1997-411 | Evangeline The Place, the Story and the Poem
Evangeline The Place, the Story and the Poem
1880, 19th century
2.4 x 33.5 x 44.3 cm
Gift of Laurie Landry
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
Keys to History
The joy of the betrothal of Gabriel and Evangeline does not last long. On the very day of the celebration, English soldiers arrive. They had been preparing to take the village for a few days, their ships anchored offshore.
Men from all around Minas Basin are summoned to the Grand Pré church, where they are taken prisoner. They are told that their property is being confiscated by the British Crown and that they and their families will be deported. Victims of the war between France and England, the Acadians find themselves in a tragic situation. The two powers were locked in a struggle for the control of North America, which would eventually lead to the Conquest and, at the same time, to the Seven Years' War.
The deportation of the Acadians from Grand Pré began with the forced exile of the men and boys imprisoned in the church; the women, children and elderly men followed later. This brutal action resulted in the separation of many families, who became scattered throughout the English colonies along the American Atlantic seaboard. Gabriel is separated from his fiancée, Evangeline, and she, too, is deported shortly thereafter. Grand Pré was then destroyed as the houses and barns were burned to the ground. The other Acadian villages suffered the same fate.
This 1897 engraving illustrating the embarkation of the Acadians for exile was published in Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie.
It was widely reproduced and hung in numerous Acadian homes. Many copies are still extant, and public inquiries about them are quite frequent.
The deportation of the Acadians occurred in two main waves, one in 1755 and the other in 1758, but it went on until 1763.
This engraving was done by the artist Frank Dicksee (1853-1928).