IMPORTANT DATES IN CAJUN HISTORY

Throughout history, the people known as “Acadians” have faced many trials. While in Canada, the British demanded they swear allegiance to the British flag, then expelled them when they refused. Almost 200 years later, the Acadians thought they found a safe home in Louisiana- then were shamed and punished for speaking their native language. Thankfully, Louisianans learned to love and embrace their Acadian French heritage. Today, “Cajun” culture is celebrated and cherished. Here’s a timeline of trials and triumphs of the Acadian people and their descendents:

1632 – The first families of settlers arrive in Acadie (present-day Nova Scotia) from France. Most come from the same community, Poitou, and were encouraged to settle in France’s newly acquired colony, “New France.”

1713 – After a century of conflict, the French sign the Treaty of Utrecht, ceding Acadie to the British. The colony is renamed Nova Scotia.

August 10, 1755 – Le Grand Dérangement, also known as the “Great Upheaval” or the “Great Expulsion”, begins. The British forced thousands of Acadians out of the present-day Nova Scotia. Many are sent to France and various colonies along the East coast. The Acadians had refused to take an unconditional oath to the British, which would have forced them to take up arms against the French.

1785 – Approximately 1,600 French Acadians (on seven ships) arrive in the Spanish colony of Louisiana, the largest such group to arrive at one time. Spain paid for their transit because the settlers shared a common faith (Catholicism) and would provide protection from British invasion. The Spanish had taken possession of Louisiana from France in 1763.

Acadians

“The Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana” by Robert Dafford.

1794 – Following the end of the French Revolution, French immigrants arrive in Louisiana in waves. After reacquiring Louisiana in 1800, Napoleon later sells the colony to the United States in 1803. Statehood comes 8 years later.

1915 – Louisiana’s State Education Committee removes the French language from Louisiana schools. Several schools punish students for speaking French.

1928 – Joe Falcon and Cléoma Breaux make the first audio recording of Cajun music, “Allons à Lafayette.”

1941 – World War II begins. Many young Cajuns and Creoles leave home for the first time and prove to be valuable as French translators.

1955 – 200th anniversary of Le Grand Dérangement. State Senator Dudley LeBlanc serves as liaison between the “two Acadies” — Acadiana, and Acadie (Nova Scotia). He arranges one of the first voyages of a large group of Cajuns to their ancestral land to commemorate the anniversary.

1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, skin color, religion, sex or nationality — a very important step in the preservation of Cajun culture.

1968 – CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) is founded to preserve French language in Louisiana.

1969 – The first French and Québecois language teachers arrive in Louisiana.

1974 – The first “Hommage à la musique acadienne” is held, later becoming Lafayette’s annual “Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.”

1976 – The first Cajun French book is published, “Lâche pas la patate,” by Revon Reed.

1978 – By request of a group of students, Louisiana State University offers its first Cajun French course taught by Ulysse Ricard.

1980 – Cris sur le Bayou, the first collection of Cajun poetry, is published.

1983 – Calcasieu Parish is the first to launch a French Immersion Program in elementary schools. Assumption, St. Martin, Lafayette, Acadia, Orleans, St. Landry, Baton Rouge and Iberia parishes later follow.

1994 – The University of Louisiana at Lafayette begins the first doctorate program for French Studies in North America.

1995 – The First Congrès Mondial Acadien, a festival of Acadian and Cajun culture and history, is held.

1998 – LSU launches a Cajun French undergraduate program.

2010 – The Dictionary of Louisiana French is published.

Dictionary of Louisiana French

Dictionary of Louisiana French

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One Response to “Important Dates in Cajun History”

  1. April 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm, Lou Maciel said:

    CE TRES BEAUCOUP QUE LE DICTIONNAIRE ARRIVER AU LOUISIANA . L:o)u

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