The Acadians Through Maps

Map Analysis

Duration: at least one 60-minute period


Initiate students to map analysis by using population maps of Acadie in the 18th and 19th centuries. The students will have to find the date for five population maps and offer a hypothesis to answer an analysis question.


  • Present the intended learning results.
  • Present the proposed activity:
    • Setting:
      • Many French families started settling in Acadie in the middle of the 17th century. Approximately 14,000 of their descendants were directly affected by the Deportation of the Acadians between 1755 and 1764. Some of the deportees chose to return to Acadie after 1764, rejoining families who had escaped in the woods as well as prisoners who had been detained in the region's various British forts. These Acadians resettled in the Atlantic region and laid the foundation for a new Acadie.
    • Start-up question:
      • How different was the geography of the Acadian settlements before and after the Deportation of 1755?
    • Essential elements to answer the start-up question:
      • Material seen in class;
      • History section;
      • The maps of the Acadian population in 1713, 1754, 1757, 1763 and 1803;
      • The answer sheet.
    • Example of questions to guide the students' thought processes:
      • In which region did the first French families settle in when they arrived in Acadie in around the middle of the 17th century?
      • Do you think that geography influenced the choice of where to settle? How?
      • What else also influenced the geography of the settlements in Acadie between the 17th and 19th centuries (natural population increase, seizure of land by British settlers…)?
  • Additional information for the teacher:
    • An activity with place names can be incorporated in the analysis of the maps. For more information, see the Web site 400 ans de présence française au Canada, 1604-2004, L'Acadie par les cartes section: Population. Note: This Web site contains maps that are similar to those in this activity; the students should not be made aware of them.


  • Ask the students to complete the task:
    • How to answer the start-up question:
      • Before starting the activity, the student can consult the History section. Note: There are no texts on the site dealing directly with this question. The students will find elements of the answer throughout the History section.
      • The rest of the activity can be done in class by printing the maps.
      • Then the students have to do the practical exercise provided: dating the five maps.
      • In a class discussion, lead the students to formulate a hypothesis about the start-up question. They can note the hypotheses on their answer sheets.
    • To complete the proposed analysis:
      • At different times during the analysis, draw the students' attention to the historical method used to formulate the hypothesis:
        • What are the elements of the historical method used to formulate the hypothesis?
          • Define the problem and clarify the research question.
          • Document analysis in order to identify the historical elements necessary for the answer.
          • Make the students see what is missing for them to complete the task.
          • Critique the information.


  • Make the student realise what he/she has learned and the method that has led to this new knowledge:
    • Does the student have the impression that he/she has accomplished the task and has learned something (knowledge and method)?
  • Question the students on their method:
    • Had they ever used the historical method before?
    • Would they be able to use it again?
    • Does it allow them to understand certain contemporary situations?
    • Is it important to understand the development of settlements by a group or a nation? Is it a contemporary question?

Essential and optional resources

Essential resources

  • Five maps of the Acadian population (PDF | HTML)
  • Answer sheet (PDF | HTML)
  • Web site: 1755: The History and the Stories
    History section; Search section

Optional resources