9781550174595

Fortune's a River : The Collision of Empires in Northwest America

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781550174595

  • ISBN10:

    1550174592

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-09-01
  • Publisher: Partners Pub Group
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Summary

This is the most authoritative and readable account to date of just how British Columbia became British and how Oregon, Washington and Alaska became American. By the closing years of the 18th century, the stage was set for a major international confrontation over the Northwest Coast. Imperial Russia was firmly established in Alaska, Spain was extending its trade routes north from Mexico, Captain James Cook had claimed Northwest America for England and Captain Robert Gray had claimed the Columbia River region for the United States. Open warfare between Spain and England was narrowly averted during the Nootka Sound Controversy of 1789-1794, and again between Britain and the US in the War of 1812, when a British warship seized American property in Oregon. In "Fortune's a River", noted historian Barry Gough re-examines this Imperial struggle for possession of the future British Columbia and fully evokes its peculiar drama. It turned out the great powers were reluctant conquerors in this area. Russia and Spain withdrew of their own accord. Britain was in a position to dominate, but couldn't be bothered. The US vaguely wished to fulfil its manifest destiny by securing the Northwest Coast, but it was not a priority. In the end the battle was carried on by private enterprise and individuals of vision. Alexander Mackenzie established an overland route to the coast and with his partners Simon Fraser and David Thompson, set up a network of fur trading forts south to Oregon. US president Thomas Jefferson countered by sending out the Lewis and Clark expedition to strengthen American claims and an American entrepreneur, John Jacob Astor, established a lonely US outpost at Astoria. Gough examines each of the players in this territorial drama, bringing them fully to life and vividly recounting their hardships and struggles. "Fortune's A River" is a major historical work that reads like a wild west adventure.

Table of Contents

Map of Northwest Americap. 8
Prefacep. 9
Prologue: "The Very Football of Chance"p. 17
Dreams, Schemes, Realitiesp. 41
Visit of the Stranger from the Westp. 53
The Mackenzie Touchp. 76
Soft Gold: The Russian Thrust to Alaska, Columbia River and Alta Californiap. 86
Rising Tides of Empire: Flags at Nootka Soundp. 108
The Empire of Safe Harbour Retreatp. 132
Canadian Traders on the Missouri and the Spanish Responsep. 153
The View from Monticello: Jefferson's Westsp. 179
Northern Shadows Across the Trail: Nor' Westers Meet Lewis and Clarkp. 202
Lewis and Clark to the Pacific and Returnp. 229
The Columbian Enterprise: David Thompson, 1800-1810p. 249
Boston and New York on the Lower Columbia River: The Winships and Astorp. 275
David Thompson and the Voyage of a Summer Moon, 1811p. 289
The Fortunes of Warp. 304
The Empire of Fortune: Cultivating the Arts of Peacep. 319
The Legacy: The North American Far West on the Eve of the Oregon Crisisp. 332
"The Theatre of all the Geographical Fictions": The Northwest and Other Passagesp. 342
Three Flags and the Columbia River: Identification and Exploration of the River of the Westp. 350
Notesp. 356
Bibliographyp. 387
Indexp. 403
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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