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A Temperate EmpireMaking Climate Change in Early America$
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Anya Zilberstein

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190206598

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206598.001.0001

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An American Siberia

An American Siberia

(p.91) 3 An American Siberia
A Temperate Empire

Anya Zilberstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on debates about acclimatization, recounting how British officials—particularly in areas that bordered Catholic New France—manipulated perceptions of the regional climate in attempts to increase the Protestant settler population and develop the regional economy with northern transplants. Beginning with the first British governor of Nova Scotia, Samuel Vetch, it examines settlement schemes that relied on the idea of a transatlantic northern temperate zone to persuade cold-hardened migrants from Britain and northern Europe to permanently resettle in the Northeast. Acclimatizers acknowledged the coldness of the climate but argued that it was suitable for those humans, animals, and plants that were already habituated to it. Northern acclimatization was successful as the basis for economic diversification in the region but an ineffective strategy for recruiting migrants. Nevertheless, it proved to be irresistible as a form of policy rhetoric throughout the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   acclimatization, migration, settlement, the North, colonial economy, Darien, Nova Scotia, New England, Samuel Vetch

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