Stewardship and management

Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence National Historic Sites

Beaubassin was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2005 because: the village was a major Acadian settlement on the Isthmus of Chignecto, a pivotal place in the 17th and 18th century North American geopolitical struggle between the British and French empires; the site’s archaeological features, deposits, and artifacts attest to the Acadian occupation and way of life at Beaubassin and speak to the destruction of the village, a prelude to the final clash of the two empires in Acadia for the control of North America.

Beaubassin was a major Acadian settlement founded between 1671 and 1672 on the Isthmus of Chignecto Isthmus, a significant place in the 17th and 18th century territorial disputes between the British and the French. The village, where residents farmed, raised livestock and were involved in shipbuilding, lay at the heart of a vast trading network encompassing Île Royale, Nova Scotia and New England. In the spring of 1750, the Governor of Nova Scotia, General Edward Cornwallis, ordered Major Charles Lawrence to push the French troops out of the Chignecto region, and in late spring, Lawrence landed with 400 men in the swamps west of Beaubassin. Lawrence was unable to take the Beaubassin Ridge, but nevertheless witnessed the burning of Beaubassin – apparently by the French themselves. The burning of Beaubassin and the militarization of the Isthmus by the French and the British radically changed the geopolitical situation because, soon thereafter, the Acadians fled en masse to French territory or, locally, to refuge on Beauséjour Ridge. Although modern agricultural buildings and homes have impacted the archaeological resources, much of the land is still agricultural or marshland. The pastured fields of the former Beaubassin village contain good archaeological evidence of the Acadian occupation.

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