Nova Scotian to be “knighted” by France

Historian John Johnston to receive Ordre des Palmes

A Nova Scotian expert on 18th-century Louisbourg and Acadia, and author of numerous books on those subjects, will be named a Chevalier of The Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) by the French government – a rare honour for a foreigner.

A.J.B. (John) Johnston, a native of Truro, N.S., is a historian and writer now retired from Parks Canada, where he enjoyed a career of more than 30 years, primarily at Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada.

Johnston’s latest of eleven books Endgame 1758: The Promise, the Glory and the Despair of Louisbourg’s Last Decade (CBU Press, 2008) won a CLIO award from Canadian Historical Association and was short-listed for an Atlantic Book Award. Endgame was recently published in French by Presses de l’Université Laval.

He has published more than 50 articles in scholarly journals and essay collections, and an equal number in magazines and newspapers.

The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an Order of Chivalry of France for considerable contributions toward French education and culture – one of the oldest distinctions given.

It’s a rare honour for a foreigner to be named to the order. Foreign honours bestowed on Canadians require the approval of the Governor-General.

Originally a decoration founded by Emperor Napoléon to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, the early Palmes Académiques were only given to teachers or professors. In 1866, the scope of the award was widened to include major contributions to French national education and culture made by anyone, including foreigners. It was also made available to French expatriatesmaking major contributions to the expansion of French culture throughout the rest of the world. It was established as an order in 1955 by President René Coty.

Johnston will be made a Chevalier (Knight) of the order at ceremony at the French Consulate in Moncton on November 30. The ceremony will be preceded by a lecture by Mr. Johnston. The conference and ceremony are by invitation.