French roots in the Illinois country : the Mississippi frontier in colonial times /
Carl J. Ekberg.
Urbana, Ill. : University of Illinois Press, c1998.
xii, 359 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
0252023641 (acid-free paper)
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Urbana, Ill. : University of Illinois Press, c1998.
0252023641 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-339 and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-11:
In this well-researched and meticulously written study Ekberg examines patterns of land holding, agricultural practices, and settlement in the Illinois country from the late 1600s until after the area became part of the US in the early 19th century. The geographical area included the French Colonial settlements of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Vincennes, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, and Prairie du Chen. The author discusses a unique system of long lot and common field agriculture that developed in this region, motivated both by the French cultural heritage and the specific needs of living in the upper Mississippi valley during the Colonial era. Settlement patterns in these communities revolved around a tripartite configuration of the nuclear village, open fields where a distinctive style of cereal agriculture predominated, and common lands for the grazing of animals. Such practices were not seen elsewhere in Colonial North America. The study also examines the cultural differences between the French mentalite and the assumptions held by citizens of the US that brought an end to this system in the decades after the Louisiana Purchase. This work breaks new ground and is a welcome addition to the literature. Upper-division undergraduates and above. L. T. Cummins; Austin College
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Choice, November 1998
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Unpaid Annotation
Focusing on the French Creole communities and agricultural practices on both sides of the Mississippi River, this volume provides a comprehensive history of colonial settlement in the Illinois Country.Carl Ekberg presents a completely new perspective on Illinois history by examining a number of previously unexplored issues: the medieval-style open-field agriculture, the first use of African slaves in the region as agricultural laborers, the flour trade between Illinois and New Orleans, and the significance of the different mentalites of French Creoles and Anglo-Americans in early Illinois.Ekberg has drawn on rarely used French, Spanish, and American archival documents in creating this new picture of the Illinois Country as a single, integrated ethnic, economic, and cultural entity. The volume will be indispensable for scholars and students involved in this area.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations of Source Collections
Introductionp. 1
French Longlots in North Americap. 5
Settlements in the Illinois Countryp. 31
Open-Field Agriculturep. 111
Habitants, Slaves, and Engagesp. 138
Tilling the Land in Colonial Illinoisp. 171
Agricultural Commerce in the Mississippi Valleyp. 213
Conclusion: Changing Times, Changing Mentalitesp. 239
Gristmills and River Vesselsp. 265
Notesp. 283
Indexp. 341
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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