The Aroostook Roads

  1. Location and Background
  2. Under the French and British Regimes
  3. The First Acadian and Canadian Immigrants
  4. The Development of Madawaska
  5. Borderland Tensions
  6. Military and Commercial Roads
  7. War Avoided
  8. New Immigrant Waves
  9. A Bi-Directional Route
  10. Sources

  1. Location and Background
Location Map

As this website illustrates, there have been many overland routes used by the French, French Canadians, and Acadians to enter and colonize the present territory of Maine. While there have been multiple studies of the origins and destinations of many of these immigrants, little has been written about the "pathways" they used to come to Maine. In the section that follows, the well-documented lineage of the Aroostook Roads as a pathway of French immigrants to Maine is presented. In the perspective of the coming of these francophone immigrants - Acadians from the east and Canadians from the west, the Aroostook Road was not a single route of travel, but a system of roads from Québec and New Brunswick that by the mid-19th century connected those British provinces with central and southern Maine by way of the state's largest and northern-most county - Aroostook. This system of roads and the Canadian and Acadian colonization of Maine that it facilitated was a process that developed over a long period of time, often in distinct stages, to meet changing social, economic, and geo-political circumstances in the Canada-United States borderland region.

A French colonial map of part of the road system that entered the Aroostook area as early as 1685. The map features a "southern-orientation" and centers on the St.John River Valley between Québec, Maine and New Brunswick. It shows the principal overland route between the French "Acadian" settlements on the salt marshes around the Bay of Fundy and French "Canadian" settlements in the St.Lawrence Valley by way of the St.John River and a series of portages leading to the St.Lawrence River.

Source : Bibliothèque nationale de Paris.