Great Canadian Parks / Prince Edward Island

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The Parks / Prince Edward Island / Prince Edward Island National Park



 

Native archaeological findings dating as far back as 1400 A.D. as well as a Micmac burial site have been discovered within the park. The first tangible clues of aboriginal occupation come from a Rustico Island shell midden first excavated in 1894 and subsequently investigated over a seventy-five year period until it was totally excavated by Parks Canada in 1988. The unusually systematic and professional treatment of the site produced a significant number of artifacts of a people who relied entirely upon the riches of the land and sea for their survival and prosperity. The French, the first to settle on the island in 1720, were soon joined by a small number of Acadians from Nova Scotia, the first group to seek refuge from British oppression there. The Acadian population had reached 4400 by the time Ile St. Jean (P.E.I.) was forfeited to the English in 1758. Of the 3400 residents deported from their island communities, over 700 Acadians perished at sea while crossing the Atlantic. About 300 Acadians managed to evade the British and others subsequently returned to establish numerous fishing and farming communities along the coast during the 18th and 19th centuries. Within the park, the first British settlers cleared most of the land in Cavendish, Rustico Island and Stanhope. The Stanhope Cemetery, on the west side of Long Pond, is one of the oldest pioneer cemeteries on the island.

 

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