"An Unsettled Conquest: The British Campaign Against the Peoples of Acadia"


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Geoffrey Plank
256 pages, 17 black-and-white
illustrations, $29.95 cloth

Through much of the 18th century, the former French colony of Acadia permanently renamed Nova Scotia by the British when they began an ambitious occupation of the territory in 1710 experienced bitter struggles for sovereignty.

Whereas in other parts of its North American empire Britain assumed it could garner the sympathies of fellow European populations against the natives, in Nova Scotia nothing was farther from the truth. The native Mikmaq people and the Acadians, descendants of the original French settlers, had coexisted for more than a hundred years prior to the British conquest. Their friendships, family ties, common Catholic religion and commercial relationships proved resistant to British-enforced change. The authorities took drastic steps in the 1750s, forcibly deporting the Acadians to other British colonies and systematically decimating the remaining native population.

The story of the removal of the Acadians who settled throughout the eastern United States and whose most famous descendants are the Cajuns of Louisiana and the subsequent oppression of the Mikmaq has never been completely told. In this first comprehensive, in-depth history of these events, Geoffrey Plank, associate professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, skillfully unravels the complex relationships of all the groups involved.

An Unsettled Conquest, the latest offering in Penn Presss Early American Studies series, edited by History Professor Daniel K. Richter, shows how the unique circumstances of Nova Scotia provided the British with the incentive and, in the 1750s, the opportunity to implement proposals that had been debated and rejected in other parts of the empire, leading to one of the most infamous events in North American history.

University of Pennsylvania Press

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Originally published on October 26, 2000