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Coureurs des Bois & Voyageurs

SS Grade 5
by

Paige McClelland

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Coureurs des Bois & Voyageurs

Aboriginal hunters: skinned the animals and prepared the furs.
Coureurs de bois: transported the furs.
Merchants: purchased trade goods in Europe, shipped them to New France, and hired the coureurs to take them inland.
3 Main Groups
The fur trade was a system of barter, meaning the Aboriginal Peoples did not sell their furs for money.
It involved bargaining.
The Fur Trade
To the South, the English had formed their own colonies, called New England. They created the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670 and built trading posts around Hudson Bay.
Began because the French and British used furs, (especially beaver) so they became partners in the fur trade with the Aboriginal Peoples.
The French built trading posts on the St.Lawrence River, which was the creation of New France, and traded with Aboriginal Peoples.

Background Information
The Fur Trade
At the beginning of the fur trade, Aboriginal peoples brought their furs to European trading posts.
Rather than waiting for this to happen, European fur traders traveled into the wilderness to collect the fur from the Aboriginal Peoples themselves.
Long before Europeans came to North America, trade was an important part of life for Aboriginal People, as it was a social custom.
When weather was foul, they built their own shelters.
When they needed food, they hunted and fished.
When they met Aboriginal groups, they traded European goods for furs. They stored the fur in their canoes.
Spent time learning the ways of the woods from Aboriginal peoples they met.
How to build canoes
Make clothing out of animal skins
Which plants were safe to eat
Guess What?
The government of New France didn't approve of the coureurs de bois.
Why? They wanted the traders to stay in the colony and care for their property, animals, wives, and children.
However, the coureurs de bois quickly became the standard in the French fur trade.
By 1680, there were about 500 coureurs de bois around Lake Superior.
They are known as "runners of the woods."
They left the trading posts in the spring and traveled by canoe into the interior.
They brought some supplies and traded items from the post, and relied on the land for whatever else they needed.
Coureurs de bois
The Story of Groseilliers and Radisson
Both coureurs de bois.
Created the Hudson's Bay Company through Charles II's funding.
The Story of Henry Kelsey
No European had ever traveled so far west before.
He was the 1st European to see buffalo and grizzly bears and to learn of the Rocky Mountains.
His travels opened a new trading area for the Hudson's Bay Company.
The Life of a Voyageur
They are fur traders employed by the fur trading companies of early Canada.
Inherited the traditions and lifestyle of the coureurs de bois who came before them.
Paddled the fur trade canoes into the interior to trade with Aboriginal peoples.
During the summer months, they might travel 3000 kilometres.
Was very dangerous, uncomfortable work. There were no days off.
At the portages the canoes were unloaded and carried on the backs of the voyageurs.
The first French-speaking people in Western Canada.
In this way, the French language and culture spread across Canada and continues to be evident today.
Could You Be a Voyageur?

Had to be short, approximately 5' 4".
The route from Montreal to Lake Superior and back would take 12 to 16 weeks.
Became known as "pork eaters."
Were renowned for their strength, endurance and incredible speed in paddling a canoe.
At the end of the day (8 - 10 pm) they would make repairs to the canoe and prepare the meals for the next day. The would rise in the morning at 3 am.
Resources
HBC Heritage http://www.hbcheritage.ca/teacher-resources/TG-HBC-Voyageur-ENG.pdf
Fur Traders: Early Canada by Heather C. Hudak
Early Canada by Emily Odynak
Discovering First Peoples and First Contacts by J. Bradley Cruxton
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/fur-trade/
www.canadiana.com
The North West Company
The Scots used the French trading posts and took over the French fur trading companies.
The Scots hired many expert voyageurs to trade with the Aboriginal Peoples.
In 1783, the North West Company was established. Many Nor'Westers, as the traders were called, spent the winter collecting furs from Aboriginal Peoples.
Full transcript