History 2201E Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Lake Ontario, Covenant Chain, Isaac Jogues

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Published on 20 Jun 2012
School
Western University
Department
History
Course
History 2201E
Lecture 4 Part 2 Fur Trade
European trades fighting for the best furs as well as allegiance from
Native trading partners
o What comes out of the Hudson Bay and Albany goes to England, St.
Lawrence goods go to France
o Availability of shipping was an issue
To get the furs out was difficult, limited amount of time to get
them out because river ways freeze
If at war at home, most likely going to be at war on the seas,
will fight each other/take goods from each other
o Tried to create monopoly companies
E.g. East India Company and Hudson Bay Company of the
British
o Lots of illegal trade going on as well
o Factors local traders
o Illegal traders deep in the interior called the coureurs du bois (runners
of the woods)
Medard Groseillers and Pierre Radisson
Eventually give their talents to the English because they
weren’t being helped by the French
o Good traders had to be clever, honest
Weren’t supposed to give alcohol to natives
Some were not, caused breakdown of the trade
Alcohol a double-edged sword, Europeans had it and natives
wanted it; had no tolerance for it
Jesuits almost stopped it, but it doesn’t last
o Cannot understate the importance of the Natives, trade would not
have gone as well as it did
Over 90% of the traders were Natives
Were good hunters, knew where the animals were and how to
get them, could be done individually, but often done in groups
Skinned, tanned, shipped furs to posts, etc
From 1608 to 1614, 25,000 furs were shipped to France
Started to hunt beavers full time, stopped hunting for their
own subsistence, left behind their old traditions
Beaver furs became currency
Natives cheated in the trade, but they were not hapless victims
Had the upper hand if they stayed away from alcohol
and were shrewd businessmen but didn’t understand
the law of supply-and-demand
o Natives introduced to credit system
o Trading captains were always Natives
Often the chief
Had good bargaining powers to get the best deals as well as a
good orator
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Document Summary

European trades fighting for the best furs as well as allegiance from. Native trading partners: what comes out of the hudson bay and albany goes to england, st. Lawrence goods go to france: availability of shipping was an issue. To get the furs out was difficult, limited amount of time to get them out because river ways freeze. If at war at home, most likely going to be at war on the seas, will fight each other/take goods from each other: tried to create monopoly companies. East india company and hudson bay company of the. British: lots of illegal trade going on as well, factors local traders, illegal traders deep in the interior called the coureurs du bois (runners of the woods) Eventually give their talents to the english because they weren"t being helped by the french: good traders had to be clever, honest. Weren"t supposed to give alcohol to natives. Some were not, caused breakdown of the trade.

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