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Life in Acadia

At the onset of the colonization, the major concern for the Acadians was survival in a hostile environment. They provided for themselves through farming, trading(sometimes illegally), and fishing. Despite these activities, life was very difficult and colonists died from scurvy, infections, and malnutrition.

With the cooperation of the local Indians, called the Micmacs, the Acadians were better able to adapt to the land and survival became somewhat easier for subsequent generations. The Acadians focused their attention more on the family, their crops and religion which they held very dear.

The majority of the Acadians lived by farming and depended entirely on the fertile land for their livelihood. They developed an innovative method of turning the salt marshes into arable land by the use of a dike system. Although Acadians knew little of the luxuries of life, their prosperous farms also assured that they would be spared the ravages of famine.

During the first half of the 18th century, the Acadian birth rate was relatively high and the child mortality rate was low. This period of Acadian history ( 1680- 1740 ) is known as the Golden Age of Acadia. Large families were not uncommon, the Girouard family was no exception. Often many generations lived under one roof, the Girouard's built a number of homes in what was called Girouard Village, in what is now called Tupperville, Nova Scotia. Besides these blood ties, the community was also close knit through marriage links. It often happened that brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles chose life partners from the same lineage as that of another family. For example, Doucets, Martins Godets often married Girouards etc.

Family ties and the Catholic religion also played an important role in the lives of Acadians. The Acadians always had a special place in their hearts for the Catholic faith and its clergy. Both of which were key elements of the social fabric before and after the deportation.

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