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The Attack On Acadia

Type: Document

The resumption of hostilities saw French privateers from Port-Royal attacking ships from New England. The British colonies made two unsuccessful attempts to take the French port before a final expedition supported by British troops and the Royal Navy succeeded in 1710.

Site: National Defence

Private, service dress, Colored Infantry Company, Upper Canada Incorporated Militia, 1843-1850

Type: Image

Raised in 1838, the Colored Infantry Company recruited from Blacks in Upper Canada was the only provincial unit on duty between 1843 the unit's disbanding in 1850. It served mainly along the American border in the Niagara area. Besides the service dress shown, these Black Canadian soldiers also had the shako and scarlet coat trimmed with white lace for full dress as in the British infantry. Reconstruction by Garth Dittrick. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

The British Lay Siege to Louisbourg

Type: Document

In June 1758, a British fleet and army arrived off Île Royale, and the siege of Louisbourg began. It lasted five weeks, thanks to strong fortifications and the determination of the outnumbered defenders. French surrender was followed by deportation of the civilian population.

Site: National Defence

Ethnic Cleansing Prompted by Greed

Type: Document

Since 1713, the former French colony of Acadia had been part of British Nova Scotia. The large population of francophone Roman Catholics was a source of worry and jealousy to the authorities, and in July 1755, Governor Lawrence deployed troops to forcibly deport the Acadians.

Site: National Defence

Gathering Acadian women and children for deportation, Grand Pré, Acadia, July 1755

Type: Image

It is ‘the turn of the women and children’ at Grand Pré, Acadia, as troops come to gather them to be deported in the fall of 1755. Soldiers have occasionally been used to banish innocent civilian populations from their homes in Canadian history. The deportation of the Acadians is the first large scale example in Canada of the use of soldiers, in this case troops from Britain and from Massachusetts, to round up civilians. The arrest and internment of Canadians of Japanese origin during the Second World War is the latest such action.

Site: National Defence

Acadian militiaman, 1755-1760

Type: Image

Not all Acadians were deported in 1755. Some escaped into the wilderness of present-day New Brunswick and from there, staged such a relentless guerrilla-style warfare on British areas that it took great numbers of British and American provincial troops to guard, with variable success, the western borders to Nova Scotia. Following the surrender of the French army in September 1760, the Acadians partisans would not give up to the British and it took French officers to finally convince them to lay down their arms and respect the capitulation. Reconstruction by Derek Fitzjames. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

A Poorly Defended Colony

Type: Document

In 1775, the British colonies in the Maritimes were weakly garrisoned. Governor Legge of Nova Scotia, unable to get additional regular troops, used local militia companies to help guard against the American rebels and their sympathizers.

Site: National Defence

The Volunteer Corps

Type: Document

The colony of British Columbia had no militia before joining Canada in 1871. Instead, volunteer corps were raised, especially after tensions with the United States increased during the late 1850s. One unit was raised by escaped American slaves.

Site: National Defence

A Different Situation in Acadia

Type: Document

The population of Acadia was not militarized in the way French colonists in Canada were. Relations with the local Amerindians were good, while internal social conflict and long periods of English occupation discouraged the development of a strong militia.

Site: National Defence

A Failed Policy

Type: Document

Despite deporting the Acadians in 1755, the British wish to solve the 'security problem' they posed was unfulfilled. Few British colonists settled in the newly-vacated region, while Acadian refugees became guerrillas in the forests, turning into a genuine threat.

Site: National Defence