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The Fur Trade and it's Lasting

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Emma menchions

on 21 April 2015

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Transcript of The Fur Trade and it's Lasting

Mapping The Land
Who would represent the western region of Canada was impacted greatly by the fur trade. In the 1740s, Russians had been hunting seals and trading along the pacific coast of Canada. The Russians along with the Americans could have easily claimed Western Canada for themselves, but luckily, the fur trade had already claimed the region for Canada by setting up their various forts and posts for trading furs. Forts such as Yale and Langley would have given the impression that the area was already marked as Canadian from the fur trade, which prevented other countries from making it their own.
The NWC always had the philosophy that exploring was for the best and so they ended up expanding far to the west in the pursuit of trading furs. Although, the HBC was actually the first fur trading company to spread west by having Cumberland House (a trading fort) located in northeast Saskatchewan in 1774. Following that in 1774, the NWC started explore even further west because their trading spots were limited to outside the territory of Rupert's land, where the HBC had a monopoly for trade. In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie from the NWC began traveling far west and reached the Pacific Ocean in 1793. David Thompson and Simon Fraser followed after him in regards to exploring the area for fur trade. The fur trade provided a reason for these explorers to go west and look for new routes and furs to trade. Europeans wouldn't have discovered the West if it weren't for the fur trade pushing explorers to expand their routes.
1. Fur Trade allowed for the exploration, discovery and eventual settlement of Western Canada by Europeans.

2. Having fur trade forts and posts being set up prevented other countries from claiming the land as their own.

3. The explorers who came to Western Canada for the fur trade developed maps and charts which helped guide the way for the fur traders and along these transportation routes were the locations of many settlements that grew into the towns and cities in which we currently live.

4. Having an increased number of forts and trading posts caused more people to come to western Canada to settle, which increased developments and the population of the region.

5. The fur trade started to assist the economy of the Western regions.

6. The early fur traders mingled and intermixed with Native people, producing many Métis people in Western Canada, who are still currently inhabiting there.

7. The fur traders introduced new technologies to the region, which are still used in present day.

Positive Impacts
The Fur Trade and it's Lasting
Effects on Western Canada
Following 1774 when the HBC set up Cumberland House in northeast Saskatchewan, both the NWC and the HBC began expanding further west in hopes of gaining new trading routes and more furs. As the fur trading companies moved west, they were followed by more traders, their families and eventually pioneers who were looking to settle in that part of the land. That meant the population of Western Canada would start to grow from the new popularity and would continue to grow to reach the present populations of present day.
in Western Canada
Another impact of the fur trade was the increased number of Métis in the Western Canada region. The NWC was different from the HBC in the sense that they encouraged their traders to intermix with the Native peoples. When French have children with Native people their children receive the title Métis. When the NWC began trading furs in Western Canada many Métis were born and raised. We currently have 26,750 Métis people living in BC alone who most likely have ancestors dating back to fur trade in the late 1700s and 1800s. Thanks to this extensive intermarriage, the foundations were set for the relatively peaceful patterns of Aboriginal - European relations in Western Canada, a contrast to the violent encounters that occurred in the American West.
New Technology
With the European explorers moving West in search of furs, they brought some new technology with them. The Europeans were the first to introduce new materials like tools, cutlery, pots, pans, and firearms to Western Canada. These items along with many others were a necessity in the daily lives of the people who lived there and are still used today.
With European Explorers and traders gallivanting through the Northwest it had some serious unforeseen impacts on the population already living there. Unintentionally, these Europeans brought over colds, influenza, and diseases that they were already immune to. The natives living there unfortunately did not have the antibodies because they'd never been exposed to those types of viruses. As a result, the native population was nearly decimated and entire communities disappeared. If those diseases hadn't been introduced to the region, there would have been a larger native population today.
Missionaries and converting to Christianity
The Beginning of Land Disputes
Due to the fur trade, with the discovery and exploration of new regions, new places were open to settlement. The discovery of this newly found "empty" land attracted farmers living in overpopulated Europe to move across the Atlantic. An example of this was the Red River Settlement. Lands that explorers claimed were empty where actually inhabited by natives and Métis who had lived there far longer. Natives traditionally had no concept of ownership so when Europeans came to a new area they claimed it as theirs because nobody else technically had claim over the land in their eyes. To this day land disputes between the two parties still occur in various parts of Western Canada. In an attempt to fix this problem, the government gave small areas of land called reserves to native communities, but these small areas of land that was originally theirs cannot make up for the European annexing of their traditional territory.
In conclusion, the fur trade had many positive and negative effects which impacted the present day Western Canada. There were many important positive points, such as the exploration of the land and subsequent mapping which led to the location of modern cities and towns. It also ensured the British Empire had claim of the land, saw the introduction of new technologies and was a key factor behind the in relatively peaceful relations between the Aboriginal population and the European settlers. Unfortunately, there was a dark side to the Fur Trade that cannot be overlooked, as it introduced new diseases to the west, caused the Native people to change their way of life, created land disputes and even caused missionaries to try to convert Native people to Christianity. Ultimately, it was through a combination of the positive and negative impacts that the fur trade created the foundations for Western Canada and as a result developed it into the region that we know today.
The Economy
Negative Impacts
1. Fur trade effected native people's way of life. Aboriginals became dependent on European traded goods and started to forget their culture and traditional way of life.

2. Explorers (unintentionally) introduced colds, influenza, and diseases to the region.

3. European missionaries tried to convert natives to Christianity.- loss in native culture

4. The exploration of area lead to land disputes with people already living there that are still present today


1. ."Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit." Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.

2."Aboriginal People: Religion." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

3."Blackfoot." Blackfoot. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.

4."Canada A Country by Consent: Native Peoples: Effects of the Fur Trade." Canada A Country by Consent: Native Peoples: Effects of the Fur Trade. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

5."Correction: Letters on the Northwest Fur Trade." The Washington Historical Quarterly 11.4 (1920): 312. Web. 14 Apr. 2015

6."Fur Trade." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

7."The Fur Trade - Opening the West." The Fur Trade - Opening the West. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


1. Cranny, Michael William. Horizons: Canada Moves West. Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice Hall Ginn Canada, 1999. Print.
Loss in Native Traditions
Introduction of new diseases
Before the arrival of Europeans in the Northwest, native tribes such as the Blackfoot, Plains Cree, and Peigans were nomadic tribes following buffalo herd routes throughout the year as they had for thousands of years beforehand. With the fur trade up and running natives had to evolve to a new way of life. They were devoting all of their time towards providing furs for trade that and no longer had time to hunt buffalo the way they used to for sustenance. They would set up camps near trading posts to easier trade furs with the companies and they were almost entirely reliant on the business. This trend went on long enough for tribes to forget how they used to live. This meant that if a post went out of business the tribe providing it with furs would be in trouble, because they would've forgotten how to hunt like they used to. The Europeans also effected their values. Previously, natives only took what they needed to survive, however, with the new business they forgot this value and almost hunted beavers to extirpation.
The Fur Trade had a lasting effect on native culture because it was the beginning of a loss in aboriginal culture through generations.
Before the arrival of the Europeans the Aboriginal people in the region were Shamanistic believing in the supernatural and phenomena throughout nature. Not all tribes' religion was identical however, there were similar underlying patterns between them. Following the European explorers in the Northwest were missionaries who wished to convert anyone they could find to Christianity. In some areas the two types of religion mixed into Shamanism and Catholicism. However, in some areas natives converted fully and as a result lost another part of their previously rich culture. To this day, much of Aboriginal religion has been lost through the centuries due to forced conversion. However people have now realized it's importance and are attempting to bring back the forgotten religion.
In the late 1700's and early 1800's the Fur Trade in Canada was in full swing. The British funded Hudson's Bay Company, established in 1670, was based on the Hudson Bay, for furs could be brought to the port and easily be transported back to Britain. Their main competitor was the French North West Company, who by placing their posts more inland had the advantage, for it was less distance for natives bringing furs to travel. As competition between the two companies grew and beaver populations in the east began to decrease, both companies moved and explored further and further west into Canada which had both positive and negative effects that are evident today.

The exploration of the west was accompanied by the mapping of different regions. David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, and Simon Fraser mapped areas of the Northwest and made the areas known to the rest of the modern world. Because of their work, new forts were established to open up trade in the northwest, some of which eventually became towns and settled areas we know today.
The Fur Trade established the beginnings of a strong economy which has hugely influenced our present day society. With the more furs that were hunted, there was more profit to be made for the Europeans and the Natives. This lead to the building of forts and posts that opened up more and more opportunities for economic growth leading us to where we are today.
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