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The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710

The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions

John G. Reid
Maurice Basque
Elizabeth Mancke
Barry Moody
Geoffrey Plank
William Wicken
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710
    Book Description:

    The conquest of Port-Royal by British forces in 1710 is an intensely revealing episode in the history of northeastern North America. Bringing together multi-layered perspectives, including the conquest's effects on aboriginal inhabitants, Acadians, and New Englanders, and using a variety of methodologies to contextualise the incident in local, regional, and imperial terms, six prominent scholars form new conclusions regarding the events of 1710. The authors show that the processes by which European states sought to legitimate their claims, and the terms on which mutual toleration would be granted or withheld by different peoples living side by side are especially visible in the Nova Scotia that emerged following the conquest. Important on both a local and global scale,The 'Conquest' of Acadiawill be a significant contribution to Acadian history, native studies, native rights histories, and the socio-political history of the eighteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8088-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xx)
    John G. Reid, Maurice Basque, Elizabeth Mancke, Barry Moody, Geoffrey Plank and William Wicken

    On 5 October 1710 (O.S.), a force composed of New England militia and British marines accepted the French surrender of the fort at Port Royal, military headquarters of the colony of Acadia.¹ At the most extensive – though highly controvertible – estimation, the colony’s boundaries could be taken by French or British observers to correspond to the later dimensions of Canada’s Maritime provinces, with the possible additions of the Gaspé Peninsula and a piece of the state of Maine extending southwestward to the Penobscot River. Within that territory, the clear majority of the population was aboriginal: perhaps some 3500 Mi'kmaq...

  5. MAPS
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)

    • 1 The ‘Conquest’ of Acadia: Narratives
      (pp. 3-22)
      John G. Reid

      Many different narratives of the conquest of Acadia could be constructed. Many were told at the time, no doubt, although few have survived. Judge Samuel Sewall’s tribute to ‘BraveFrancis’ Nicholson and the ‘North Britian’ Samuel Vetch was written in Boston in October 1710. The poem was statelier in its original Latin than in the translation, which foreshadowed the writing style of another North Briton of doubtful celebrity, William McGonagall. Yet Sewall’s portentous view of the conquest touched on most of the elements that made the event, at least in the eyes of the victors of Annapolis Royal, a prodigious...


    • 2 Elites, States, and the Imperial Contest for Acadia
      (pp. 25-47)
      Elizabeth Mancke and John G. Reid

      The British seizure of Port Royal in 1710, and the formal cession of an ill-defined territory by the French in the Treaty of Utrecht three years later, did not represent the first time that Europeans had exchanged entitlements in the region. French, English, and Scottish claims to Acadia or Nova Scotia (the nomenclature changing with the possessor) had figured explicitly in the negotiation of several treaties prior to 1713: the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632), the Treaty of Breda (1667), and the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). The French charters to Acadia and Canada overlapped with English charters to New England and...

    • 3 Family and Political Culture in Pre-Conquest Acadia
      (pp. 48-64)
      Maurice Basque

      When the small French garrison of Port Royal laid down its arms in October 1710, the Acadian population was not witnessing a first. In fact, Port Royal and its vicinity had been attacked several times by English forces since the early seventeenth century. Samuel Argall’s raid in 1613 was the first in a series of temporary English conquests of Acadia, later followed by Robert Sedgwick’s 1654 expedition and Sir William Phips’s capture of Port Royal in May 1690. Even the newer Acadian settlements of Beaubassin on the isthmus of Chignecto and Grand Pré in the Minas Basin region had experienced...


    • 4 New England and the Conquest
      (pp. 67-85)
      Geoffrey Plank

      The lands of the Mi'kmaq and the Acadians were never isolated. From the early seventeenth century onward, several transportation and communication links tied the peoples of the region to the outside world. Following routes they had taken for centuries, the Mi'kmaq travelled by sea to Labrador, west and south along the New England coast, and eastward out into the Atlantic, perhaps as far as Newfoundland. They also took an overland trail up the St John valley to the St Lawrence River and on to Quebec.¹ Acadians travelled the land route to visit Canada, and at least until 1710 they maintained...

    • 5 Mi'kmaq Decisions: Antoine Tecouenemac, the Conquest, and the Treaty of Utrecht
      (pp. 86-100)
      William Wicken

      The conquest of 1710, at the time, was not a significant event for the Mi'kmaq. It only became so afterwards, as the British attempted to extend their economic and political control over the region. This is because the Mi'kmaq, unlike the Acadians, were not farmers. They did not keep livestock, they did not enclose their land, and they did not live along the major river systems which flowed into the Bay of Fundy; for these reasons they were less vulnerable to British attack than were the Acadians, whose fields and livestock had been ravaged by New England raiders in earlier...

    • 6 Imperialism, Diplomacies, and the Conquest of Acadia
      (pp. 101-124)
      John G. Reid

      In July 1720, Governor Richard Philipps of Nova Scotia reported to London that British authority was ‘in a manner dispised and ridiculed’ by both Acadian and native inhabitants. Two months later, Philipps was even more blunt: ‘this has been hitherto no more than a mock Government. Its Authority haveing never yet extended beyond cannon reach of this ffort.’¹ To prove the point, in the interim, Mi'kmaq raiders had seized fish and other goods from New England vessels at Canso, and a New England merchant had been similarly used in the Minas Basin. Referring to both incidents, Antoine and Pierre Couaret,...


    • 7 Making a British Nova Scotia
      (pp. 127-154)
      Barry Moody

      When on 4 October 1710 (N.S.) the French fleur-de-lis was lowered at the fort at Port Royal, and the union flag of England and Scotland was raised to the top of the pole, it was more a symbol of expectation than of actual accomplishment. Similar acts of victory had taken place on several occasions over the past seventy-five years, only to have the French flag, and a French presence, reinstated shortly thereafter. If 1710 was to be any different, if it was to signal the beginning of a permanent British occupation of the region, the will of politicians and bureaucrats...

    • 8 The Third Acadia: Political Adaptation and Societal Change
      (pp. 155-177)
      Maurice Basque

      In October 1710, Governor Daniel Auger de Subercase of Acadia was not able to ward off English troops as the French had done earlier in 1707 when Port Royal was attacked. The reaction of the Acadians to the imposing invading forces of 1710 did not please Subercase when he learned that most of them had fled to the woods. Nevertheless, many Acadians did fight alongside the French soldiers and the few native allied troops.¹ The Acadian elders of Port Royal were accustomed to seeing French troops defeated in their small colonial town, and the raising of the Union flag must...

    • 9 Imperial Transitions
      (pp. 178-202)
      Elizabeth Mancke

      In 1713 Louis XIV, ostensibly at the request of the British government, released French Protestants who had been imprisoned on naval galleys. To match this French show of benevolence, Queen Anne sent a letter to Francis Nicholson, governor of Nova Scotia, informing him that Acadians who were ‘willing to Continue our Subjects [were] to retain and Enjoy their said Lands and Tenements without any Lett or Molestation.’ Those who chose to relocate into French territory could sell their property. Beyond showing herself to be as magnanimous a monarch as Louis XIV, Queen Anne’s letter was a personal gesture to her...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 203-210)
    John G. Reid, Maurice Basque, Elizabeth Mancke, Barry Moody, Geoffrey Plank and William Wicken

    The conquest of Acadia is an intensely revealing episode in the early modern history of northeastern North America. When viewed from appropriate perspectives, it emerges as an event with complexities that fall into identifiable patterns of interaction among imperial, colonial, and native interests.

    The conquest was no simple event, although at a certain level it can be seen as such. Nicholson’s marines trudging through the marsh mud; the Union flag raised at the fort; Subercase’s gallantau revoir. these are valid images in the construction of the conquest as a military incident within the well-known imperial struggle between France and...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 211-260)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-284)
  13. Index
    (pp. 285-297)