Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Conflicted Colony: Critical Episodes in Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland and Labrador

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Conflicted Colony: Critical Episodes in Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland and Labrador

Article excerpt

Kurt Korneski, Conflicted Colony: Critical Episodes in Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland and Labrador (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016), 248 pp. 2 maps. Cased. $99. ISBN 978-0-7735-4779-7. Paper. $31.46. ISBN 978-0-7735-4780-3.

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is unique in Canada because of its isolated geographical position, rich fishing grounds, and diverse contribution to the contest of Britain, France, and America that operated in that region. Korneski reconsiders the relationship between the 'distinctive imperial networks', diplomatic decisions, and 'commercial relations' that shaped the 'social developments and identities' (p. 7) of the inhabitants of this borderland province during the late nineteenth century by examining the repercussions between the decisions made by the colonial and imperial authorities, the effects on the lives of ordinary inhabitants, and the diverse interests and nature of actions of the inhabitants. Thus he proves a crucial, but often neglected, antagonism between 'passing laws and enforcing them' (p. 45).

The book consists of seven chapters, and five case studies that represent five crucial conflicts in Newfoundland and Labrador during the late nineteenth century. After introducing the historiography and positioning his study within the borderland analysis, Korneski begins in Chapter 1 with the Fortune Bay Dispute of 1877-8, located at the south-west shore of Newfoundland. Although lots of research has been done on this conflict, he convincingly shows that this dispute was not just based on 'local dissatisfaction' (p. 15) of the fishermen with their American and French competitors. The effects of 'ecological changes, locally and internationally shifting commercial practices' (p. …

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