The Fur Trade in Canada “We were Caesers, being no one to contradict us…” Pierre-Esprit Radisso Translation: “We were the kings and our kingdom was the wilderness…”
Hudson’s Bay Company - The Flag of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) - Founded in 1670 by King Charles II
HBC Main Points: • British company founded 1670 by a Royal Charter signed by King Charles II • “Stay at the Bay” policy with Native trappers coming to them with furs • Very Hierarchical (like the military, rank was very important) • Controlled and traded in an area roughly 1/3 the size of modern Canada. • All employees made a salary (no sharing in profits or losses) • Main fort was York Factory
The Fight is On!!! • Challenge to the HBC domination of the fur trade in Canada. • Enter the North West Company
The North West Company • 1783 several companies trading furs merged into the North West Company • Although owned by English Canadians, French traders were employed. • Workers shared in the profits or losses of the company. • Origin of Métis (French & First Nation). • Based in Montreal and traded throughout the North West.
North West Company • Much less hierarchical or “top-down” than the HBC. • The “Montreal partners” stayed in Montreal and traded the furs to London • The “wintering partners” stayed in the North West and did the actual trading and trapping. • They were partners, not employees and thus shared in the profits the NWC made.
Captain James Cook • Born in England • Explored New Zealand, • Australia, Hawaii and the west • Coast of North America • (Vancouver Island) • - Was killed in Hawaii
Captain George Vancouver • Born in England • Captain in the British Navy • Explored and mapped a lot • of the Pacific West Coast • (British Columbia, Alaska, • Oregon & Washington State)
Alexander Mackenzie • Born in Scotland • Family moved to • America, but then • moved to Montreal • during the American • Revolution • - Completed the first transcontinental crossing of North America when he made it to the Pacific Ocean for the North West Company
Simon Fraser • Born in America • Father died in the • American Revolution • Raised in Quebec • Worked in the North • West Company • - Explored much of BC
David Thompson • Born in England • He mapped around 2 million • square km of western North • America • - He worked for both the Hudson Bay and the North West Company • Was an English Canadian fur • trader, map maker and explorer • - Married to a Cree wife for 58 years and had 13 kids