Chapter 4Competition for Trade Social Studies 7
Introduction • First Nations and Europeans learned to cooperate because they wanted to trade. What obstacles or challenges might each group have had to overcome to cooperate (why might they not get along at first?)
The Fur Trade • At first, the fur trade was conducted between First Nations trappers and hunters, and European traders. Each group had commodities (items) that the other wanted: • The First Nations wanted manufactured metal goods—pots, knives, axes, copper wire, and guns. These manufactured goods were more effective and more durable than their similar tools made of wood or stone. They were also interested in other items, such as blankets, cloth, and thread.
The Fur Trade • Europeans wanted fur, fur, and fur. North America had a much larger wildlife population than Europe because of the low population density in the New World, and these animals—fox, marten, otter, bear, lynx, muskrat, wolf, beaver—provided pelts that many Europeans were willing to pay a lot for.
A Barter Economy • In earlier times, most Europeans used metal coins (sometimes gold, silver, or copper). Other civilizations used other small valuables as currency. It was also common to exchange goods for other things of value—this exchange was called bartering. Bartering involves the value or worth of any number of goods or commodities—a more valuable, rare, or useful good might be exchanged for several (or many) less valuable, expensive objects.
A Barter Economy • First Nations groups had been trading with one another for centuries. Their main commodities were raw resources and a few simple manufactured goods—trade was common, but not the focus of their economic system. First Nations societies developed traditions and ceremonies for their trade relationships that would show respect and honor to their trading partners. When French settlers and explorers arrived, they did the same.
Costs and Profits • Although the fur trade was thought to be a partnership or cooperative effort (because both sides engaged in it together), the gains or benefits from the trade were not equal. European operations in the trade cost a lot of money:
Costs and Profits • Although the Europeans invested more money in the trade than First Nations groups, they also profited a great deal more from it: