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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 23

Gaspé, 1760-1867

by David Lee


For the purposes of this study, the term "Gaspé" will be considered to include all the land from Matane on the St. Lawrence River to the point where the Restigouche River enters Chaleur Bay. This is the habitat of the Gaspé codfish and this study will continue the examination of the history of the people whose lives depended on that fish.1

The political division called the "Inferior District of Gaspé" did not extend as far up the St. Lawrence River as the codfish. The district originally included all the land between Cap Chat and the Restigouche River.2 (Although the lieutenant governor of the district was sometimes given duties and authorities in the Magdalen Islands and on the Labrador coast, these will not be included in this study.) In 1852 a small portion of the shore of the St. Lawrence River, from Cap Chat to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, was detached from the District of Gaspé and added to the District of Kamouraska.3 The western boundary of Gaspé, in effect the boundary between the provinces of Canada and New Brunswick, was finally fixed in 1857 when the government chose the Patapedia River (the middle of the three forks of the Restigouche River) rather than the Mistouche (Upsalquitch) or Matapedia rivers.4

References to the "government" in this study allude to the government headed by the British governor of the old Province of Quebec (1763-91), Lower Canada (1791-1841) and the United Province of Canada (1841-67), with their legislative councils and assemblies.

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