Definitions

German_Coast

German Coast

The German Coast (French: Côte des Allemands) was a region of the early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the Mississippi River — specifically, in St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and St. James parishes of present-day Acadiana. Its name derives from the large population of German pioneers, who were settled in 1721 by John Law, and the Company of the Indies. When the company folded in 1731, the Germans became independent land-owners.

Despite periodic flooding, hurricanes, and the rigors of frontier life, the German pioneers made a success of their settlement. Their farming endeavors provided food not only for themselves but also for New Orleans' residents. Some historians credit these German farmers with the early survival of New Orleans.

In 1768 they joined with Acadians from the Cabannocé Post area to march on New Orleans and overthrow Spanish colonial governor Antonio de Ulloa. The German and Acadian settlers united again, under Spanish colonial governor Bernardo de Gálvez, to fight the British during the American Revolution.

Most of the German Coast settlers hailed from the Rhineland region of Germany and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland, and at other places today bearing their name, Bayou des Allemands and Lac des Allemands ("Germans' Bayou" and "Germans' Lake," in French). However these areas were not solely settled by people from Germany or Acadia, in fact many of the "Germans" came from the largely German-speaking region of Alsace-Lorraine in France and some from Switzerland and Belgium.

Eventually, the Germans immigrants intermarried with the Acadians and their descendants, began to speak French, and were transformed along with the Acadians and other regional settlers into the Cajun culture. As an example, German settlers had introduced the diatonic accordion to the region, which would become a predominant instrument in Cajun music by the early 1900s.

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