With the publication of David Thompson's "Columbia Journals", Barbara Belyea gives wider recognition to the fur trader, primary explorer, and cartographer who lived from 1770 to 1857. His "Columbia Journals" not only documents the North West Company's efforts to find good trade routes across the Canadian Rocky Mountains but reveals Thompson's personal interest in mapping the Pacific watershed north of California. His accounts give a detailed picture of the fur business during its greatest expansion and remind us of the extent to which the territory he explored has been transformed by settlement, roads, and hydroelectric dams. Thompson's journals trace the fur trade's westernmost expansion while his hand-drawn maps preserve a contemporary image of the country he explored. Belyea suggests that most previous historical research, based on Thompson's "Narrative", has overlooked this contemporary, professional record of the explorer's activities. Her analysis of generic differences between the memoir and the journal proposes a reassessment of the way sources have been used in histories of the fur trade. The extensive notes which accompany the "Columbia Journals" provide a documentary context for Thompson's own account. Details of Thompson's manuscript maps are included, together with the work of other cartographers of the period.
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 670 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
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