Louisbourg’s Labourer-Soldiers, 1720-1743: Labour and Empire Building in an Era of Peace
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This thesis explores contributions of Louisbourg’s soldiers as non-combatants between 1720 and 1743 to the building of a French Atlantic Empire. Louisbourg’s garrison was the main construction force used to build the town’s extensive fortifications. The fortifications they built were a display of France’s intent to build an overseas empire. Therefore, this thesis argues that Louisbourg’s soldiers built an empire as construction labourers and not as traditional soldiers fighting on a battlefield. They won no great battles to conquer a new land, but the skilled and unskilled labourer-soldiers of Louisbourg helped to build a trading hub that successfully connected Louisbourg to France and its other colonies in North America. Louisbourg’s commercial and economic successes demonstrate how empire was built from “below”. The defensive and civil infrastructure built by these labourer-soldiers was essential to the success of this empire.