Exploration: The Fur Trade and the Hudson Bay Company

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Exploration: The Fur Trade and the Hudson Bay Company


  • Go to the following web site: http://www1.canadiana.org/hbc/hist/hist1_e.html

  • Answer the questions below.


The Beginning of the Fur Trade

  1. Why was felt valuable?

  2. Why were European Beavers dying out?

Europeans Discover North America:

  1. Explain why some believe that the fur trade could have begun 100 years BEFORE Columbus reached America?

  2. What did Jacques Cartier trade for furs?

Fashionable Furs:

  1. What became fashionable in the 1600s?

  2. What three explorers mapped the land and waterways that would eventually become important to the fur trade and settlement of Canada?

The Fur Trade Expands (and then slows down again)

  1. Who was one of the first to realize the potential of trade in North America?

  2. Who were the first to develop the fur trade? France or England

  3. Explain how the competition in the fur trade helped spark fighting between First Nations tribes.

  4. The French chose to fight on the side of the ___________in a battle in 1609. __________shot two Iroquois chiefs, and another Frenchman shot a third. This started a war with the __________________- a war that lasted __________ years.

Two Brave Adventurers:

  1. Name the two French coureurs de bois that helped bring life back to the fur trade

  2. They met people from the ____________nation who told them about the great supply of beaver in the north near________________. When they returned to the colony, they had almost ______________________ overflowing with furs. They did not, however, receive the warm welcome they expected.

  3. Why were the furs were taken away, Des Groseilliers was put in jail and both were given fines for breaking the law? What did they decide to do?

The Hudson's Bay Company is Formed

  1. The king of England's cousin, _____________________, knew that there was money to be made in the fur trade

  2. Define Charter.

  3. Define Monopoly.

  4. What did the land that drained into the Hudson Bay become known as?

  5. What is the motto of the HBC company mean?

  6. Britain had a very expensive war with France at the end of the 17th century. The French were very successful, and by 1697 had captured all of Hudson's Bay Company forts except for one: _______________________.

Conflict and Change

  1. State the 2 reasons why the fur trade slowed down in the 1750s.

Transfer of Power

  1. What happened in 1821 that made the HBC the most powerful organization in North America?

  2. What was the Deed to Surrender?

Modern Challenges and Reorganization

  1. What happened in 1867?

  2. In 1870 the Queen granted what land to Canada for future settlement?

  3. The Deed of Surrender in 1869 marked the beginning of HBC as a modern company. The fur trade was no longer its only line of business. What were the other newjobs it had to do?

  4. The HBC was to change its trading posts into a chain of retail stores. In 1881 it opened its first modern store in __________________________________.


  1. ___________________: Tried to find the Northwest Passage in 1610. His ship was caught by the ice and he had to spend the winter in Canada. In the spring of 1611 the men mutinied and put Hudson, his son and some other men on a small boat and left them behind. A famous Canadian Bay is named after him.

  2. ________________________: In 1603 he made the first of many trips to North America. He sailed the St. Lawrence River and mapped most of it. He recognized that the area had potential to be a good place to establish a colony. He returned and started the first settlement at Quebec in 1608. In 1609 he battled the Iroquois and started a war that lasted 90 years.

  3. ___________________: Champlain sent him to live among the Huron people in 1610. He learned their language and their customs. This helped the colonist learn to understand their Huron neighbours. He was an excellent scout, or pathfinder. He lived with the Huron people for over 20 years. In 1629, Champlain believed that he became a traitor. The Huron people killed him a few years later.

  4. _______________________:Became a coureur de bois. He went to live among the Huron, Algonquin and Nippising people in order to learn their languages and customs. In 1634 he went into the wilderness in search of fur. He traveled until he reached an enormous lake that had not yet been discovered by Europeans. It was Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. He was often sent to make peace between groups of Europeans and First Nations peoples or between various First Nations groups.

  5. _______________________ & ____________________Set off on a secret trip in search of new sources of fur. When they returned home they had over 100 canoes loaded with furs. They had not obtained a fur-trading license so they were fined and the fur was taken away from them. They were angry and decided to work for the English instead. In 1665 they went to London, England to visit King Charles II. While the King did not believe everything they told him, he was interested. Prince Rupert convinced him to support an expedition. The expedition went well enough that the King agreed to grant Hudson's Bay Company a charter

  6. _____________________:By the fall of 1690, he reached the prairies. He had gone further than any other white man. He spent 30 years with Hudson's Bay Company. He was their chief trader and later became governor of all the trading posts, but never received recognition for the success of his explorations.

  7. ______________________:He was put in charge an expedition to Coppermine River in 1769. During the journey his guides deserted him. He was left alone - lost and hungry. Matonabbee, a leader of the Chipewyans, saved him. After this, Matonabbee served as his guide and friend for many years. In 1771 he set off to Coppermine river again with Matonabbee. They were searching for copper and other minerals. Along the way, they met other Chipewyans. The Chipewyans ambushed some sleeping Inuit and massacred them at what would later be called Bloody Falls. In 1774 he opened Cumberland House. This was Hudson's Bay Company's first inland trading post, which meant it was not directly on the shores of Hudson Bay.

  8. _____________________:He convinced the King to give his company the land the company needed, and to sign a charter that gave the company a monopoly on fur trade in the area of Hudson Bay. He became the first governor of Hudson's Bay Company.


Hudson's Bay Company Products:

  1. While furs were going to Europe, what European products were coming to North America?

  2. What were Point Blankets?

Life in the Wilderness: Work, Food and Insects

  1. Define the word voyageurs.

  2. European men serving far from their homes, in forts or in the Fur Country, often had “____________________” - First Nations women they lived with. Some were almost slaves, but other men fell in love and married their country wives.

Coureurs de Bois: Runners of the Woods:

  1. What did the First Nations people teach the coureurs de bois?

  2. Define Pemmican.

Filles du Roi (the King's Daughters): Wanted: Wives for the Colonists:

  1. Who were the Filles du Roi and why were they called the King’s Daughters?

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