By Christopher L. Pastore

One of the most important estuaries at the North Atlantic coast, Narragansett Bay served as a gateway for colonial growth within the 17th century and the birthplace of yankee industrialization within the past due eighteenth. Christopher Pastore offers an environmental historical past of this watery nook of the Atlantic global, starting with the 1st ecu payment 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 ecu 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. relatively, he reimagines the nexus of land and sea as a brackish borderland formed by means of the stress 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 remodeled a marshy coastal margin right into a sincerely outlined aspect. the ensuing “coastline” proved much less resilient, much less in a position to take in the blows of human initiative and typical edition than the soggy fractal of water and earth it replaced.

at the present time, as sea degrees upward thrust and superstorms batter coasts with expanding ferocity, Between Land and Sea calls at the environmentally-minded to make an area of their notions of growth for impermanence and uncertainty within the normal world.

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Additional info for Between Land and Sea: The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England

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6 For months, Williams had been torn between betraying his conscience for the comfort of community and remaining true to his principles but submitting to banishment. 8 54 between land and sea Since making the decision to immigrate to New England, Williams had been no stranger to conflict. Born most likely in 1603 in Wales, raised in London, and educated as a minister at Cambridge, Williams was a Puritan who, like so many other English Protestants, believed the Church of England had not distanced itself far enough from Catholicism.

Beavers and their dams created a swampy continental interior. But when beavers were killed and their dams destroyed, water that had been impounded on the landscape flooded downhill toward the sea. In consequence, the Northeast became a dryer place. Image inset in A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America . . (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.

80 Accordingly, he created the estuaries of southern New England and then, as other accounts attest, settled on Martha’s Vineyard, where he feasted on fish and whale meat. Maushop was particularly fond of enjoying his pipe, the smoke and ashes from which brought fog to Cape Cod and formed the island of Nantucket. Sand from his moccasins formed the Elizabeth Islands. 81 That an important deity like Wétucks or Maushop was known to have created some of southeastern New England’s most prominent coastal features and weather phenomena, and that he retreated below the waves with the arrival of Europeans, suggests the sea was a spiritual sanctuary.

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