Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos et Centre de recherche

Giovanni da Verrazzano

The first known European to coin the term Acadia or Arcadia was Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528). The name came to him from one of two possible sources. One would be his meetings with a native who used the word "quoddy" or "cadie" to describe what Verrazzano understood to be the territory surrounding them. The second possible origin of the word would be from Greek or Roman classics, where the word Arcadia is used to describe a pastoral paradise. Verrazzano, impressed with the beauty of his surroundings, may have recalled the name from these works.

During the next decades, Acadia was the name given to the land that stretched from present-day New Jersey to Nova Scotia. The name Larcadia first appeared on a 1548 map by Giacomo Gastaldi. He located it near what is now Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It later appears on a 1566 map by the Italian cartographer Bolognino Zalttieri. He placed it where Nova Scotia is today, seven decades before the French began settling there. In 1575, the French historian André Thevet changed the name to Arcadie.

Information on this page is from the website Acadian Odyssey