The former French colony of Acadia—permanently renamed Nova Scotia by the British when they began an ambitious occupation of the territory in 1710—witnessed one of the bitterest struggles in the British empire. Whereas in its other North American colonies Britain assumed it could garner the sympathies of fellow Europeans against the native peoples, in Nova Scotia nothing was further from the truth. The Mi'kmaq, the native local population, and the Acadians, descendants of the original French settlers, had coexisted for more than a hundred years prior to the British conquest, and their friendships, family ties, common Catholic religion, and commercial relationships proved resistant to British-enforced change. Unable to seize satisfactory political control over the region, despite numerous efforts at separating the Acadians and Mi'kmaq, the authorities took drastic steps in the 1750s, forcibly deporting the Acadians to other British colonies and systematically decimating the remaining native population.
The story of the removal of the Acadians, some of whose descendants are the Cajuns of Louisiana, and the subsequent oppression of the Mi'kmaq has never been completely told. In this first comprehensive history of the events leading up to the ultimate break-up of Nova Scotian society, Geoffrey Plank skillfully unravels the complex relationships of all of the groups involved, establishing the strong bonds between the Mi'kmaq and Acadians as well as the frustration of the British administrators that led to the Acadian removal, culminating in one of the most infamous events in North American history.
"A compelling book, and it thoroughly traces the fates of the Acadians and Mi'kmaq who were caught between contentious British and French empires."—Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
"Well-written. . . . A good introduction to a very compelling and complex story."—Journal of Military History
"A story that resonates down to our own day."—Toronto Star
"An evocative and compelling book."—Ian K. Steele, author of Warpaths: Invasions of North America, 1513-1765
"A magnificent synthesis. . . . This is a work that must be read not only for its Acadian history but also for its prefiguration of contemporary forms of totalitarianism."—Journal of American History
"Ultimately, the story of Nova Scotia's violent integration into the British system offers a case study in the limits of voluntarism in the ramshackle empire that preceded the Seven Years' War."—William and Mary Quarterly