The Acadian communities of Nova Scotia are as diverse as the geographical areas of the province itself. For our purposes, we will focus on the Acadian region of Argyle.
The colonization of Acadia begins with an expedition directed by Henri IV and Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts being chosen to lead it. Two ships, Bonne Renommée and Le Don de Dieu, were subsequently loaded, one of which, Le Don de Dieu, had a notable passenger: a young man named Samuel de Champlain who was making his second voyage to North America. In 1604 they landed on an island that was dubbed Île Sainte Croix, establishing a permanent settlement. However, after a grueling winter, they chose to move the headquarters, founding Port Royal.
By 1632, with the end of the war between France and Britain, Acadia, which had been under British rule, was conceded to the French. A man named Charles de LaTour was given control of Acadia from the Cape Sable region to the Saint John River.
N.B. The history of the name “Acadia” is interesting to note. In 1542, Italian explorer Verazzano named part of the eastern coast of North America “Arcadia”, after the pastoral region of Ancient Greece immortalized in many poems. That coastal region is what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and part of Maine. Many believe this to be the origin of the name “Acadia”. Others believe the name came from the Native American word “Quoddy” or “Cadie” (a French adaptation to a Native American word meaning fertile place).
In 1651, after having spent many years in France, de LaTour returned to Cape Sable, bringing several families with him, notably that of Philippe Mius d’Entremont, who arrived in Pubnico in the month of August. These people are the ancestors of most of the Acadians of our region.
After gaining control of Acadia in 1713, the British government demanded that the Acadians swear allegiance to the British Crown; their adamant refusal resulted in their exile, beginning in 1755 and lasting through to 1762. Our region was affected in 1758.
In 1764, the Acadians were given permission to return to Acadia. Surette’s Island was settled that year. However, it would only be in 1766 that some Acadian families from Cape Sable returned home. In 1771, eighteen Acadian families applied for land and were granted “Licenses of Occupation” on both sides of Pubnico Harbour. In 1767, certain families settled in Wedgeport. From 1767 on, the area of Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau and Belleville were settled. The Acadians of the region of Argyle are all descendants of these founding families.
The Argyle region was formerly known as Cape Sable and encompassed a much larger area than it does today. In fact, it once extended from Cape Negro (Baccaro) through Chebogue. The present Cape Sable is situated on a small island at the southern extremity of Cape Sable Island, in Shelburne County.