Cajun History, told by an old cajun........

found on the internet by Ron van Doorneveld

It is now in style to be Cajun, everywhere you look that is someone or
something claiming to be Cajun. It doesn't matter what State you are in you will find some cajun food or cajun music. 

Just listen to me folks, just because it says Cajun, it don't make it so. The only place you can get real CAJUN COOKING IS IN CAJUN COUNTRY, unless your cook is a REAL CAJUN. What you need to do is asked him his name, who his parents are, and where is he from. 
After that ask him for his birth certificate, and his parents birth
certificate. Look it over real good, it might be forged.
Why even China is trying to get in on it. They are sending crawfish to the USA and trying to sell it as cajun crawfish!!
The package even looks like it is cajun. I believe it is re-packed in
Louisiana by foreigners (people from another state or a non-cajun).
Just turn that package of crawfish over and look, it says a product of China. JUST HOW LOW CAN YOU GET !!!!

In 1884 in Brunswick, Canada the Acadian people adopted "Our Lady Of The  Assumption" as the patroness of the Acadian people.
A fact ratifed by Pope Pius X.
August 15 is celebrated as her feast day. The song "Ave Marie " was
picked as their National Hymn. A flag was adopted with the French tricolor to which a yellow star was added in the blue field. The star represents "Our Lady Of The Assumption.


You cannot write Cajun history without writing their Religious history.


When some of the first French people went to Nova Scotia it was under
French rule. Many left France for a better place to live or for new land, who knows all the reasons.
When they first came to Canada it was not because of  religion. The
first recorded confirmation of French fishing vessel was in 1504 off the Banks of New Foundland.
King Francis I in 1515 pulled a strategic marriage, incorporating the
independent duchy of Britain into metropolitan  France. By the 1550s the St. Lawrence River as far as Tadoussac was visited by French fur Traders.
Maps that were publish in 1548 identified the peninsula of Nova Scotia as "L'Arcadie". Forty-nine fishing ships from La Rochelle, France, were fishing the Grand Banks by the year 1560.
In the 1525 to 1598 the religious and political cultural conflict suggest the motivation for more French immigration to the new world.
The wars that were going on in France strained the economy and it is very hard to say which person left for what reason.

In 1603 King Henri IV of France sent expeditions to set up a permanent
fishing and trading post at Tadoussac.
Most of the French settlers came to Canada at that time.
In 1603 the first permanent fishing and trading base was started on the Grand Banks. King Heri IV of France granted colonization rights
between the 40th and 46th parallels, what we now know as New England and Nova Scotia.

In 1605 the colonist, supplies and two building were move to a more
protected area of the Annapolis Basin. They drew up plans for a fort like wooden buildings surrounding a courtyard. The settlement was named Port Royal, one of the first permanent settlements in North America. Now Ainnapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
Those first French people became known as ACADIANS.

King Henri IV was assassinated in 1610. By than French claims on Acadia
lands were not recognized by England. The colonies were continually contested by both
the French and the English.
In late 1613 Port Royal was destroyed by a English military
expedition from Virginia led by Samuel Argall, a Virginia pirate.
The colonists fled into the hills, those who survived lived with the indians continuing a haphazard fur trade with France.
You might note that it was not till 1620 the Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth
Rock. In 1632 it was then given back to the French by King Charles I of England.

The Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye was signed and a renewed period of French colonization followed. In 1681, La Salle, a former Jesuit from Quebec set sail down the Mississippi River to the Gulf looking for new land. He named the new land he found Louisiana in honor of his king.
Sir William Phips in 1690 led an expedition that sacked Port
Royal. Prisoners were taken and brought to Boston. In 1699 Iberville and Bienville Exploring along the Gulf Coast entered Louisiana's Lake Pontchartain and went inland as far north as Baton Rouge.
They brought the first Jesuit (member of the men's Roman Catholic
Society of Jesus) with them.

In 1713 the French government sold out the Acadians to the British by
giving Nova Scotia (Acadia) back to Great Britain. The British took the Acadians lands by force, harassing and persecution the Acadians in many ways. They tried to force them to bear arms against France and renounce  their Catholic faith. 
The Acadians refused to do so, and many left and journeyed to the Louisiana Territory.

In 1727 King George I of England died and was succeeded by King George II who passionately hated both the French and the Catholics. To understand why the English hated the Catholics and French so much you have to know a little history of The Church.
In the year 1532 King Henry VII had broken away from the Roman Catholic Church because the Pope would not approve the divorce he wanted.
At that time the King started his own church the "Church of England". In 1534, the Act of Supremacy made the king head of the Church of England.

In 1754 some people fled Canada and Nova Scotia and traveled overland
and down the Mississippi River to Louisiana. May and June of 1755 Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence secretly plotted the details of the cruel deportation of the Cajuns.
On October 8 to the 27 in the year of 1755 the British began a cruel and systematic program of deportation. In 1758 Louisbourg fell, refugees found along the St. John River and Cape Sable were also rounded up for deportation. In 1759 Quebec fell.
As many as 5,000 were deported to the 13 original British Colonies, which had laws outlawing all Catholics within their borders. (it was 1776 before they adopted the Declaration of Independence).

The refugees being French, Catholic and penniless found nothing but
hatred awaiting them there. They were not even allowed to get off the ship. Some did manage to get off the ship and made their way back to Acadia. Others found safety in the French Islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe and St. Dominique.
Some Acadians found refuge and evaded capture by living among the friendly Indians. The other Cajuns captured were brought to England as prisoners of war and put in concentration camps.
Some 1,500 Cajuns that were not sent to England were sent to Virginia instead as prisoners of war, then later expelled.
652 were imprisoned in Halifax, out of the 652, there were only 216 survivors.
On May 18, 1756 the Seven Year War began and the English were forced to dump many refugees in Maryland, The Carolinas and Georgia. Most of these refugees set out for Louisiana.
Some of the Acadians were sent out to sea where they set sail for Louisiana stopping where they could to get supplies.
As many as 1/4 of the deportees died on the way, either from shipwreck, epidemic or starvation.

In the Treaty of 1763 France ceded all their Canadian lands and territories east of the Mississippi to Great Britain.
All French military and most civilians move west of the Mississippi to
French Louisiana.
By the end of 1763 some 2,342 Acadian refugees were scattered among ten French port cities.
The 1764 census showed that that were still 1,762 Acadians in Nova
Scota. 1,076 of them were imprisoned in Halifax, and many of them eventually set sail for the French West Indies.
They later migrated to Louisiana. With the end of the war the
prisoners that were held in concentration camps in England were liberated on May 16, 1763.

Starting on May 16, 1763, refugees were shipped out to different places.
May 16, 1763 340 shipped, 218 survivors
May 26, 1763 341 shipped, 160 survivors
May 26, 1763 (??) shipped, 138 survivors
June 8, 1763 (??) shipped, 217 survivors
On December 29, 1763 Maryland refugees wrote of slavery and such
hardship, that out of the 2,000 that had made it to Maryland there were only 810 left.
Most of these survivors went to St. Gabriel, which was south of Baton Rouge.

The Acadian refugees in Pennsylvania and Georgia wrote how, many of
their children were kidnapped or sold outright to slavery.
That they had not been allowed confession or any other religious rights for as long as eight years.
The Acadians that made it to South Louisiana, found much of the best land was already owned by the French and Spanish settlers who came earlier.
The great majority of them were given traveling direction only and ordered to leave the New Orleans area.
These Acadians made their way to the less accessible back country of the Opelousas and Attakapas Indians.

Here the Acadians lived relatively isolated and undisturbed for years.

By 1790 over 4,000 Acadian refugees had relocated in Louisiana.
In 1810 another 6,000 Acadian refugees arrived, fleeing the West
Indies' political turmoil.
Over the years those areas where most of them settled became
known as Acadiana Parishes.
Today there are 22 Acadian Parishes which are Acadia, Ascensions, Assumption, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville,
Jeferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche. Point Coupee, St. Landry, St.
Martin, St. James, St. John The Baptist, St. Charles, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion and West Baton Rouge.


I tried my best to get the years and history correct, I hope I did.
It was just such slow work and my old eyes aren't that good.
The Acadia people never did give up their Catholic faith, and many were killed because of it.
It was a holocaust of the persecution of many French people of Catholic Faith.
As I write of how the Acadia people survived I see how strong a people they were. They were harassed, killed, their land and children taken
from them all because of their faith, I can't help but think could I
have stood fast to my Catholic faith?
Could anyone stand fast to any faith under these condition?
Without ignoring the number of Spaniards, Germans and Italians who came to Louisiana during the 18th century we can say with pride that it was the Acadiana families that made Louisiana Territory what it was. They were hard working, land loving,  stable Acadian families that made the territory a stable and prosperous Colony.
For more than a hundred years their lives remained almost unchanged. The Acadians raised large families and preserved their French language, traditions and culture.
The Acadians had always lived near the Sea but now they were spread out all over south Louisiana.
Their French language was inadequate in this area. There were all this new vegetation and wild animals they had never seen or heard of before.
They had to develop a new vocabulary for all the things that touched their daily lives. They used words that may have heard from Indians
or Spaniards or maybe the way something looked reminded of a French
The Acadians put all this together and a new language and culture was born.
After many years the word Acadian was shortened to "CAJUN". They used their new language and culture while preserving their Acadian memories.
The first public schools for Cajuns was establish in 1875, but compulsory education was not adopted until 1922.
From 1930 to 1960 no French or Cajun speaking was allowed on public school grounds in Louisiana.
The French and Cajun language did not return to Louisiana school till
The establishment of "Le Conseil pour le Development de Francais en
Louisiane" (CODOFIL) brought French back to the Louisiana schools.
It just might have been to late to save the language.
It was too late for me anyway. I can read a little of the
Cajun French language but not really like I would want to.
When I started school I spoke just Cajun French, but was not allowed to speak French on the school grounds. I had to learn a new language
I was the oldest at home so I taught my Mother and younger
sisters to speak English. By the time my 3 younger sisters started school they spoke no French at all. They couldn't even understand it.
It is a sad thing that they never did learn the beautiful Cajun
French language.
By now I have almost forgotten it all, and when I hear someone
speaking the Cajun French I have to listen real careful to understand