ideas was
Jean Jacques LeBlanc.
While waiting for the money to come through for the Poitou settlement,
8 Acadian families secretly moved from St. Malo to Jersey Island.
When LeMoyne learned of this, he and others pushed to have the financing
for Poitou approved. A census of that time showed 1727 Acadians in
the St. Malo area. But LeMoyne was having a hard time recruiting
for the Poitou settlement. The first subscription had only 14 Acadians.
Others later signed up, and two boats (St. Claude, Sénec)
brought 154 Acadians from St. Malo to La Rochelle … arriving in September
1773. They moved on to Poitou. As at Morlaix, some Acadians
became pirates (after 1778). The decrease in Acadian male population
in 1779 was no doubt partly due to this.
The last major migration of Acadians from the St. Malo area occurred in
1785, when 316 Acadians left for Louisiana on the Ville
d'Arcangel. Some Acadians remained in St. Malo.