History, Public Memory, and the Land Abandonment Crisis of the 1920s

McManus, Curt
September 2008
Prairie Forum;Fall2008, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p257
Between 1917 and 1927, an estimated 10,000* men, women, and children were forced to abandon their homesteads in southwest and west-central Saskatchewan as a result of drought, crop failure, bankruptcy, and land seizure. This little-known story of Saskatchewan's settlement history impacts the way in which historians and the public view the legendary and much better known crisis of the 1930s. The land abandonment crisis of the 1920s clearly shows that the "Dirty Thirties" was not an exceptional event which disrupted the Roaring '20s and caught settlers by surprise, but was instead the simple continuation of crop failure and land abandonment which had plagued the area ever since it had been opened up to settlement in 1908.


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