Northern arc : the significance of the shipping and seafarers of Hudson Bay, 1508-1920

Hall, Norma Jean (2009) Northern arc : the significance of the shipping and seafarers of Hudson Bay, 1508-1920. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This dissertation depicts maritime activity as a lived aspect of human experience essential to history in, and of, the Canadian North; to historical process in Canada as a whole; and to the history of development in Western Canada in particular, because the North was the site of maritime ingress to the Canadian West. The thesis addresses three misapprehensions about seafaring activity and Hudson Bay. First, that the volume of shipping in the Bay and associated waters from 1508 to 1920 was too low to warrant study; second that Hudson's Bay Company voyages were merely economic linkages; and third that communication between ship and shore was limited and straightforward. I examine the contextual aspect of sailors' experiences - temporally, geographically, and technologically - describing the distinctiveness of Company ships, routes, and sailors. I find that sea ice, as a natural feature, was a primary determinant of maritime work, the pacing of work routines, and the timeframe of voyages in the past. I demonstrate that, as agents of diverse backgrounds with varied personal paths who actualized intercontinental transportation, integration, and exchanges of people, goods, and ideas, the sailors were harbingers and makers of change and continuity in history. Appreciating the cumulative effect of past commerce, communication, and ideas requires thinking beyond shorelines and taking the people who affected traverses of sea space into account. The journeys of seafarers, as well as their destinations, have relevance to histories of development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 8871
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 574-637).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Hudson Bay; Canada, Western
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Hudson's Bay Company; Merchant mariners--Hudson Bay--History; Seafaring life--Hudson Bay; Shipping--Hudson Bay--History; Canada, Western--History

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