This is essentially the "hard copy" version of the Interactive Map feature of the website. The map is simplified into a base map showing topographical features, overlayed by five layers, each of which reflects an era or broad chapter in the history of southwest Manitoba.
This map is designed to give a broad impression of the people and activities that have swept through and occupied what is now southwest Manitoba. The map shows what is underneath the map of southwest Manitoba we are used to seeing. It communicates the idea that the most recent layer of the map – borders, roads and present-day communities – is not necessarily the most important one. There are thousands of years of history underneath our feet. Many multitudes of people – postglacial nomadic cultures, modern First Nations, Métis, and European explorers, trader and settlers – have walked this land and found sustenance here.
The base map strips the landscape down to the basic elements of lakes, river and elevation.
This is a close approximation to what the landscape looked like a few thousand years ago. The features of the landscape were sculpted by glacial retreat.
Two important features that can easily be made out by looking at the topography of the landscape are the Souris River Valley and Turtle Mountain.
Early Use (10,000 BCE - 1790 AD)
There is evidence of 12,000 years of human history in southwest Manitoba.
Early human use of the landscape had little permanent impact. Nomadic bison hunting societies lives off of the resources of the land. Trails were created as people followed the bison.
There was very little European presence during this period: a few explorers toward the end.
Fur Trade (1790 - 1879)
Europeans on the land were still a minority during this perios, and they engaged in close trading relationships with First Nations.
The Metis came into their own sense of identity: they found a lifestyle in seasonal bison hunting.
Still few permanent strcutures, trails and river systems were used for transportation.
Dakota sought refuge in Canada from the American cavalry in the south.
The Hudson's Bay Company sold 95% of their land to the Dominion Government of Canada in 1869. Canada went about surveying, drawing invisible lines on the land.
The bison by this time were almost completely driven out of Manitoba.
Borders became evident for the first time. The Canada-U.S. border wasn't physically marked on the landscape until 1873-4.
Concepts of land ownership changed drastically.
Pre-Railroad European Settlement (1880-1885+)
Settlement began five to ten years prior to railroad development in the southwest.
Early post offices and settlements were concentrated along trails leading to "the west" from centres such as Emerson and Winnipeg.
In 1882 the railway reached Brandon, bringing a flood of settlers.
Permanent settlements appeared for the first time.
Post-Railroad European Settlement (1885~1960)
The first railway to reach southwest Manitoba was the CPRwhich reached Boissevain from Winnipeg in 1885.
Over the next 30 years additional lines were built by several companies, making it easy to transport people and goods quickly.
It is interesting to note the changes in development of towns between the pre-and-post railroad eras. Thriving centres that had been established in earlier years were abandoned or moved when the railway came though.
The Next Layer
We are currently working on a sixth layer to the map, one that shows present-day roads and highways.