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Exile Destination: St.Pierre & Miquelon
 
 
     The first Acadians to reach St. Pierre and Miquelon came from Cape Breton in 1758.  After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the Acadians were told that they had 18 months to relocate to French soil.  The French govermnent recognized that St. Pierre and Miquelon would soon be faced with new settlers.  In order to keep things under contral, they agreed to support only 300 Acadians.  The new governor (Dangeac) and the 300 sailed from Rochefort on the Garonne and arrived in 1763.  The governor also supplied the legitimate settlers with fishing equipment.  But they were soon joined by others. 
     Since St. Pierre and Miquelon were the last French colonies left in North America after the treaty, hundreds of Acadians sailed there from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New England.  From 1763 to 1767, other Acadians came from French Atlantic cities.  But the small islands didn’t have the resources to support them all, especially as farmers. 
     In October 1763, 116 Acadians arrived from Boston.  They were followed in August of 1764, by 100 Acadians (from Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, the Isthmus of Chignecto, and Chedabouctou) who had been imprisoned in Nova Scotian forts before sailing to Miquelon.  In October of 1765, 111 Acadians from Prince Edward Island and Halifax also migrated to Miquelon.  That same month, 72 Acadians from Beausejour made it to the islands.  Acadians (about 50) on a French fishing fleet jumped ship at St. Pierre at about the same time. 
     Dangeac tried to get the new Acadian settlers to move to Guiana, but the tropical climate terrified the Acadians and they refused to go.  They built meager homes, consisting of spruce stakes stuck in the ground and covered with sod.  The chimneys were made of clay, mud, and hay.  There wasn’t enough building materials to construct sturdy homes for everyone. 
     Finally, Dangeac had enough.  When 72 Acadians arrived in November of 1765, he sent 43 of them to Nantes, France.  He communicated the problem to France, and the unauthorized Acadian settlers were ordered to go to Acadia (Nova Scotia) or France.  The didn’t want to return to Acadia.  Some said they would go to Louisiana, but nothing became of it.  Actually, 14 from this group eventually made it to Louisiana aboard the seven ships in 1785. 
    
     From October to December of 1767, 763 people (almost all Acadians) left the islands.  Most (586) went to France, while the rest (163) went to Acadian (actually, to Cape Breton Island, Ile Madame, and Cocagne). 
     After the island population was drastically reduced, the merchants began to speak up ... saying how the island could support more if they engaged themselves in the fishing industry.  So 240 Acadians at St. Malo and Rochefort asked the French government to reconsider their position.  In 1768, Choiseul said okay, and allowed a limited number of them to return (if they were self-supporting and would pay their own transportion).  Two Acadian schooners brought 103 Acadians back to the islands.  The South Carolina Gazette (Feb. 1, 1768) has an article from London that quotes an Oct. 9 letter from Parish that stated:
          "They write from Brest, that a ship is arrived there, on hoard of which were brought, from the Island of St. Pierre and M'quslon. 80 Acadians , who make 15 families, which were ordered by the ministry to be brought to France, on account of the misery they were reduced to, and the handships they suffered from the English on account of the cod fishery."
      The Creole sailed from Rochefort carrying 37 Acadians; it arrived at Miquelon on May 5, 1768.  The Louise carried 66 more, arriving on June 23, 1768.  Choiseul later agreed to transport them for free, and 219 more made the trip. 
     The Acadians tried to raise livestock, but it proved to be a failure.  When the demand for codfish increased, they were able to improve their situation.  By 1776, the population of St. Pierre and Miquelon was 1894. 
     Trouble returned in 1778, when France declared war on England.  The Acadians on St. Pierre and Miquelon were herded onto ships as their settlements were destroyed. They were sent to France, where they lived on welfare in the port towns of St. Malo, La Rochelle, Cherbourg, Rochefort, and Nantes.  After the peace treaty in 1783, 1250 Acadians asked to return to St. Pierre and Miquelon.  In 1783, 510 Acadians returned to the islands, and 713 followed the next year. 
     The settlements were rebuilt, and the cod fishing industry was resumed.  Acadians and Frenchmen from the continent even traveled there to work during the summers.  But with success came yet another invasion.  On May 14, 1793, a small British force raided the island and sent the small French garrison and non-resident fisherman to Halifax. From there, they were sent to France ... arriving in mid 1794. 
     The resident Acadian fisherman were told to work for the English, but they refused.  So the English decided to expel all of them.  But before they could, about 32 Acadian families left for Iles Madeleine (1793).  More (360) Acadians sailed for Ile 
Madame.  In September 1796, the remaining Acadians on the islands were sent to Halifax.  They were placed in nearby fishing villages and forced to work on English fishing boats in the Grand Banks. 
     Finally, in July of 1796, the government said they could go to France.  In July 1797, a number of them sailed to Bordeaux in France.  The following month, more Acadians sailed to Le Havre. 
     When a treaty was made in 1814, hundreds of Acadians returned to St. Pierre and Miquelon.  By 1820, there were 800 Acadians on the islands. 
LINKS:
• Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
The 1755 Exile
The 1758 Exile
The "End" of the Exile
Exile Destinations
England | Quebec | New Brunswick | Prince Edward Island | Nova Scotia | France
St. Domingue | Martinique | French Guiana | Falkland Islands | St. Pierre & Miquelon | Louisiana
American Colonies
Connecticut | Georgia | Maryland | Massachusetts | New York | Pennsylvania | South Carolina
Copyright © 1997-10 Tim Hebert