Fur Trade

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    Fur Trade

    For nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries, the fur trade was across Canada. The trading was sustained primarily by trapping beavers to appeal to the European demand for felt hats.
    The first French traders made permanent shore bases in Acadia, a post at Tadoussac, and in 1608, a base at Québec.
    During the first half of the 17th century, many traders flooded into the St Lawrence River region, and the number of people and competition greatly reduced profits.
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    Coureur De Bois

    Unlicenced French-Canadian Fur Traders. They explored the east coast of mainland North America. They traded with the natives they met. They traded knives, hatchets, and beads to the Indians for fur and meat. Indian trappers brought furs from the interior to the St. Lawrence River and traded there for manufactured goods from Europe. These goods included iron tools, wool blankets, colourful cloth, and guns. Licensing was soon introduced by the authorities to control the mass of trappers.
  • Radisson and des Groseilliers

    -Prior to 1659, the French authorized several fur trading companies. -These companies traded with the First Nations in the St. Lawrence region but never travelled as far as Lake Superior.
    -Pierre Esprit Radisson and Sieur des Groseilliers decided to travel from Montreal to Lake Superior, illegally, to trade for furs with the Cree and Ojibwa.
  • Jailed!

    Radisson and des Groseillers return with a hundred canoes full of unlicensed fur, so the furs are confiscated and des Groseilliers is jailed briefly.
  • New investors

    Radisson and des Groseilliers sail to New England in search of investors for their trading expeditions.
    In New England, Radisson and des Groseilliers propose exporting pelts via Hudson Bay as the route is shorter and will allow them to avoid paying taxes to New France. Over the next three years, only one expedition actually sets sail for the North. It is forced back by ice in Hudson Strait, ending the business arrangements with investors from New England.
  • Hudson's Bay Company

    Hudson's Bay Company
    Considered the first Company to trade fur.
    After gaining the interest of Prince Rupert, cousin of King Charles II of England, the first ships set sail from England in 1668. On May 2, 1670, the Royal Charter granted exclusive trading rights of the Hudson Bay watershed to “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay.”
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    A licenced worker, either a minor partner in a company or an independent contractor involved in the fur trade. Most were French-Canadian and came from villages like Troise-Rivierers or Montreal.

    Identified by red toque and sash. A white cotton tee to protect from the sun and bugs.
  • Illegal

    By Royal Edict, New France closed all its western fur posts. Trade was officially abandoned for 20 years.
  • Samuel Herne

    Samuel Herne
    In an attempt to find resources, specifically copper, as well as the Northwest Passage, Hearne makes three separate trips to the North. On his third attempt, he reaches the shores of the Arctic Ocean. He finds only one piece of copper, but he claims the region for HBC.
  • Saskatchewan River post created

    Samuel Hearne builds the Hudson Bay Company’s first inland post near Pine Island Lake on the Saskatchewan River – about 60 miles west of modern day The Pas.
    In 1690–92, Henry Kelsey, also a Hudson’s Bay Company employee, became the first European to explore the Saskatchewan River.
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    North West Company

    North West Company was a major force in the fur trade from the 1780s to 1821. Managed primarily by Highland Scots who migrated to Montréal after 1760, or Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, it also drew heavily on French-Canadian labour and experience.
  • David Thompson

    David Thompson
    Recruited by the Hudson’s Bay Company when he was 14 and he set sail to Churchill. He is sent inland where he learns Cree and Peigan languages. While recovering from a bad leg fracture, he studies mathematics, surveying and astronomy under HBC’s official surveyor, Philip Turnor. When a promotion restricts Thompson from surveying, he leaves HBC and joins their rival, the North West Company. During his career, he maps almost half of North America
  • North West trading

    Alexander Mackenzie searched for the North West Passage and instead reached the Arctic Ocean. The North West Trading Company began construction of trading boats on the Great Lakes.
  • It's easier to walk

    Alexander Mackenzie is the first European to cross the continent overland due to the dangerous river conditions. Alexander Mackenzie successfully crossed the continent to the Pacific Ocean. The route that he had discovered was so bad that it was little used in the future. He hired David Thompson as a map maker.
  • David Thompson trades sides

    Thompson wanted to explore rather than trade so he left the HBC and joined the rival North West Company where he spent the next 15 years exploring. In totaly, he spent 27 years mapping the west.
  • Red River Colony founded

    The Red River Colony, a key part of Manitoba's history, was a settlement on the Red and Assiniboine rivers whose boundaries crossed parts of what is now Manitoba and North Dakota.
    Founded by Thomas Douglas was also known as the 5th Earl of Selkirk.
  • Earl of Selkirk

    Earl of Selkirk
    thousands of Scottish highland farmers are evicted from their farms in Scotland. Known as the “Clearances,” the wealthy landowners want to turn the farmland into pastures for their sheep. After securing the acreage in Rupert`s Land, Lord Selkirk establishes a settlement at Red River for some of these displaced families. HBC agrees.
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    Nature strikes the Red River Colony

    Locusts devastated the crops in 1818 and 1819
    In 1826, the greatest flood on the Red River almost washed out the colony.
  • A merge

    A merge
    The North West Co. and the Hudson Bay Co. merged under the name Hudson Bay Co. A major factor in the decision was the high transportation costs shipping through the Great Lakes. In addition, the Hudson Bay Co. charter had stronger legal backing to the right of land by discovery than the partnership claims of the North West Co. After this time, most trade goods were shipped through Hudson Bay for the interior posts.
  • Lower Fort Gart

    Lower Fort Gart
    Fort Garry is originally built in 1821 on a site near The Forks in Winnipeg, where the Red and the Assiniboine rivers meet. A new fort, Lower Fort Garry is opened downstream in 1831. In 1835, HBC rebuilds the first fort in its original location and names it Upper Fort Garry.
  • Out of Fashion

    Out of Fashion
    The beaver hat is now out of fashion in Europe, signalling the near end of the fur trade.
  • Fur trade ends

    Canadian confederation.
    The fur trade slowly collapsed. The trade had only worked when the Indians had control of the land. The fur trade did not die entirely from a lack of furs. Furs had become hard to find at a number of times during the fur trade era. The lack of Indians available to assist with trapping and maintaining the trading system was an important impact.
    The change in fashion to the silk hat in Europe was the final blow.
  • Deed of Surrender

    Deed of Surrender
    In 1869, HBC reached an agreement to transfer Rupert’s Land, granted to the Company in the Royal Charter, back to the Crown. The deal was finalized in 1870 and the land was included in the new Dominion of Canada three years after Confederation, making way for continued settlement in western Canada.