Nearly thirty years ago W.S. MacNutt published the first general history of the Atlantic provinces before Confederation. An outstanding scholarly achievement, that history inspired much of the enormous growth of research and writing on Atlantic Canada in the succeeding decades. Now a new effort is required, to convey the state of our knowledge in the 1990s. Many of the themes important to today's historians, notably those relating to social class, gender, and ethnicity, have been fully developed only since 1970. Important advances have been made in our understanding of regional economic developments and their implications for social, cultural, and political life.This book is intended to fill the need for an up-to-date overview of emerging regional themes and issues. Each of the sixteen chapters, written by a distinguished scholar, covers a specific chronological period and has been carefully integrated into the whole. The history begins with the evolution of Native cultures and the impact of the arrival of Europeans on those cultures, and continues to the formation of Confederation. The goal has been to provide a synthesis that not only incorporates the most recent scholarship but is accessible to the general reader. The book re-assesses many old themes from a new perspective, and seeks to broaden the focus of regional history to include those groups whom the traditional historiography ignored or marginalized.