French Migrations to Acadia:An Old Lifestyle in a New Setting

Author(s): Birgitta Wallace

Year: 2014


According to David Anthony (1990), the first stages of all long-distance migrations follow a leapfrogging pattern. Merchants, trappers, mercenaries and craft specialists create an “island” form of settlement in suitable locations separated by large stretches of land. The early French habitations reflected such a leapfrogging, exploratory settlement pattern, indicative of their exploitive and competitive nature. Settlements consisted of habitations in widely scattered coastal locations. Their primary economic basis was the fur trade coupled with the fishery. Owned and operated by members of the French aristocracy, the habitations were sponsored by cartels which maintained close ties with the French court. Competition between individual habitation owners resulted in conflict, each habitation being fortified and armed against the others. The lecture will focus on two 17th-century habitations excavated by Parks Canada at St. Peters and Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia. Instead of the family-based settlement pattern fostered by the British in New England, the habitations contained a transitory work and defensive force involving chiefly of work-age males.

Cite this Record

French Migrations to Acadia:An Old Lifestyle in a New Setting. Birgitta Wallace. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437032)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-49,01