This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Acadia (Canada)

Last modified: 2007-02-10 by phil nelson
Keywords: acadia | canada | france | star | new brunswick | cajun | louisiana |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Acadiens (Canada]
by Jan Oskar Engene

See also:

Outside Links:

The Acadians are the "other" Francophone community of Canada. They are also the people who settled Louisiana in large numbers at the conclusion of the French and Indian War (about 1760) hence the derivation of the Louisiana French term "Cajun" (from the dialectical pronunciation of Acadien).
Max Stanton, 30 October 1995

The flag that was in use in Acadian during that time was the French Tricolor, blue-white-red, with a gold star in the canton.
James Stone, 08 September 1996

That would have been an impressive achievement, given that the Tricolour was adopted in 1794. I don't know much about what flags were used in the region in this period, but I would guess French flags were used for as long France held territory in what is now Canada (to 1763). After that, I suppose no French flags were used until the rise of nationalism about a century later.

The Tricolour was introduced as a flag for the French in Canada, that is mostly in Quebec, in the 1840's and within 20 years became something of a national flag for the French Canadian nationalists. Among the Acadians, the first documented use of the Tricolour is 24 June 1867. There was opposition to the design, because it represented republicanism and anti-clericalism to many Acadians. Some people in Acadia favoured a white fleur-de-lis flag instead. The Acadian flag was adopted in August 1884 at the Acadian National Convention. It was designed by Father M-F Richard. The Tricolour represents the Motherland of the Acadians. The yellow star, the Stella Maris, is the symbol of Mary, Acadian national symbol and patron of the mariners. It is set on the blue stripe, because blue is the colour of Mary. The yellow colour of the star represents the Papacy.

Source: Perry Biddiscombe: ' 'Le Tricoloure et l'etoile'; The Origin of the Acadian National Flag ', Acadiensis: Journal of the history of the Atlantic region, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1990, pp. 120-147
Jan Oskar Engene, 09 September 1996

Interestingly, the Cajuns in Louisiana use a different flag. It is horizontally divided, blue over red, with a white triangle extending from the hoist about one third the length of the flag. In the white is centered a gold star (five-pointed); on the blue are three white fleur-de-lis; and on the red a golden castle (symbolizing Louisiana's Spanish heritage as well).
John Andrew Lowe, 30 October 1995

As promised, here is the translation of the Web page about the Acadian flag: (

On the 1884-08-15, the Acadians held their National Convention in Miscouche (Prince Edward Island) and chose their flag. They already chose a patron saint and a national day during an early Convention held in 1881 - they chose the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin - and needed a flag as a rallying emblem.

The flag, the star-spangled* tricolor, was proposed to the Convention by the priest of Saint-Louis-de-Kent (New Brunswick), Father Marcel-Francois Richard. The University Museum in Moncton still retains the original flag presented by Father Richard to the 1884 Convention.

Father Richard selected the French flag as the basis of the Acadian one to underline the adherence of the Acadians to the French civilization: "I wish that Acadia has a flag reminding not only that its children are French, but also that they are Acadians".

The star in the blue band should be "the distinctive emblem of our Acadian nationality", as said Father Richard. According to him, the star of the flag represented the star of the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption, patron of the Acadians.

The colour of the star, the gold, was not randomly chosen. According to Father Richard, it is the colour of the Pope, in order to show both the adherence of the Acadians to the Roman Catholic Church and the role of this Church in the history of Acadia.

(Then follows the symbolic of the French tricolor.

* I don't know if this word is correct for a flag with a single star. Starry might be better?

Ivan Sache, 12 December 1996

'L'étoile de la mer' translates into 'the star of the sea' which means a 'Sea star'. The Acadian star is also called la 'bonne étoile' which translates into the good star or the lucky star. It represents the star that would guide the sailor 'through storms and reefs'. In the past, captains had the knowledge of certain stars that would indicate to them how far they were from their destinations.

It is often mentioned that the colour of the star is gold, the colour of the Pope. But, the colours of the Vatican flag are white and yellow. (We mustn't forget that one of the keys shown on the flag is actually gold though.) I've personally seen the original Acadian flag held in the Moncton Acadian Museum, and the star is yellow not gold.
Sébastien Doiron, 30 November 2005

[Editorial note: In heraldry, gold is often depicted as yellow in coats of arms.]

A fair few Acadian flags I have seen were not in the French ratio (usually 3/5 instead of 2/3) showing they don't necessarily try to follow the French national pattern.

This picture where you can see both an Acadian flag and a Union Jack shows the blue band to be paler:

The original one seemed quite dark (although the star have faded so this can be just aging).

The next is a souvenir from the Acadian historical village (orange star and 1/2 ratio).
Marc Pasquin, 26 October 2006

My impression is that most flags are shorter than 1:2, but not 2:3. This is likely more at the whim of the manufacturer, since I don't think the ratio is defined. The original flag is preserved in le musée Acadien at the University of Moncton where it looks like it is 2:3. Interestingly, the blue seems quite dark.

There certainly is variation in dimensions - I have seen them as long as 1:2, but most are shorter. I doubt there is any intention to the variations in ratio, other than trying to match the dimensions of other flags in use nearby.
Rob Raeside, 3 November 2006