Empire, Identity and Maritime Mobilities: Characterizing the Provincial Marine

Authors: Kimberly Monk*, Trent University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Canada, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: Great Lakes, Royal Navy, Colonial militia, Maritime Archaeology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Mid-City, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Provincial Marine, established during the Seven Years’ War, was charged with the support and maintenance of British interests on North American inland waterways. Initially tasked with manning armed vessels that could cover the advance of the British army; after the War of 1812, its role focused on transporting troops and supplies, with limited armed operations. As a militia force, it existed at the peripheries of the British experience. Its ships were designed for an inland sea, manned with “Canadian” crews, and charged with connecting wilderness landscapes, whilst still maintaining British community. Through defining physical and social boundaries of these ships, and identifying ‘learned’ and ‘acquired’ knowledge in building, manning and operations, the vital role played by the force in developing a maritime identity within Upper Canada may be exposed. This paper hence characterizes the ‘mobility’ of the Provincial Marine, in supporting British interests during the first half of the nineteenth century. By addressing its broad imperialistic efforts and colonial legacies, it provides a valuable opportunity to test an integrative approach to studying empire. Through exploring both historical and maritime archaeological source material, it will identify those processes that involve conceived and perceived developments, as well as those that are material. The result will be an innovative approach to connecting the human condition with the material world.

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