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The Atlantic Region to Confederation

The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History

GRAEME WYNN Cartographic Editor
MITCHELL A. McNUTT Picture Editor
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 491
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  • Book Info
    The Atlantic Region to Confederation
    Book Description:

    The book re-assesses many old themes from a new perspective, and seeks to broaden the focus of regional history to include those groups whom the traditional historiography ignored or marginalized.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3267-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Maps
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)

    • CHAPTER ONE Early Societies: Sequences of Change
      (pp. 3-21)

      To analyse the development of the earliest human societies in the area now known as Atlantic Canada is a difficult task, partly because modern political boundaries bear little relationship to the realities of the remote past. The study of the past 11,000 years of human habitation of today’s Maritime provinces is based on findings at a series of particular sites that represent events at a given time and place. Although these can be discussed in chronological order, the Maritimes have not produced, to date, any deeply stratified sites – that is, sites where remains from different periods are found layered...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Sixteenth Century: Aboriginal Peoples and European Contact
      (pp. 22-39)

      Although it is possible that men from Bristol knew about the wealth of fish off Newfoundland even before Columbus’ first voyage, John Cabot’s discovery of those fish in 1497 probably began the early prosecution of the fisheries by English vessels. Four years later, Gaspar Corte Real reached Newfoundland and Labrador, and by 1506 the Portuguese had established a fishery in Terra Nova – which in the sixteenth century could be anywhere from the Strait of Belle Isle to New England. The French began fishing in the region by at least 1504, and Basques from both France and Spain had begun...

    • CHAPTER THREE 1600–1650: Fish, Fur, and Folk
      (pp. 40-60)

      European settlement in Acadia and Newfoundland during the first half of the seventeenth century followed at least three generations of transatlantic activity by explorers, traders, and, above all, fishermen. The ocean had not yet become a safe highway between continents in 1600, but even by that date ‘the Atlantic realm of what is now Canada [had been] incorporated into the European economy as fishermen from many European ports came to catch and process cod.’¹ The migration of people and the founding of communities of Europeans in both Newfoundland and Acadia took place in a continuum of increased and increasing communication...

    • CHAPTER FOUR 1650–1686: ‘Un pays qui n’est pas fait’
      (pp. 61-77)

      In 1688, a year after his arrival as governor of Acadia, Louis-Alexandre Des Friches de Meneval declared that the ‘pays n’est pas fait’: it was a country not yet formed.¹ This comment, which could equally well have been applied to Newfoundland, indicates the lack of sustained interest shown by France and England in the area comprising Acadia and Newfoundland. Between 1650 and 1686, that region experienced an ambivalent policy on the part of the two European powers. Lengthy periods of indifference alternated with sporadic bursts of interest, and the results were not favourable for the colonial development of the region....

    • CHAPTER FIVE 1686–1720: Imperial Intrusions
      (pp. 78-104)
      JOHN G. REID

      Visiting Acadia in 1686, the intendant of New France – Jacques de Meulles – was disappointed to find that the colony was ‘si peu de chose.’ To Louis-Armand de Lorn d’Arce de Lahontan, third Baron Lahontan and a serving French officer in North America during the early 1690s, it seemed that ‘Port-Royal, the Capital or the only City ofAcadia, is in effect no more than a little paultry Town.’ For George Larkin, visiting St John’s as an English official in 1701, it was the people of that settlement who drew attention: ‘the Inhabitants and Planters of Newfoundland are a...


    • CHAPTER SIX 1720–1744: Cod, Louisbourg, and the Acadians
      (pp. 107-124)

      Imagine for a moment that a sophisticated satellite carrying a ‘camera of perfect accuracy’¹ had been able to transmit, in the early 1720s and again in the early 1740s, detailed snapshots of Atlantic Canada. These pictures would show convincingly that the forces of geophysical continuity were far more significant and salient than those of historical and demographic change. For the entire 1720 to 1744 period, both the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian forests overwhelmed the seemingly insignificant human element, marginalizing it and also shaping virtually every aspect of its often-perilous existence.

      In the early 1720s, Newfoundland had a summer population...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN 1744–1763: Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples
      (pp. 125-155)

      The period from 1744 to 1763 in Atlantic Canada was a time of war and dramatic events, beginning with the unprecedented attack of 5,000 New England militiamen on France’s jewel in the gulf, Fort Louisbourg. Supported by a Royal Navy fleet of six ships of the line and five frigates, the raw colonials laid siege to the fort during May and June 1745, and after seven weeks of heavy bombardment, the French, outnumbered ten to one, capitulated. From this first fall of Louisbourg to the final collapse of French power in North America in 1763, the history of the Atlantic...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT 1763–1783: Resettlement and Rebellion
      (pp. 156-183)
      J.M. BUMSTED

      The years between 1763 and 1783 formed a period formally demarcated by two international peace treaties, both signed at Paris and each commonly called ‘the Treaty of Paris.’ The first ended the Seven Years’ War and signalled the end of a French imperial presence in North America. The second, only twenty years later, ended the War of the American Rebellion and established the United States of America as an independent republic on the continent. For the Atlantic region of North America, both treaties were extremely significant, and the changes that they brought about were profound. Not only did imperial policy...

    • CHAPTER NINE 1783–1800: Loyalist Arrival, Acadian Return, Imperial Reform
      (pp. 184-209)

      What can one say of the year 1783 in Atlantic Canada? That it marked a watershed? That history repeated itself in its peculiarly heartless way? That once again the ordinary life of the Atlantic peoples was deranged by outside events utterly beyond their control?

      Two cataclysmic events in the year 1783 changed Atlantic Canada forever. The first was the Treaty of Paris, which separated America from the British Empire. For the people of Atlantic Canada this rupture was unnatural and ominous. Long-established networks of trade, treasured sources of religious inspiration, and intimate bonds of kinship and community were suddenly severed....

    • CHAPTER TEN 1800–1810: Turning the Century
      (pp. 210-233)

      Nova Scotia’s Government House is the Atlantic region’s most gracious and enduring monument to the first decade of the nineteenth century. Described at the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone in September 1800 as a symbol of ‘the increasing Prosperity of this infant colony,’ the building was a steady drain on colonial finances through the next several years. Erected by local craftsmen using colonial materials, according to plans derived fromA Series of Original Designs for Country Seatspublished in London in 1795, Government House stood in spacious grounds on the outskirts of the city. In the eyes of its master-builder...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN 1810–1820: War and Peace
      (pp. 234-260)

      On Saturday, 28 August 1819, at Rollo Bay in King’s County, Prince Edward Island, a murder occurred. The victim, Edward Abell, was estate agent for Lord James Townshend, one of the colony’s leading landlords. That morning, Abell had come to the home of Richard Pearce, a tenant farmer who had fallen £5 into arrears in payment of rents owing to Townshend. Abell insisted that payment be made and in cash, an almost impossible demand, given the acute scarcity of coins and paper money in this frontier economy. When the hard-pressed debtor failed in desperate attempts to raise the requested money...


    • CHAPTER TWELVE The 1820s: Peace, Privilege, and the Promise of Progress
      (pp. 263-283)

      The 1820s was the first decade undisturbed by a British war in almost a century. As usual, peace was a mixed blessing for the Atlantic colonies, where war had always produced much-needed contracts for merchants, markets for primary producers, and jobs for wage labourers. In the wake of peacetime contraction on military expenditure, the loss of customary markets for fish through the rise of European protectionism and American competition, and unplanned immigration, the four colonies felt disruption and anxiety that varied only in degree as a result of differences in staple exports, locational factors, and local ambitions. Recovery was uneven,...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN The 1830s: Adapting Their Institutions to Their Desires
      (pp. 284-306)

      By the 1830s, the seaboard colonies of British North America were beginning to mature. The emergent colonial society of which W.S. Mac-Nutt has written was in the process of becoming self-aware.¹ In the Colonial Office, the oldmodus vivendiof securing the Empire by working with visiting colonial élites and domestic interest groups was on the wane, and the ‘web of vested interests stretched across the Atlantic’ was wearing thin.² In the colonies, assemblies and executives quarrelled over fiscal control and the structure of the government as they wrestled with where decisions about colonial development should be taken and how...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN The 1840s: Decade of Tribulation
      (pp. 307-332)
      T.W. ACHESON

      Decades, like people, tend to be personalized by those who have had to live with them. The 1830s had been a period of optimism and excitement. The economy had moved in roller-coaster fashion, but there were more heights than depths and the ride had been exhilarating. Settlement and population growth followed this expansionary trend, and even the political conflicts of the decade had an optimistic quality to them. The 1840s, by contrast, were years of economic depression and social and political uncertainty. There was change, but the change was frequently the product of forced accommodations to circumstances beyond the control...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN The 1850s: Maturity and Reform
      (pp. 333-359)

      The 1850s was the decade in which the three remaining Atlantic colonies won responsible government, and it marked the high tide of reform movements within the region. Reformers, despite significant blind spots, had much to be proud of: extension of the franchise, increases in educational opportunities, removal of denominational privilege, and the tackling of such long-standing problems as the Prince Edward Island land question. The economies of the Maritime colonies were also attaining their full dimensions of development in the pre-Confederation period. The middle decades of the nineteenth century have often been referred to as a ‘golden age’ for the...

    • CHAPTER SIXTEEN The 1860s: An End and a Beginning
      (pp. 360-386)

      In 1867, a Nova Scotia anti-Confederate pamphleteer decried his province’s union with Canada. ‘Few countries in the world,’ he argued, ‘are more favourably situated whether as regards political freedom, geographical position or the extent and variety of their natural resources …’ Yet ‘the system of self government which has produced all this prosperity … is to be thrown aside and the doubtful experiment thrust upon her of a political union with the other Provinces’ in which she ‘must submit to the rule of a larger and it is to be feared not too kindly population.’¹ This attitude was widely held...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 387-460)
  11. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 461-462)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 463-464)
  13. Index
    (pp. 465-491)