Not knowing much about Canadian history or especially the Maritime provinces, both Rich and I were surprised to find out how much of New Brunswick was French speaking. Like most people in the US, we associated the French only with Quebec. But the further north we go, the more we find ourselves surrounded by the French language. We also noticed an unusual flag with increasing frequency. Both are representative of the Acadian cultural heritage.
So who are the Acadians? In the 17th century, French colonists settled in Maine and the eastern Maritime provinces of Canada. They established Acadia, which was a distinct colony of New France. During the French and Indian War, in 1755 the British carried out the Great Expulsion, deporting 11,500 French out of the Maritimes. Almost 1/3 of them perished, and many of the remainder resettled in Louisiana. Surprisingly enough, that is how the Cajun population was established. Years later, many Acadians returned to to the Maritimes and now form a vibrant cultural community in Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
While the Acadian flag is featured proudly and prominently in front yards, so are other manifestations of the Acadian colors. No object seems to be immune from the Acadian symbol. Here are just a few of our favorites.
We have enjoyed learning more about this cultural heritage throughout our travels. Our Warm Showers host even took us to see the world's largest Acadian flag. And we are currently cycling the Acadian peninsula. We feel steeped in history.