The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions


297 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-3755-0
DDC 971.6'01




Reviewed by Margaret Conrad

Margaret Conrad is Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies at
the University of New Brunswick. She is the author of Atlantic Canada: A
Region in the Making, and co-author of Intimate Relations: Family and
Community in Planter Nova Scotia, 1759–


The capture of Quebec in 1759 is not the only 18th-century conquest with
both local and international implications. In 1710, a combined British,
colonial, and Aboriginal force captured Port Royal and, in 1713, Great
Britain assumed control over the French colony of Acadia, which was
renamed Nova Scotia by its conquerors. The region soon became the site
of a struggle for supremacy between Great Britain and France—the
latter ensconced at Louisbourg after 1719. For the Aboriginal peoples
and Acadians who lived in Mi’kmak’mi/Acadia/Nova Scotia, there
ensued a struggle for survival in a contested borderland.

Unlike many essay collections, this one benefits from collaboration
among the six highly respected scholars who worked as a team over
several years to produce a new treatment of their subject. The nine
essays in the volume provide benchmark details of the event, but also
explore its larger 18th-century context and long-term significance. By
taking a multi-layered approach, the authors reveal the “delicate
equilibrium” that developed in the region following the conquest and
trace the negotiated relationships among the principal groups vying for
security and/or ascendancy. This careful weaving of multiple
perspectives (new approaches to the history of Aboriginal peoples and of
state formation are particularly in evidence) produces a wealth of
thoughtful insights on the conquest and its consequences. We learn, for
example, that the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet had their own seasonal rhythms
that shaped their military activities; that Acadians were not the
homogeneous “neutral French,” as is often claimed; and that the
significance of the conquest is not just local or preliminary to other
more important developments elsewhere but central to a cultural and
political realignment that was taking place in the North Atlantic world.

These essays will long be the definitive treatment of the conquest of
1710 and its aftermath. My only quibble is that the activities of
authorities in Quebec and Louisbourg, which are frequently referenced
here, could well be the focus of a separate essay dedicated to exploring
how this conquest offers new perspectives on French colonial policy in
the early 18th century.


Reid, John G., et al., “The 'Conquest' of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 18, 2024,