Mapping Early Niagara is the title of my Master’s thesis, which will be completed by the end of 2020. I am currently a graduate student in the history department at Brock University, located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
This SSHRC funded project incorporates both historical and geographical aspects in its examination of the economic development of the Niagara region in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I am mapping the trade routes that existed at the time, both within the peninsula itself and on a broader scale. I essentially want to know how the early colonial settlements in Niagara developed post-Revolution, using the visual dimension of digital tools to aid in my own understanding and also to share my research with the public in an accessible way.
So why did Niagara develop the way it did? Who laid the foundations of what we see and know today? How did these settlements appear and develop over time? How did they interact with Indigenous societies already living on the land? These are just a few of the questions that this thesis seeks to answer. The spatial history “mapping” component is a modern approach to answering such questions. Digital mapping can show the development of space over time, and can convey historical meaning in new and different ways.