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Fur Trade in Wisconsin. Main Idea Notes on the Wisconsin Fur Trade. White Men Coming to WI. Priests – conversion to Catholicism Explorers – natural resources/trade route east (Asia ) Had heard and seen gold/riches coming back with the Spanish so the French too were intrigued.

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Fur trade in wisconsin

Fur Trade in Wisconsin

Main Idea Notes on the Wisconsin Fur Trade

White men coming to wi
White Men Coming to WI

  • Priests – conversion to Catholicism

  • Explorers – natural resources/trade route east (Asia)

    • Had heard and seen gold/riches coming back with the Spanish so the French too were intrigued.

  • Jean Nicolet (1634)

    • Interacted with the Native tribes he encountered – wanted to make peace with them

    • Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Potawatomi

French and indian
French and Indian

  • Became trade partners

    • French learned their language and culture

    • Metis – French and Indian babies

    • Traded furs for European goods

      • Improved Indian farming

      • Helped hunters

        • Native philosophy: the creator brings the animal to an individual as a gift and the animal willingly sacrifices its life so the person may eat and be clothed – regardless European goods improved efficiency

Disadvantages for the indians
Disadvantages for the Indians

  • Had to meet the demand (almost impossible)

  • Depletion of resources

    • Hunting parties from one tribe move into hunting grounds of neighboring tribes = conflict

    • Tribes split and spread out – altering the sense of community.

    • Male hunters were absent from families for long periods of time – women adopted male tasks.

      • Women were not asked for advice as much as they used to; tribes became more male dominated (Americanization)

    • Introduction of alcohol

      • No tolerance and quickly became addicted.

      • Fur trade depleted natural resources, and Indian communities suffered great loss due to European diseases, many became impoverished = turned to alcohol to forget their problems.

British arrive
British Arrive

  • 1740s – British traders arrived and challenged the French (French and Indian War)

    • British defeated the French in 1759 (took over the fur trade)

      • WI Indians resented this – French understood the Native practice of gift-giving and good relations

      • British used fear tactics and threats (tyranny)

Pontiac s rebellion 1763
Pontiac’s Rebellion 1763

  • Pontiac organized Indian groups of the Western Great Lakes in a rebellion against the British (no Menominee or Ho-Chunk)

  • Captured many British forts but could not hold onto them.

  • British passed the Proclamation of 1763 – forbade colonists from settling west of the Appalachians (largely ignored)

  • Reintroduction of the French practice of gift-giving, relaxing the restrictions on selling guns and ammunition to tribes.

After the american revolution
After the American Revolution

  • American government took control of the fur trade (government-run posts)

    • Did not work as the old system continued to be utilized under the table.

  • Americans didn’t know how to cultivate relationships with WI Indians

    • Charged high prices for their hunting supplies (impoverishing the natives more)

  • Freely traded alcohol for furs (alcohol abuse)


  • 1830s – population of some fur bearing animals were dwindling.

    • Beaver were nearly extinct/once fashionable was now out of style.

    • Lumber was the next go to, until deforestation took its toll on those resources

    • Predominantly lead mining became popular in parts of WI – other resources were mined as well.

    • Lead prices dropped = miners turned to farming

      • Rich soil brought settlers to WI (wanted land – Native land)