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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Revolution and Canada I

Among the histories of the Revolutionary War I have read, discussion of Canada is limited generally to the attacks on Montreal and Quebec, and the subsequent battles during the withdrawal of the Americans.  What may not be readily understood is the more global impact of the war on other regions in Canada--such as distant Newfoundland.

Here is the site of Fort Townshend in St. John's.

We can see in the middle distance the Southern Hills that forms part of the Narrows leading into the harbor.  Fort Townshend was built between 1773 and 1779 and headquartered the British garrison in Newfoundland during the Revolution.  

The Heritage Website of Newfoundland and Labrador notes the deleterious effect on the Newfoundland economy as trade was disrupted through political acts and the sea routes subjected to the effect of the war, privateers and naval action.  When Spain joined the American-French side, Newfoundland lost another market.  Nonetheless, Newfoundlanders did not sympathize with or join the American cause.  

IN 1778 the Newfoundland Volunteers was organized and constructed Fort Townshend; two years later, the Newfoundland Regiment was formed with 300 men to defend Newfoundland, under command of Captain Robert Pringle.

Today, Newfoundland is a 2 1/3 hour flight from Newark, New Jersey.  Despite that remoteness from the epicenter of the American Revolution, the economic and political effects of the war reverberated to the furthest reaches of colonized North America.

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