When you consider Nova Scotia’s gorgeous rugged coastline, quaint seaside villages, cool climate, vast boreal forest, and general love for lobster, you may think it’s New England on steroids. But while a New Englander will indeed feel at home here, the most interesting thing about this and Canada’s other Maritime Provinces (also: Maine) is the thing that sets it apart from anywhere else in the world: its fascinating, enduring, and heartbreaking Acadian history.

In a nutshell, the Acadians are the descendants of the French colonists who settled in this area centuries ago and were, in 1755, during the French and Indian War (Seven Years War), forcibly deported en masse by the British—largely because the Acadians refused to swear allegiance to the British crown. They were scattered across several North American colonies (including French Louisiana, where they’d become known as Cajuns); by the time they were able to return to what’s now Nova Scotia, they found their homes gone and their farmland occupied, so they had to learn to live in less hospitable, rockier, more isolated parts of the province.  

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