By Christopher L. Pastore
One of the biggest estuaries at the North Atlantic coast, Narragansett Bay served as a gateway for colonial growth within the 17th century and the birthplace of yank industrialization within the overdue eighteenth. Christopher Pastore offers an environmental heritage of this watery nook of the Atlantic global, starting with the 1st eu cost in 1636 and finishing with the dissolution of the Blackstone Canal corporation in 1849. Between Land and Sea traces how the Bay’s advanced ecology formed the contours of eu habitation, exchange, and source use, and the way littoral settlers in flip reconfigured the actual and cultural obstacles among people and nature.
Narragansett Bay emerges in Pastore’s account as even more than a geological formation. really, he reimagines the nexus of land and sea as a brackish borderland formed by means of the strain among what English settlers observed as improvable land and the perpetual forces of the North Atlantic Ocean. by means of draining swamps, damming rivers, and digging canals, settlers reworked a marshy coastal margin right into a truly outlined facet. the consequent “coastline” proved much less resilient, much less in a position to soak up the blows of human initiative and usual version than the soggy fractal of water and earth it replaced.
this present day, as sea degrees upward push and superstorms batter coasts with expanding ferocity, Between Land and Sea calls at the environmentally-minded to make an area of their notions of development for impermanence and uncertainty within the typical world.
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Additional resources for Between Land and Sea: The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England
82 Only God, Williams attested, held true value, but having strayed from him, man burrowed deep into the earth for ores and below the sea for shells. Like gold and silver, wampum was plucked from the deep unknown and held significance because of it. If Williams was suspicious of wampum’s cosmological value, he nevertheless saw beneath the waves of the Bay a touch of the divine. 83 The ocean, he conceded, held divine mysteries. ” Describing his trans-Atlantic crossing, William Wood noted that ships “seldom doth .
London: Herman Moll, 1726). Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. feet high and can stretch over a hundred feet in length. The logs are piled at the dam site and the spaces between them clogged with mud and other debris. 114 Quick to multiply, beaver families populated North America in staggering numbers and built millions of ponds in the process. 115 And most beaver families constructed between two and five ponds. 116 Observing these numbers—whether at the more conservative or more aggressive end of the estimates—one can conclude that before Europeans began hunting beavers in earnest, the Northeast region of America was decidedly wet.
119 Along the coast where beavers were first removed, Van der Donck’s observations suggest, rivers flowed obediently within their banks. 120 And those numbers soared. ”122 As tens of thousands of beavers were killed, their dams were destroyed, which drained the land. The second half of Peirce’s letter to Belknap explained the effects of beaver hunting. 123 Although Peirce’s observations were made a century after the fur trade’s heyday, the stages of dam-to-meadow succession in newly settled areas likely followed the same general patterns.