The Reluctant Land: Society, Space, and Environment in Canada before Confederation

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UBC Press, Jan 1, 2009 - History - 524 pages
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Winner, 2008 K.D. Srivastava Prize for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing, UBC Press

The Reluctant Land describes the evolving pattern of settlement and the changing relationships of people and land in Canada from the end of the fifteenth century to the Confederation years of the late 1860s and early 1870s. It shows how a deeply indigenous land was reconstituted in European terms, and, at the same time, how European ways were recalibrated in this non-European space. It also shows how an archipelago of scattered settlement emerged out of an encounter with a parsimonious territory, and suggests how deeply this encounter differed from an American relationship with abundance. The book begins with a description of land and life in northern North America in 1500, and ends by considering the relationship between the pattern of early Canada and the country as we know it today. Intended to illuminate the background of modern Canada, The Reluctant Land is an intelligent discussion of people and place that will be welcomed by scholars and lay readers alike.


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1 Lifeworlds circa 1500
2 The Northwestern Atlantic 14971632
3 Acadia and Canada
4 The Continental Interior 16321750
5 Creating and Bounding British North America
6 Newfoundland
7 The Maritimes
8 Lower Canada
9 Upper Canada
10 The Northwestern Interior 17601870
11 British Columbia
12 Confederation and the Pattern of Canada

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About the author (2009)

Cole Harris is a professor emeritus of geography at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Resettlement of British Columbia and Making Native Space, and general editor of The Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume 1: From the Beginning to 1800.

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