A park set aside to commemorate the Grand-Pre area of Nova Scotia as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755, and the deportation of the Acadians which began in 1755 and continued to 1762. The original village of Grand Pre extended four kilometres along the ridge. The Acadians were the French settlers remaining in the region after British conquest. In all, 12,000 Acadians were deported, and half would die from drowning, starvation, imprisonment, and cold weather. When the poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was published in the United States in 1847, the story of the Deportation was told to the English-speaking world. The site believed to be of the church of Saint-Charles was bought and developed by Canadian descendants of the Acadians, then sold to Dominion Atlantic Railway in 1917 on the condition that Acadians be involved in its preservation. The railway commissioned the Evangeline statue by Hebert. Funds were raised to build the memorial church (1922-1930). The government of Canada acquired Grand-Pre from the Dominion Atlantic in 1957. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1961.