Essential Question How did the Fur Trade, European settlement, and the rise of the Metis Nation transform the life for the peoples of the Northwest?
SIDENOTE: North America 16 beaver pelts = 1 musket Britain 1 beaver pelt = 16 muskets
Two Fur Trade Giants The Hudson’s Bay Company The Northwest Company
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) • In 1668, businessmen from England (supported by the influence of Prince Rupert) financed a voyage to North America • Attempting to find a more efficient trading route through the north of Canada • St. Lawrence route was long and convoluted • Two ships: “The Eaglet” and “The Nonsuch”
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) • Only “The Nonsuch” arrived in Canada (the other ship turned back due to weather damage) • Crew landed in James Bay • Found rich fur trade opportunities with the Cree traders in the area
SIDE NOTE: The only life-size replica of “The Nonsuch” can be found in the Manitoba Museum.
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) • Returning to England with all of the furs, the businessmen asked the King for a trading monopoly • Sole trading rights to the land that drains into Hudson’s Bay • 1670, HBC is officially born
Advantages for HBC • Trading posts on the coast: • Cree trading partners trap furs and bring them to trading posts • HBC didn’t have to pay extra to send traders inland • Ships could travel quickly back to England through Hudson’s Bay (faster than the old St. Lawrence route)
The Northwest Company (NWC) • Founded in the 1779 • A united group of British, Scottish, American, and French from the St. Lawrence region • Based in Montreal • Used St. Lawrence route to transport furs to England • Used in-land traders known as Nor’Westers or Voyageurs
The Northwest Company (NWC) • Attempt to compete with success of HBC • Between 1790 and 1791, NWC founders attempted to challenge the HBC fur-trade monopoly of Rupert’s Land • British government refused to do so • Each company had enforced boundaries where they were allowed to trap and trade
Advantages for NWC • Access to all of the inland areas not used by HBC • Vast amounts of territory • Exploited new fur sources in the West that had not been discovered by HBC
Disadvantages for NWC • Paying inland traders is more expensive (traders must travel for weeks at a time, need more supplies) • Voyageurs must bring furs all the way back to Montreal • St. Lawrence route back to England is slower and more convoluted than Hudson’s Bay route
HBC vs NWC: Fierce Rivalry • Attempts to move into each others territory • Burn each other’s boats and forts • Bribe the other company’s traders • Attempt to give better rates to the First Nations groups to win over their service
Some Impacts of the Fur Trade • Competition between the companies for furs and territory led to the European exploration of Canada West • Fur trade relationships formed the basis for many of the Aboriginal-European relationships at the time • Voyageurs lived among the Aboriginal cultures, eventually leading to the rise of the Metis culture • Combination of European and First Nations traditions
The Hudson’s Bay Company aka “The Bay” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apG-411fsVc