Settlers from France were the first Europeans to settle in the land they called "Acadia". These people became known as Acadians. Acadia was the name the French gave to what we now know as Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and parts of New Brunswick, the Gaspé Peninsula and Maine. Over time, this group of farming people grew into a culture with rich traditions, customs and folklore that was uniquely their own.
Acadia was in an important geographic position. Its territory controlled the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and was close to valuable fishing grounds, shipping routes and the British colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. It is not surprising that the French and British were constantly battling for control of it.
The colony was located mostly along the southeastern shore of the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy), which today is the Annapolis Valley area of Nova Scotia. Port-Royal was the first real settlement in Acadia and became the capital of the colony. Between 1755 and 1763, thousands of Acadians were forced from their homes and shipped off to other parts of the continent, and to Europe. Although they lost their land, homes and possessions, they were able to hold onto their culture. Many Acadians eventually returned, and continue to live in the Maritimes today. Acadians are now recognized as a unique cultural group. Descendants of Acadians also live in various parts of the United States.