"Moments of crisis can illuminate aspects of history that are often hard to discern. This book uses five lesser known conflicts - "critical episodes" - to examine the history of Newfoundland and parts of mainland North America to its north. Nineteenth-century Newfoundland was an archetypal borderland: a space where changes in the relative authority of different imperial, national, and indigenous claimants to territories shaped the opportunities and identities of a large number of people. Drawing on borderlands scholarship, this work sheds new light on the process of state formation in Newfoundland. It shifts the focus to areas outside of St. John's to show how formal agreements and overlapping claims and commercial networks figured into the lives and imaginings of differently positioned populations. The intersection of such claims produced distinctive commercial and social relations which, in turn, sustained regionally-based sensibilities and identities that differed markedly from those of the Avalon-basedmerchants and politicians who have been the focus of previous studies. While those differences contributed to conflict, they also help us understand the informal systems of governance as well as the kinds of political movements and perspectives that emerged among settlers who depended on distinct ecological settings. Exploring these cases localizes the imaginings of colonial politicians and the political and economic project associated with them. It reveals that strikingly different interests, and even different imagined borders, existed in other parts of the island. To realize their aims and to make their imagined boundaries actually inform social, economic, political, and cultural systems in Newfoundland and Labrador the architects of Newfoundland's colonial state expressed a late nineteenth century program of internal colonialism exerted from St. John's. The book enriches the social history of Newfoundland and Labrador, but also broadens, deepens, and clarifies our understanding of the processes by which Newfoundland became an integrated Dominion in the British Empire."-- Provided by publisher.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 207-228) and index.