G’day there!

I’ll level with you: I don’t quite know where to begin. So I guess I’ll kick things off with an apology. It’s been nearly sixteen months since I last posted on this site, and to that I say mea culpa. When I jumped ship in February 2014 (yikes!), I left a pretty big cliffhanger with respect to the story of Phillips Callbeck and the American invasion of Charlottetown in 1775. I’m going to try to tidy this one up, but the Coles Notes version is that the kidnapped Callbeck meets George Washington, who turns out to be a pretty decent guy and sets him free, after which Callbeck makes his way back to the Island and instigates a fortification strategy for the capital. Just after I made that last post, I unexpectedly landed my first professional contract and had to hit the ground running. Since then, it’s been something of a whirlwind. I’ll do my best to update you on all of my activities; but before I do, I’d like to address another matter.

This past March (the 29th, to be precise), my girlfriend and I relocated to Scotland for a working holiday. We ended up in St. Andrews: the home of golf, Scotland’s oldest university, and the initial romance of Wills and Kate. She (my girlfriend, not Kate) had a job offer, and we both felt that we could use a change of scenery after the Island’s worst winter on record. It wasn’t my first time in Scotland, but it was my first foray into St. Andrews, and I have to say that, as a historian, I was not disappointed. The UK has a vastly incredible amount of history, and St. Andrews practically seeped the stuff from every pore of its being. You couldn’t escape it. (Note: It may actually be possible to do so. To be fair, I didn’t try). Everywhere you went it felt as if you were stepping back in time 200, 300, 400, 500 years or more. Walking the streets felt almost dream-like; however, there was always something niggling in the back of my mind, which grew ever more persistent, more “niggly” if you will (I think I just made that up). Despite the fact that my daily foot travels took me along a row of late Georgian-era houses, through a 17th century courtyard, past the site of the UK’s first recorded tracheotomy, a tenement frequented by both the Knight’s Templar and Mary Queen of Scots, the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, and Castle (among many, many others), there still seemed to be something lacking. Eventually, I came to realize what it was: there simply isn’t any history quite like Island history.

IMG_0073
The ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, with St. Rule’s Tower visible in the background. The cathedral was begun in AD 1158 and took over a century to complete. It fell into disuse and ruin in the 16th century during the Scottish Reformation.

Call me crazy, but there’s just something about Island history that, in my opinion, sets it apart. It isn’t that it’s “exotic” or “sexy” – I mean, to my knowledge there are no Roman ruins, Egyptian pyramids, or Mayan temples to be found here. Honestly, I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on it try as I do. It’s some sort of elusive, mysterious magnetism that, once it draws you in, becomes impossible to shake.

Not that I’ve ever tried, mind you.

I first experienced that magnetism in the third grade, when I was assigned the PEI flag as part of a class project that aimed to explore the history and symbolism of diverse drapeaux. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I now believe this was the starting point (or one of them, anyway) of a love affair with Island history that has taken me to where I am today.

Provincial flag of Prince Edward Island. The large oak tree represents Great Britain, which shelter a trio of oak saplings that symbolize the Island's three counties: Prince, Queens, and Kings, all surmounted by a heraldic lion. Although the flag was adopted in 1964, it was derived from the provincial coat of arms, granted in 1905. The Island's motto, Parva Sub Ingenti (
Provincial flag of Prince Edward Island. The large oak tree represents Great Britain, which shelters a trio of oak saplings that symbolize the Island’s three counties: Prince, Queens, and Kings. The entirety is surmounted by a heraldic lion. Although the flag was adopted in 1964, it was derived from the provincial coat of arms, granted in 1905. The Island’s motto, Parva Sub Ingenti (“the small under the [protection of] the great”) has been in use since the granting of colony status in 1769.
As you can see, I’ve made a few physical modifications to this site, and it’s quite likely that more are in the offing. WordPress has come out with a number of new templates, so please bear with me while I attempt to settle on a new look.

I’ve also decided to alter the scope of this site as well. Along with posts on historical topics, I will be including posts about the different projects (professional/personal) I’ve worked on and am currently working on, anything that relates to my journey as a freelance historian, and general thoughts on the Island’s heritage. My reasons for doing this are two-fold:

1) Widening the scope increases the likelihood that I will update this site more often. While I like nothing more than to wax ad nauseam on anything and everything Island history, those posts typically take quite a bit of time and effort, which I can’t always afford; on the other hand, quick updates about my activities and thoughts should – in theory – prove an easier commitment.

2) In the 1.5 years that I’ve been working as a historian in a freelance capacity, I’ve discovered a fair number of people who really don’t know what it means to be a historian, let alone one who is self-employed. Here’s hoping I can shed a bit of light on that.

Final item: From the get-go, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into maintaining a social media presence. Much of this energy goes into Twitter. If you’re a fellow tweeter, feel free to follow me (@PEIHistoryGuy); if not, you can still access my material via my Twitter feed in the sidebar. I’m also in the process of revamping my Instagram page, so if that’s your thing you can check me out on there as well (I also have it linked in the sidebar if not)!

Cheers,

PEI History Guy

Advertisements