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Lost in the BackwoodsScots and the North American Wilderness$
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Jenni Calder

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748647392

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748647392.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Treasures of the Forest, the Field and the Mine

Treasures of the Forest, the Field and the Mine

(p.139) 6 Treasures of the Forest, the Field and the Mine
Lost in the Backwoods

Jenni Calder

Edinburgh University Press

Exploration was the vanguard of commercial development with economic imperatives impelling the opening up of the frontier. The huge influx of immigrants in the nineteenth century put pressure on land once thought of as limitless, with a consequent emphasis not only on space to settle, but on resources to fuel a healthy economy. This chapter shows how Scots played leading roles in the exploitation of the North American wilderness - timber felling, fur trapping, farming, cattle and sheep ranching, mining - as well as in the observation, surveying and mapping that laid the foundations for industry and commerce. It examines the achievements and attitudes of key Scottish figures involved, and the impact on the American wilderness of financial investment from Scotland. Scots contributed strikingly to accessing the resources of the wilderness, and were particularly prominent in the Hudson’s Bay Company and in the construction of railways, both emblems of the conquest of natural hazards, but both leading to the degeneration of the landscape and the disconnection between the appeal of an uncontaminated wilderness and its economic potential, a theme pursued in the final chapter.

Keywords:   timber, fur trade, Hudson’s Bay Company, ranching, railways, mining, financial investment, industry, commerce

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