By Anya Zilberstein
'A Temperate Empire' explores how early North American settlers understood the common means of weather warming and attempted to remake neighborhood climates via colonial payment and monetary development.
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Additional info for A temperate empire: making climate change in early America
35 40 40 A T e m pe r at e E m pi r e This colonial erasure was also an act of profound appropriation. Settlers retained some Algonquian place names for villages or natural features, but they were quick to rename the entire region, usually after themselves. The English briefly called it Norumbega—a pseudo-indigenous toponym with mysterious origins. However, most of the earliest English maps and charters designated the coastal territories north of the Chesapeake Bay as North Virginia. ” James I then extended this branding technique northward when he granted the peninsula that the French called Acadia to William Alexander, whose New Scotland colony lasted only from 1629 to 1632 but provided later British colonizers with the latinized name Nova Scotia.
The dotted lines crossing the Chart point out to places which have equal degree of heat. These form the boundaries of regions distinguished by color… . Woodbridge, “Isothermal Chart Or View Of the Climates & Productions of The Earth” (London: Whittaker, 1828). Courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. 24 24 A T e m pe r at e E m pi r e patterns. Still others continued to point to the region’s favorable latitude, especially because the alignment of American regions with ancient cities like Rome (in the same latitude as southern New England) or Athens (parallel to the Chesapeake) suggested tantalizing historical possibilities.
Such geographical lumping also reflected political geography, particularly new administrative units that the British improvised over the course of the Seven Years’ War. In 1755, the Board of Trade used the Potomac River (regarded as the center of the continent) to divide the administration of colonial territory between a northern and a southern Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Perhaps this is why at the end of the war surveyors were assigned to a Northern and Southern District—divided now at Pennsylvania—for the purpose of creating comprehensive maps of these two regions that integrated former French and Spanish territories Quebec, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and the Floridas into the map of the British Empire in North America.