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The Fur Trade

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  1. The Fur Trade The fight for the resources of Canada

  2. Quick review • Europe wants wealth and power • = mercantilism, imperialism • Search for NW Passage to Asia • John Cabot claims Nfld for England, and discovers wealth in fish in the grand banks • Jacques Cartier explores the St. Lawrence for France – sees value in fur, insults Iroquois • Samuel de Champlain sets up colony of New France and starts the Fur trade for France, also makes enemy of the Iroquois

  3. Exploration World Map

  4. Champlain and the start of the fur trade • sets up colony of New France (Quebec), and is first Governor, in order to set up the fur trade • Alliance with Huron – get furs, but hated by the Iroquois • Hire “Coureur s de Bois” – “runners of the woods” to explore inland, make alliances with Natives, set up fur trade • Many marry Native Women • Strong, independent, brave men

  5. English and French Land Claims: 1645

  6. Value in Fur • all fur valuable for clothing, coats, bedding • Beaver Fur most valuable – under fur used to make felt for hats! • HUGE demand – new hat fashions each year • Monopoly on fur trade = mercantilism (makes that country the richest and most powerful)

  7. French Fur Trade • Various fur trading companies work for France(example: Company of 100 associates) • Workers are men each with a share in company, or independent workers • Men canoe to Natives, and gather furs • Trade goods including fire arms and alcohol to natives for furs • Coureur de bois become Voyageurs • Take furs to Montreal, canoe out St. Lawrence to ship to France • Constant interference with Iroquois

  8. Voyageurs • Called themselves “Canadiens” • Fur traders from New France • famous fro strength, endurance, knowledge of wilderness • Paddled canoes between fort William and Montreal collecting furs – thousands of km

  9. Voyageurs • Camp under canoe, sing songs, eat pemmican • Pemmican: buffalo meat, fat, and berries • Portage = forced to carry goods / canoe/ furs over land to go around rapids, waterfalls, connect to new river

  10. Radisson and Groseillies • 2 French Voyageurs (fur traders) • Sick and tired of fighting the Iroquois on the St. Lawrence to ship furs • Alternative: ship out Hudson’s Bay • Take idea to French King Louis XIV – he takes their furs and says NO! • Go to English King Charles II – he says YES! and creates the Hudson’s Bay Company

  11. HBC and Rupert’s Land • England is imperialistic – Claim all the Land (and Fur) around Hudson’s Bay for England • Call it “Rupert’s Land” after Prince Rupert • 1670: King gives a Charter to the New Hudson’s Bay Company giving them all the rights to the land and fur trade in Rupert’s Land

  12. HBC and Rupert’s Land

  13. Land controlled by HBC in 1700

  14. Land rights controlled by HBC in 1764

  15. Land rights controlled by HBC in 1850

  16. HBC Trading Post • Set up trading posts at mouths of rivers on Hudson’s Bay (and James’ Bay) • Natives bring furs to Trading Post (different form French voyageurs) • See p. 259 for map • Posts manned year-round, but Ships come to take furs to England (and bring supplies) once per year • Head trader: Factor • Power over Day to day in Post

  17. HBC Trading Post • Staff: clerks, boat loaders and builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, servants • Are employees and paid a salary, work long hours • Discouraged form marrying Native Women, banned from trading Alcohol • Buildings: main depot, church, guest house, hospital, cooperage (barrels), smithy, bake house, fur storage, provisions house, officers’ quarters, servants quarters, etc.

  18. HBC Trading Post • Long, cold winter • Boring except when ship arrives – new supplies and letters form home = celebration! • Trade goods for furs (to natives) • List p. 261 • Beaver pelts become currency • 1 “made beaver” (MB) or “buck” sets value/ price • See chart p. 261

  19. Map of Fort Langley

  20. English and French: Monopoly • France and England both Claim Land and Fur rights - Both want a monopoly

  21. NWC • After 1763, the French Companies are combined (under Scottish/ American Ownership) to 1 company: NORTH WEST COMPANY • Huge competition between HBC and NWC • NWC uses Voyageurs, controls st. Lawrence, great lakes and interior rivers/ lakes, deals directly with Native groups • Forces HBC to move inland when they intercept/ take furs • 2 companies will merge in 1821

  22. Women in Fur Trade • Traders married Native Women – called “country wives” • Half native, half French called “Metis” • Women were interpreters, diplomats, negotiators, • Knowledge was essential to survival of fur traders • Married for social connections • Provide knowledge of customs, knowledge of land, made snowshoes, moccasins, clothes, supplied local food, firewood, made and operated birch bark canoes, dried meat for winter • Some men abandoned their country wives and returned to Europe