Southern Waters : the Limits to Abundance. by Craig E. Colten

By Craig E. Colten

Water has ruled photographs of the South all through historical past, from Hernando de Soto''s 1541 crossing of the Mississippi to tragic scenes of flooding during the Gulf South after storm Katrina. yet those pictures inform basically part the tale: as city, business, and inhabitants progress create remarkable calls for on water within the South, the issues of toxins and water shortages develop ever extra pressing. In Southern  Read more...

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5). He observes a multitude of fish 24 | Southern Waters near the mouth of the fresh­water river; he spies one indigenous inhabitant wearing an acorn-size pearl suggesting other riches could be secured from the waters; and he comments on the suitability of the location for a French settlement. ” With an eye to colonization, drinking water, food resources, harborage, and potential riches became the keys to Ribaut’s appraisal of water resources—albeit human modification of the harbor might be necessary.

Moving water, flowing from highlands to lowlands, provided a means for connecting interior and coastal groups and permitting exchange of trade goods unavailable in either locale. Water was a self-renewing substance that could wash away both threats of ill-health and also past misdeeds. During the initial stages of contact between Europeans and Native Americans, indigenous names for waterways (and even wetlands) provided the essential geographic nomenclature. The preexisting toponymy provided a shared orientation, a network of named features that guided travel through an otherwise ambiguous and poorly understood territory.

Well-watered, swamps and marshes were undesirable, but once drained they could become productive places. As Europeans expanded their demands on waterways, they overlaid traditional concepts of resource management. Common law regarded waterways as public resources. This was distinct from the exclusive concept of property applied to terra firma. As a public commons, rivers were free for all to use for navigation, fishing, and even early mills tapping water power were considered public, not private.

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