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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

White Settler Reserve

New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West

In 1875, Icelandic immigrants established a colony on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg. The timing and location of New Iceland was not accidental. Across the Prairies, the Canadian government was creating land reserves for Europeans in the hope that the agricultural development of Indigenous lands would support the state’s economic and political ambitions. In this innovative history, Ryan Eyford expands our understanding of the creation of western Canada: his nuanced account traces the connections between Icelandic colonists, the Indigenous people they displaced, and other settler groups while exposing the ideas and practices integral to building a colonial society.

272 pages

Table of Contents


1 Northern Dreamlands: Canadian Expansionism and Icelandic Migration

2 Broken Townships: Colonization Reserves and the Dominion Lands System

3 The First New Icelanders: Family Migration and the Formation of a Reserve Community

4 Quarantined within a New Order: Smallpox and the Spatial Practices of Colonization

5 “Principal Projector of the Colony”: The Turbulent Career of John Taylor, Icelandic Agent

6 Becoming British Subjects: Municipal Government and Citizenship

7 “Freemen Serving No Overlord”: Debt, Self-Reliance, and Liberty


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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