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Interesting book - Changes In The Land

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  • Interesting book - Changes In The Land

    Here's an interesting book - Changes In The Land by William Cronon.   It deals with the ways that the N.E. NA's changed the land for their use and the radical changes the Colonist's brought about. 

  • #2
    That's a good read. Interestingly, when Verrazzano stayed in Narragansett Bsy for two weeks in 1524, he sent land exploration parties into the interior and described cleared land, not the dense forest we might assume to have been the case:
    "We frequently went five to six leagues into the interior, and found it as pleasant as I can possibly describe, and suitable for every kind of cultivation grain, wine, or oil. For there the fields extend for XXV to XXX leagues; they are open and free of any obstacles or trees, and so fertile that any kind of seed would produce excellent crops. . . ."
    I've seen the league as a unit of distance as being about 3 miles, so those would indeed be very large tracts of cleared land, seemingly impossibly large by the above description. They did practice slash and burn agriculture.
    Rhode Island


    • #3
      The NA's practice of burning off the brush and understory made perfect sense for their lifestyle.  Lot's of "edges" for game animals -and- plenty of new green growth to attract them.   The book does mention the Narragansett Bay area as very open and park like.