Cumberland County Heritage Network Society

Friday, July 31, 2009

Do you know about... Beaubassin

An Acadian Homestead, painting by Nova Scotia Museum artist Azor Vienneau

Today there is little sign of the village of Beaubassin that once lay by the Missaguash River at the boarder of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Green hayfields and pasture lands have now replaced this once thriving community, but almost 340 years ago it was a much different place.
In 1672, Jacques Bourgeois and other settlers from Port Royal traveled up the Bay of Fundy and found a rich land, perfect of settlement on the largest salt water marsh on the Atlantic coast, a marsh we know today as the Tantramar. The community quickly prospered due to the hard work of the Acadians; the marshes were dyked and drained and farms soon dotted the land and spread beyond to other communities along the Isthmus of Chignecto such as Minudie, River Hebert, Nappan, Maccan and Aulac. Over the years Beaubassin grew in importance and eventually became the centre of local government in 1684. In 1696, and again in 1704, the settlement was attacked and burned by New Englanders. However, on each occasion, the village was immediately rebuilt. But then in 1750, the wars between the French and English were reaching a climax; the village was destroyed for the final time which foreshadowed the eventual expulsion of the Acadians.

Acadians Dyking the Marsh, painting by Nova Scotia Museum artist Azor Vienneau

In the summer of 2004, Parks Canada acquired some 107 acres, on today’s Fort Lawrence Ridge - including part of the historic village of Beaubassin. On July 7, 2005, it was designated a National Historic Site.

This summer Parks Canada is continuing their archaeological dig on the site of Beaubassin and have began to uncover new insights on the people who lived there. The dig continues Thursdays to Sundays until August 16th. If you would like to participate, call Fort Beausejour-Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada at 506-364-5080

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