Joseph Broussard

Joseph Broussard (1702–1765), also known as Beausoleil (English: Beautiful Sun), was a leader of the Acadian people in Acadia; later Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Broussard organized a Mi'kmaq and Acadian militias against the British through King George's War, Father Le Loutre's War and during the French and Indian War. After Acadia was captured by the British, he eventually led the first group of Acadians to southern Louisiana in present-day United States. His name is sometimes presented as Joseph Gaurhept Broussard; this is likely the result of a transcription error.[2] Broussard is widely regarded as a hero and an important historical figure by both Acadians and Cajuns.

Joseph Broussard
Joseph Broussard en Acadia HRoe 2009.jpg
Port-Royal, Acadia, New France
(present-day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Died1765 (aged 62–63)
St. Martinville, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, New Spain
(present-day Loreauville, Louisiana, U.S.)
Unknown location near Loreauville, Louisiana
Allegiance Acadia
Service/branchAcadian militia
Battles/warsFather Rale's War

King George's War

Father Le Loutre's War

French and Indian War

Other workLed Acadians to Louisiana. Militia captain of the Acadians of the Atakapas[1]


Broussard was born in Port-Royal, Acadia in 1702 to Jean-François Broussard and Catherine Richard. His father came from Poitiers and his mother was born in Port Royal. He lived much of his life at Le Cran (present-day Stoney Creek, Albert County, New Brunswick), along the Petitcodiac River with his wife Agnes and their eleven children.

During Father Rale's War, Broussard participated in a raid on Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia (1724).[3]

King George's WarEdit

During King George's War, under the leadership of French priest Jean-Louis Le Loutre, Broussard began a resistance movement against British rule in Acadia. Broussard's forces frequently included Mi'kmaq militia, long-time allies of the Acadians. In 1747 he participated in and was later charged for his involvement with the Battle of Grand Pré. (see History of the Acadians)[1][4]

Father Le Loutre's WarEdit

During Father Le Loutre's War, after the construction of Fort Beausejour in 1751, Broussard joined Jean-Louis Le Loutre at Beausejour. In an effort to stop the emigration of British settlers into Acadia, in 1749 Broussard was involved in one of the first raids on Dartmouth, Nova Scotia which resulted in the deaths of five British settlers.[5] The following year, Broussard was in the Battle at Chignecto and then shortly afterward he led sixty Mi'kmaq and Acadians to attack Dartmouth again, in what would be known as the "Dartmouth Massacre" (1751). Broussard and the others killed twenty British settlers and took a few as prisoners.[6] Cornwallis temporarily abandoned plans to settle Dartmouth.[7]

In late April 1754, Beausoleil and a large band of Mi'kmaq and Acadians left Chignecto for Lawrencetown. They arrived in mid-May and in the night opened fired on the village. Beausoleil killed and scalped four British settlers and two soldiers. By August, as the raids continued, the residents and soldiers were withdrawn to Halifax.[8]

Capture of French ships Alcide and Lys off Newfoundland. The ships were carrying war supplies for Acadians and Mi'kmaq

In the action of 8 June 1755, a naval battle off Cape Race, Newfoundland, on board the French ships Alcide and Lys were found 10,000 scalping knives for Acadians and Indians serving under Chief Jean-Baptiste Cope and Acadian Beausoleil as they continue to fight Father Le Loutre's War.[9]

Broussard was also active in the fight against Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton in the Battle of Beausejour.[10]

French and Indian WarEdit

With Le Loutre imprisoned after the Battle of Beausejour, Broussard became the leader of the Acadian resistance to the expulsion of the Acadians (1755–1764), leading assaults against the British on several occasions between 1755 and 1758 as part of the forces of Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot.[1] After arming a ship in 1758, Broussard traveled through the upper Bay of Fundy region, where he attacked British settlements. His ship was seized in November 1758. He was then forced to flee, travelling first to the Miramichi and later imprisoned at Fort Edward in 1762. Finally, he was transferred and imprisoned with other Acadians in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Arrival at LouisianaEdit

Released in 1764, the year after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Broussard left Nova Scotia, along with his family and hundreds of other Acadians, to Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti).[11] Unable to adapt to the climate and diseases that were killing Acadians, he led the group to settle in Louisiana.[12]

He was among the first 200 Acadians to arrive in Louisiana on February 27, 1765, aboard the Santo Domingo.[13] On April 8, 1765, he was appointed militia captain and commander of the "Acadians of the Atakapas" the area around present-day St. Martinville, La.[1] Not long after his arrival, Joseph Broussard died near what is now St. Martinville at the presumed age of 63. The exact date of his death is unknown, but it is assumed to have been on or about October 20, 1765. Many of his descendants live in southern Louisiana and Nova Scotia.


Broussard's children and grandchildren generally remained in Louisiana, integrating into the slave-owning upper classes of the colony.[14][15][16] His 21st-century descendants include Célestine "Tina" Knowles (née Beyoncé), her two daughters Beyoncé and Solange, and also her four grandchildren Jules, Blue, Sir, and Rumi.[17]

Modern cultural referencesEdit

The Cajun music group BeauSoleil is named in honor of Broussard.

A New Brunswick group "Beausoleil Broussard" was very popular in the 1970s.

Broussard is a character in the novel Banished from Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard, Grand-Pre, Acadia, 1755 (2004) by Sharon Stewart.

A dramatized, historically inaccurate version of Beausoleil is featured in the Acadian novel Pélagie-la-Charette, by Antonine Maillet.

Part of his militant Acadian hero story is told in the documentary feature "Zachary Richard, Cajun Heart" by Acadian director Phil Comeau.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "History:1755-Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil (c. 1702-1765)". Archived from the original on 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  2. ^ "Middle Name or Clerical Error?: Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil and 'Gaurhept', Shane K. Bernard". Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  3. ^ James Laxer, The Acadians: In Search of a Homeland, Anchor Canada Press, p. 103
  4. ^ Brodhead, John Romeyn (1858). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York. Vol. 10. Albany: Weed, Parsons and Co. p. 155. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Grenier, John (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8061-3876-3.
  6. ^ Grenier (2008), p. 160.
  7. ^ Grenier (2008), p. 161.
  8. ^ Marshall, Dianne (2011). Heroes of the Acadian Resistance: The Story of Joseph Beausoleil Broussard and Pierre II Surette 1702-1765. Halifax: Formac. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-88780-978-1.
  9. ^ Raddall, Thomas Head (1948). Halifax, warden of the north. McClelland & Stewart. p. 45.
  10. ^ Grenier (2008), p. 171.
  11. ^ Shane K. Bernard. "Cajuns and their Acadian ancestors: a young reader's history", 2008, University Press of Mississippi, p. 31, ISBN 978-1-934110-78-2
  12. ^ C. A. Pincombe and E. W. Larracy, Resurgo: The History of Moncton, Volume 1, 1990, Moncton, p. 30[failed verification] ISBN 0969463405
  13. ^ "Broussard named for early settler Valsin Broussard" Archived 2009-05-21 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Record Detail". The Acadian Memorial Database. Acadian Memorial Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 4 October 2020. They owned 700 semi-wild beef cattle and 60 domesticated cattle. They also owned the following slaves: Thomas, 50 years old; Leuder, 23 years old; Martin, 19 years old; Jean-Louis, 11 years old; Célestin, 7 years old; Charles, 5 years old; Godfrey, 4 years old; Charlotte, 42 years old; Hélène, 25 years old; Félicité, 23 years old; Madeleine, 17 years old; Angélique, 16 years old; Pte. Félicité, 10 years old; Marie, 7 years old; Messite, 4 yeaers old; Clarisse, 2 years old; and Hortense, 1 year old.
  15. ^ De Ville, Winston (1987). Southwest Louisiana Families in 1777: Census Records of Attakapas and Opelousas Posts. 71. Joseph BROUSSARD, 47; Marguerite SÇAVOIS, wife, 35. Garcons: Joseph, 3; Francopis, 1. Filles: Marguerite, 12; Luedivine, 10; Nastasie, 8; Magdeleine, 6. Slaves: 3. There were 100 cattle, 20 horses, and 20 hogs.
  16. ^ Conrad, Glenn R. (1993). Land Records of the Attakapas District: Attakapas-St. Martin Estates, 1804-1818, Part 2. pp. 171–176. ISBN 9780940984806. Estate No. 288, appraised at $42,562.82, including 28 slaves, and numerous tracts of land. His only child by the 1st marriage petitioned that all property given to other members of the [2nd] family "be carried into the inventory and appraisment and valued as other property of the succession of the said deceased." There were 11 heirs.
  17. ^ "A Peek into Blue Ivy Carter's Past". The Huffington Post. AOL. January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2012.

Further readingEdit