In 1763, Louis Antoine de Bougainville received
permission to colonize the Falkland Islands. Although King Louis XV allowed
the Acadians to participate (and still receive their “welfare” payments),
they were not really interested in the proposition. When the first two
ships (the Aigle and the Sphinx) set sail for the Falklands, there were
only a few Acadians on board. Three families signed up, but the head of one of the families had a change of mind and disembarked his family before the ships left. It seems there were also 19 Acadian men that were also on the ship. The naturalist on board later wrote a book about the journey.
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The ships arrived in the spring of 1764, and
Louis named the islands Malouines (in honor of St. Malo and the king).
That first settlement was located at Berkeley Sound in present-day Port Louis, East Falkland. The two Acadian families were unloaded with the livestock and supplies. Since there were no fenced-in areas, the animals had scattered by the morning. There were no trees, so building structures was difficult. They built Fort Louis in a hillside. Eighteen of the crew (including some of the Acadians, no doubt) remained with the 2 families.
|Here is a list of Acadians on the Aigle, which sailed on Sept. 9, 1763.
BOUDROT, Charles, son of François
BOUDROT, Charles, son of Jean
A second list included 2 family groups.
MERYEN, Guillaume, 34 yrs
BOURNEUF, Anne,, 23 yrs, wife
MERYEN, Jean,, 3 yrs, son
MERYEN, Sophie, 2, yrs, daughter
MERYEN, Mathurin, 18, yrs, Guillaume's brother
BOURNEUF, Jeanne, 22, yrs, Anne's sister
BOURNEUF, Sophie, 18, yrs, Anne's sister
BENOIST, Augustin, 24, yrs
TERRIOT, Françoise, 25, yrs, wife
BENOIST, Jean, Nicolas, 3 yrs, son
TERRIOT, Geneviève, 15 yrs, Françoise's sister
When the Guyana colony failed, the Acadians gained more interest in the
Malouines colony (which seemed to be succeeding). Another group of 53 colonists (some Acadians)
left St. Malo on the Aigle on Oct. 4, 1764. During the voyage, on Dec. 27, one of the Acadian women gave birth to a son. The ship arrived at Port Louis 9 days later.
Interstingly enough, Bougainville didn't realize the Falklands were two separate main islands divided by a body of water. Acadian Augustin Benoist proposed that theory.
It wasn’t long before England and Spain took
an interest in the colony and tried to establish ownership. After negotiations,
Bougainville transfered the colony to Spain on April 1, 1767. The settlers were given a choice to stay or be brought back to France by Spain. The majority of Acadians elected to return to France, though 10 of them joined Bougainville's crew for his journey around the world. Their journey was delayed, for the ships designated to bring them back were used to transport Jesuits instead. So the Acadians were still in the River Plate area in mid-1767.
Official French correspondence indicates that at least
three groups of Acadians made their way back to France from the south Atlantic
(in July 1769, June 1771, and May 1775). It is possible, though not known,
that some Acadians stayed behind in Montevideo and the Falklands to leave