Lecture 12, 13, and 14 – The Atlantic Region to the mid 19 Century th
All of the following Atlantic regions achieve responsible government in 1855. It means that the
executive is accountable for the assembly.
In the early 1800’s; fish, furs, timbers, and grains represented over 90% of all economic activity
in British North America.
A colonial economy based on natural resources was inevitably one that depended on
international and even transatlantic trade.
The Staple Resources
Fishing was the oldest and most rewarding of BNA’s resource economy.
Traditionally Newfoundland dominated that particular economy throughout the 19 century.
By 1831 sealing represented over 30% of the value of fish exports from Newfoundland.
Fur was also another traditional resource industry but it mattered more politically rather than
economically. The fur trade helped the British crown maintain sovereignty over indigenous
The old staples of fish and fur were replaced by timber and grain in primary economic
importance in the 19 century.
New Brunswick was completely dependent on timber as an export commodity by the mid
1820’s. Settlement was very closely connected to the opening of new timber territories.
Shiner’s War – 1830’s, Irish timberers fight with French-Canadians over dominance of the
The Mercantile System
The merchant capitalist looked after transportation and marketing and operated on all levels of
volume and investment.
International mercantile activity was very dangerous and prone to financial ruin. Ships could be
lost at sea, scuttled, etc… The sailing ship, filled with outgoing resource commodities and incoming manufactured goods
was the backbone of British America’s economic system.
Shipbuilding was the ideal colonial processing industry; it relied on a primary resource that was
high in abundance.
As early as 1840, wood and sail were being overtaken by iron and steam.
Much road building needed to be done in order to enable the economy to shift from a
transatlantic focus to an internal one. The process really took hold with the introduction of the
railroads in the 1850’s.
For most urban centers in BNA, 1840 marked the break between an 18 century town and
becoming a 19 century city.
Immigrants came to British North America mainly to obtain access to land; something was
becoming more and more difficult in the British Isles.
Irish immigration to BNA was primarily dominated by Protestants from Northern Ireland.
There was no homogeneity in neither language nor religion with all these newcomers. Many of
them spoke their own dialects with linguistic variances.
Immigrants travelling to BNA usually came on smaller vessels meant for timbe