To yours truly, Acadian Driftwood by The Band, is the best piece they ever wrote, commemorating the Acadian Deportation, an act of cruelty perpetrated by the British Empire beginning in 1755.
Soldiers rounding up terrified civilians, expelling them from their land, burning their homes and crops ‒ it sounds like a 20th century nightmare in one of the world's trouble spots, but it describes a scene from Canada's early history, the Deportation of the Acadians.
The Acadians had lived on Nova Scotia’s territory since the founding of Port-Royal in 1604. They established a small, vibrant colony around the Bay of Fundy, building dykes to tame the high tides and to irrigate the rich fields of hay. Largely ignored by France, the Acadians grew independent minded. With their friends and allies the Mi' kmaq, they felt secure, even when sovereignty over their land passed to Britain after 1713 (see Treaty of Utrecht).
Between 1755 and 1763, approximately 10,000 Acadians were deported. They were shipped to many points around the Atlantic. Large numbers were landed in the English colonies, others in France or the Caribbean. Thousands died of disease or starvation in the squalid conditions on board ship. To make matters worse, the inhabitants of the English colonies, who had not been informed of the imminent arrival of disease-ridden refugees, were furious. Many Acadians were forced, like the legendary Evangeline of Longfellow's poem, to wander interminably in search of loved ones or a home.
The sad thing about this was ...
The expulsion proved to have been as unnecessary on military grounds as it was later judged inhumane. Lawrence's lack of imagination played as big a part as greed, confusion, misunderstanding, and fear.