AMHERST, Nova Scotia (AP) – Nova Scotia land that was once home to one of the region’s largest Acadian communities is being purchased by the federal government.

Nova Scotia Member of Parliament Bill Casey said he received a call from Parks Canada on Friday telling him the government has decided to buy the Amherst area site where the village of Beaubassin was located.

“I’m so excited about this,” said Casey on Sunday. “It’s very good news for this area, because this land is very important to not only Acadian heritage, but English and native history as well.

“So much of this area’s history started with that village. Many of the descendants of those first families still live in this community.”

The village was first settled by Jacques Bourgeois in 1655, and was known as Bourgeoisville before the name was changed to Beaubassin.

The British arrived in the area to establish a foothold in 1750, but the village was burned and the population moved across the marsh to Beausejour.

Acadians have played a major role in Maine history. Earlier this summer, a celebration on St. Croix Island, now part of Maine, marked 400 years since Samuel de Champlain and 79 colonists established a lasting French presence in North America. An estimated 18 million people of French descent now live on the continent, including some who trace their roots to Acadians expelled by the British in 1755.

Yet they remain a vibrant and distinctive population in New Brunswick, where many settled following the expulsions and where their language and culture are protected.

The effort to preserve the land received a boost earlier this summer when an archaeological dig uncovered several foundations and numerous artifacts.

Now that the land has been bought, Casey expects additional archaeological digs that should unearth a treasure trove of information about the area’s rich Acadian history.

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