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The Acadian Refugees in France 1758-1785: The Impossible Reintegration ?

by Jean-François Mouhot

Translated by Russell Desmond

On May 10, 1785, the Bon Papa, a modest three-master of 280 tons, hoisted its sails at Paimboeuf, France, near Nantes, and headed west. On board were thirty-six families whom the owner of the boat had promised to bring to port. The ship, which arrived at its destination on July 29, 1785--after eighty days on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters--was only the first of seven ships carrying nearly 1,600 Acadians to Spain's Louisiana colony.

Thirty years, almost to the day, before the arrival of Bon Papa in New Orleans, seven or eight times as many Acadians had embarked on ships from Nova Scotia, Canada. Between July 28 and July 31, 1755, the English governor of the colony, Charles Lawrence, as a prelude to the Seven Years’ War, made the decision to expel all inhabitants of French origin within his territory. Many of the exiled Acadians were deported to the American colonies, the Caribbean, Britain, or France. Nearly one-third of those deported died from disease or drownings. Those who did survive the journey often struggled to survive and assimilate in their new communities, even in their motherland of France.

This book examines the Acadians while exiled in France. Based on a tremendous amount of primary source research, Mouhot tells their story in great detail, while he also challenges many previous interpretations and understandings of their experiences in their "homeland."

Praise for the French version:

"Jean-François Mouhot’s book is an essential contribution to our understanding of the Acadians’ history in France during the second half of the eighteenth century. It shows the complexity of their exilic situation while, more largely, addressing issues that are relevant to any dislocated population."--Damien Rouet, Études canadiennes

"Following their deportation by the English authorities from 1755 onwards, 3,000 Acadians found refuge in France. Some stayed a while, others forever. In a country that had yet to go through the post-Revolution linguistic uniformization, they are an oddity: they all speak French! In spite of themselves, these poor, rejected people from America 'frenchified' France: what an upside-down world!"--Michel Lapierre, Le Devoir

"This book on the expulsion of the Acadians shakes up preconceived ideas about the way France welcomed this people. . . . Less than thirty years after their arrival, unable to adapt to society, the Acadians went back to North America. In the middle of the eighteenth century, French society was already tackling a very contemporary question: 'What does it mean to be French?'"--Jean-Michel Gouin, La Nouvelle République

"This rich contribution opens up new avenues and can stimulate conversation on the topic, something the author happily encourages. "--Alexandre Dubé, Annales

"This excellent book is the most exhaustive study of Acadians in France from the arrival of the first refugees in 1758 to the mass departure for Louisiana in 1785."--Leslie Choquette, H-France

Jean-François Mouhot studied at the European University Institute based in Florence, Italy, and served as a post-doctoral research fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Mouhot has a long-standing interest in environmental and energy issues, in particular climate change. He has published numerous articles and co-authored several books on the history of environmentalism and conservation in Britain and France and on Britain’s non-governmental organizations. Since 2014, Mouhot has worked for A Rocha, an international Christian conservation organization, as director of Les Courmettes, an environmental education center above the hills of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, near Nice, in the South of France.

ISBN: 978-1-935754-75-6

Softcover, 376 pp., ©2018

Projected Publication date: April 24, 2018. 

Price: $24.95

$24.95

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