History of the Region
Many reasons can explain the development of Acadia of the Lands and Forests community. All Acadians initially came from Europe. From the time they first arrived until the Deportation, the Acadian population was concentrated in Nova Scotia which, was known, at the time, as Acadia.
The Great Upheaval in 1755 and the deportations that followed dispersed the Acadians all over the world. They arrived in Madawaska in 1785. There, they settled in three main regions. Several factors explain why Acadia of the Lands and Forests was populated by Acadians and still is to this day.
The American Revolutionary War forced Loyalists to go north, which pushed the Acadian population to where it is today. The population of Nova Scotia doubled when the Loyalists arrived in the region. The year after the creation of New-Brunswick in 1974, many Acadians traveled to Madawaska by going up the St-John River. At the time, Maine was still par of Massachusetts.
That was a key moment for modern Acadia and its location. The arrival of Loyalists and the creation of New-Brunswick are directly linked with the creation of Saint-Basile, the cradle of Madawaska. Later, the Acadian population would establish itself in the surrounding regions.
It important to remember that the frontier between Maine and New-Brunswick was only established definitively in 1842 with the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.
The territory was originally occupied by the Maliseet Indians. They lived all around the St-Lawrence River in an area that covered parts of both provinces and Maine. The location provided easy access to natural resources like wood and water. Therefore, it is not surprising that both the Malisseet and the Acadians chose to settle there and live in peace.
In Témiscouata, many settlers came from Acadia because of postal services and the governor of Quebec. Indeed, the Acadians traveled north to work on the Portage Road which was constructed to improve the postal services. Land was also offered for colonisation purposes, as well as a means to facilitate the exploitation of wood industries and railroads. Other Acadians fled to Témiscouata after the Deportation. Some stayed there, some went to Cacouna, and others settled in Kamouraska. To this day, there are still many Acadians living in those regions.
Other Acadians chose to go to the United-States, either to escape from the Deportation, to claim land that they obtained or to migrate in search of better living conditions. Maine’s population expanded in that way. The colonisation factors are very similar for the three regions of Acadia of the Lands and Forests. The economy, war and frontiers played a great role in the social, economic and political development of the regions that we know and live in today.
Later, forest resources lured many American entrepreneurs and helped the growth of the Maine population. Another important factor is the Webster-Ashburton Treaty which was mentioned earlier. It created two distinct territories and consequently divided the two populations that now lived in two different political jurisdictions. The St-John River and the Long Lake set the border between Maine and the Canadian provinces. This was a terrible loss for the inhabitants of the region, who saw their people and their hometowns divided.