The Northwest Fur Trade

The Northwest
Fur Trade
The Companies
• What were the four major fur trading
companies that operated in the Pacific
Northwest in the 1700s and 1800s?
– Hudson’s Bay Company
– Northwest Fur Company
– Pacific Fur Company
– Rocky Mountain Fur Company
Significant Individuals
• John Jacob Astor
– Wealthiest man in America; headed the Pacific Fur Company (owned by U.S.)
and founded a trading post at Astoria. He eventually sold his company to the
North West Fur Company because of the War of 1812.
• David Thompson
– The North West Company map prepared by David Thompson covered an
area of two million three hundred and forty thousand square miles from
Lake Superior and Hudson Bay to the mouth of the Columbia River.
• Alexander MacKenzie
– Worked for the North West Fur Company, and unsuccessfully tried to find a
major waterway from the interior of Canada to the Pacific
• Dr. John McLoughlin
– Leader of Hudson’s Bay Company in the Oregon Country. He was very
powerful and helped serve as an extension of the British government in the
Reasons for the Fur Trade
• Why have the fur trade in the Pacific
– Access to abundant fur-bearing animals
– Huge global demand for these animals
– Ability to trade with natives for animals
– The trappers’ explorations increases claims to the
land (Britain and America)
Where to Locate
• Knowing what you do about the fur trade,
where would you locate a fur trading post?
– River locations
– Access to interior
– Access to ocean trade
– Protection from others
– Proximity to fur-bearing animals’ territory
Which Animals were the Most
• Beaver
• Sea Otter and River Otter
• Fox
How could you profit the most?
• Where was demand high?
– Europe, eastern U.S., far east/Asia
• Where was supply high?
– Pacific Northwest
• Describe the process
What were the impacts of the fur
trade on…
• Native American and European-American relations?
– The relationship was strengthened because both groups benefited from the
trade and depended on each other for goods/furs
• Claims to the Pacific Northwest by Britain and the U.S.?
– Because the U.S. was closer and sent more trappers, their claims to the Pacific
Northwest were also strengthened
• Exploration of the Pacific Northwest?
– Sending all these trappers really helped to map the area and figure out what
was out here; it led to a better understanding of the area
• The economic development and profit motive of the Pacific Northwest?
– People began to realize that the Pacific Northwest wasn’t just wilderness– it
was an untapped goldmine of natural resources (furs, timber, fish, precious
metals, etc.). There was also millions of acres of unsettled land onto which
people could move
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