The Complexity of Community: Intervillage Migrations in the Illinois Country, 1699-1763
This Master’s thesis examines how social networks impacted the changing composition of French settler villages in the Illinois Country (present day Illinois and Missouri, USA), 1699-1763. More specifically, it analyzes the linkages between French settlers, Indigenous Illinois communities, and both enslaved Black and Indigenous peoples during a foundational period of migration and settlement. Rather than examining migration patterns to and from the Illinois Country, the focus of this thesis lies in examining intervillage migrations between six Illinois villages (Kaskaskia, Fort de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher, St. Philippe, Cahokia, and Ste. Geneviève). Though these villages have typically been portrayed as becoming increasingly French in character throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, this project rethinks the process of colonization by rethinking the ways in which intervillage migration created and maintained dynamic centres of exchange and cross-cultural contact. More broadly, the project contributes to a revaluation of the nature of colonialism for vast portions of French North America throughout the 18th century.
French colonial history, French-Indigenous relations, Illinois Country, 18th century, Settler colonialism, Migration, Mobility, Hybridity.
Master of Arts (M.A.)