Acadian Prehistory: From Medieval Religion, the Angevin Empire... and leaving Poitou behind
By the early eighth century the Christians had lost North Africa, Palestine and Syria and most of Spain to the Muslims. But then the frontier between Christiandom and Islam had stabilized until the Byzantine emperors, ruling from Constantinople what Remained of the eastern Roman empire, went on to the offensive in the second half of the tenth century.
How do warring knights - "soldiers of Christ" - and Crusades in the Holy Land connect with the history of the Poitou region and the people that would form the "first families" of Acadia? Well, in fact, all of these events and people can be connected in many very interesting ways - and here is where we begin to get a real glimpse into the Poitevin* identity. (*For those of you who are unaware, the term "Poitevin" is the adjectival form in reference to something or someone from Poitou. In its variant spelling "Potvin," it is also a popular Acadian family name.)
Together with increasing commercialisation, the cities could construct a precisely defined space in which peace was guaranteed and the merchants gained a personal freedom enabling them to calculate their commercial activities. In this way, merchants were no longer subject to unpredictable decisions by noble lords. […] [T]he city was differentiated from its surroundings by its specific legal status: its burghers [the inhabitants of the city] were free, it had a daily market and a separate court district and was privileged in delivering duties and other contributions. City law was fixed in the town charter, the privilege bestowed by the prince or the king, to which the citizens added their own codifications of the law.
Almut Höfert 2003 : 66.
Throughout most of the Middle Ages, French and English societies were very similar, especially in the heartlands of southern England and northern France. Furthermore the ruling class of England still spoke French and were largely of French origin. In contrast there were noticeable differences in speech, culture and law from southern France with its significant Romano-Mediterranean heritage.
Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History. Yale University Press, 2005.