The potato and the nail: reading the Fort Langley Post journals and Europeanization on the banks of the Fraser River 1827-1830




Gow, Ezekiel Hart

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This thesis examines through a micro-historical lens the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Langley and its early period (1827-1830) covered by the surviving post journals. Through a close reading and analysis of the journal entries, I will argue that the establishment of Fort Langley was part of a process of Europeanization, which was in turn expressed through the physical construction, the labour of the Langley contingent, and the ways that the H.B.C. servants interacted with new and existing foodways. I will argue that, although the journal entries provide only a limited window into the historical reality of Fort Langley’s early years, they are a useful source for understanding complex social, class, and racial relationships that permeated life and labour at Fort Langley. I demonstrate that even the crafting of a nail is a critical part of contextualizing the complex processes which would eventually form a distinctly European system of control on the banks of the Fraser River.



HBC Food Production, History of the Hudson's Bay Company, Fort Langley Post Journal, Fraser River