The “Sweet Seas” of Culture: A Consideration of the role that the Great Lakes have played in the Creation of a Cultural Borderland
Randy William Widdis | BIG Research Reports | #100
The great French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, created the metaphor of “mers douces” (sweet seas) to describe the Great Lakes. In both the pre-contact and colonial eras, the interlocking lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes region constituted the major conduits and passageways for cross cultural interactions, settlement, and exchange. This continued to be the case after the establishment of the international border, only to be tempered when land transportation mediums, most notably the railroad, directed cross-border flows and networks away from traditional marine spaces. This paper offers some reflections on the role that the Great
Lakes have played in the development of a distinctive cultural region.
Randy William Widdis