Beaubassin National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Beaubassin National Historic Site of Canada is located on the southwestern edge of Fort Lawrence Ridge, formerly known as Beaubassin Ridge, in Nova Scotia. The site, largely comprised of hayfields, pasture and marshland, is divided into two parts by the main Canadian National Railways line, and also contains Fort Lawrence National Historic Site of Canada. Official recognition refers to the 43.36 hectare property owned by Parks Canada Agency.
Beaubassin was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2005 because:
- the village was a major Acadian settlement on the Isthmus of Chignecto, a pivotal place in the 17th and 18th century North American geopolitical struggle between the British and French empires;
- the site’s archaeological features, deposits, and artifacts attest to the Acadian occupation and way of life at Beaubassin and speak to the destruction of the village, a prelude to the final clash of the two empires in Acadia for the control of North America.
Beaubassin was a major Acadian settlement founded between 1671 and 1672 on the Isthmus of Chignecto Isthmus, a significant place in the 17th and 18th century territorial disputes between the British and the French. The village, where residents farmed, raised livestock and were involved in shipbuilding, lay at the heart of a vast trading network encompassing Île Royale, Nova Scotia and New England. In the spring of 1750, the Governor of Nova Scotia, General Edward Cornwallis, ordered Major Charles Lawrence to push the French troops out of the Chignecto region, and in late spring, Lawrence landed with 400 men in the swamps west of Beaubassin. Lawrence was unable to take the Beaubassin Ridge, but nevertheless witnessed the burning of Beaubassin – apparently by the French themselves. The burning of Beaubassin and the militarization of the Isthmus by the French and the British radically changed the geopolitical situation because, soon thereafter, the Acadians fled en masse to French territory or, locally, to refuge on Beauséjour Ridge. Although modern agricultural buildings and homes have impacted the archaeological resources, much of the land is still agricultural or marshland. The pastured fields of the former Beaubassin village contain good archaeological evidence of the Acadian occupation.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 2005.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its location on the Chignecto Isthmus at what was once the heart of a vast trading network encompassing Île Royale, Nova Scotia and New England;
- its rural setting on property largely comprised of open hayfields, pastures and marshland, much as the landscape was at the time of Beaubassin;
- its shared property with Fort Lawrence National Historic Site of Canada and proximity to Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada, which speaks to the ongoing conflict between the French and the British at the time of the settlement;
- its nearby access to the Missaguash River and Chignecto Bay, illustrating its use as a shipbuilding settlement and important location on trade routes;
- the cellar depressions that demarcate the buildings that once made up the settlement;
- the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1671/01/01 to 1750/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec
Cross-Reference to Collection