Mahone Bay & Oak Island Karst

Private triangle mercantilism
A smuggler’s entrepôt during the Ancien Régime?



  • The “treasure” of Mahone Bay is gypsum and limestone deposits. Colonial supplies of limeslake and whitewash [both gypsum (lower value substitute); and limestone whitewash)] are scarce, taxed & controlled in New England and Placentia (Newfoundland). With British colonists substituting the lowest quality oyster shell whitewash in such quantity that harvesting is restricted to protect the oyster fishery.
  • It is a high demand staple and higher demand, high status luxury item. But research suggests that gypsum and limestone deposits near Chester, Merlingueche (Lunenburg) and La Hêve went unremarked during the Ancien Régime, despite clues that hint that they would have been sought after, and watched for, and found.
  • Mahone Bay has 16th-18th century kiln works and some of the evidence may be submerged. Mi’kmaq, dry fishery and Acadian partners burnt the lime. Influential intermediaries smuggled untaxed lime into New England as a luxury product until 1697; whilst continuing to smuggle it as a private staple tradable in Acadia, and Placentia (Newfoundland), and every private ‘trade triangle’.
  • Sea-level rise can be reverse-engineered back to the 17th century. Archaeological markers been drowned by the 0.4m-1.4 meter (m) average sea-level rise, post-1604.
  • New Englanders harvested the roots of American revolutionary thinking during the private Acadian trade. With all this private trade, circumventing French and English Lords Proprietors and Royal tax collectors, did American colonial tax-independence-mindededness get rooted in the diked marshlands of Port Royal, and Beaubassin, and Grand Pré?

Chart link: here

Sailing Fleet Image: Public Domain