Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
Aboriginals

The people who first lived in North America, including the Inuit and First Nations peoples. Europeans called them "Indians" at first because they had darker skin than the Europeans, and because the Europeans thought had reached India.

Algonquin
A Native nation living in the thick forest areas on either side of the upper Ottawa River in Canada. A small tribe; it was almost completely wiped out by the Iroquois and by European diseases. They lived in villages and practiced farming.

Ancestor
A distant relation in someone's family. For example, a great, great, great, grandfather.

Archeology
Study of the remains of past peoples, such as pottery, buildings and tools.

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B
Baymen
The nickname of the men who worked for Hudson's Bay Company.

Bribe
To give money or something else to someone so that they do something, usually illegal.

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C
Canoe
A small boat usually made of birch bark used for traveling on lakes and rivers.

Carroting
A process for making fur more suitable for making felt. It was invented in England between 1720 and 1740, and was for a long time a very valuable secret. It used a chemical mixture including mercuric oxide (a very poisonous acid) to make the hairs rougher so they could stick together better. It was called carroting because it turned the tips of the fur orange.

Cartier, Georges-Étienne
Born 1814, died on 1873. Cartier was a polician and one of the most important Fathers of Confederation. A friend and ally of Sir John A. Macdonald, he was very important in convincing French Canadians to accept Confederation.

Cartier, Jacques
Born about 1491, died 1557. An explorer who went to Canada three times, in 1534, 1535 and 1541. He gave Canada its name, after he mistook the Mohawk word for village (kana:ta') as the name of the whole land.

Charles II, King of England
Born 1630, died 1685. King from 1660 to 1685

Charter
A document, usually given by a king or queen, that gives a certain group possessions or privileges. Hudson's Bay Company Charter was granted on May 2 1670, by English King Charles II. It gave Hudson's Bay Company all trading rights in the territory that had rivers flowing into Hudson Bay.

Chief Factor
Commander of a trading post.

Chipewyan
A once-large Native nation that lived in what is now northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Colony
A group of people who move to a new place or country to start farms and towns, but still follow the laws of the old country.

Conservation
Protection of something valuable. It could be animals, electricity, or even art.

Constantinople
The capital of the Byzantine Empire from AD 330 to 1453, when it was captured by the Ottomans. For most of this period it was the major center of learning and culture in Christian Europe. It is now known as Istanbul, and is the capital of Turkey.

Country wives
The term used for women that men lived with while in Forts or in the Fur Country. Some were almost slaves, but other men fell in love and married their country wives.

Convent
A community of women who live a lifestyle of religious worship.

Coureurs de bois
(French for "runner of the woods") a fur trader who went into the woods to find fur and trade fur with First Nations.

Court
The king's ministers and advisors.

Cree
A major First Nations people that spread from Hudson Bay to Lake Athabaska in Alberta. There are three kinds of Cree: Woodland Cree, Swampy Cree, and Plains Cree.

Currency
A system of money.

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D
Davis, John
Born about 1550, died 1605. John Davis (also spelled Davys) was a true explorer, combining great skill in navigation with patience and careful work. Three times, he tried to find the Northwest Passage. Though he failed, he went farther north than any explorer had gone before and mapped huge areas. This made it possible for later explorers to go further. He also invented the Davis Quadrant, a tool used for measuring the position of a ship on the Earth.

Deed of Surrender
The agreement that Hudson's Bay Company signed to transfer nearly all its land to the British Crown which, in turn, transferred it to the newly formed Dominion of Canada in 1870.

Descendents
To come from somebody or something. For example, you are a descendent of your grandmother.

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F
Felt

A cloth made from animal hair by pressing, heating, or treating the hair with chemicals.

First Nations
The name for all the tribes of Aboriginal people who lived in North America before the Europeans came, except the Inuit. Europeans called them "Indians" at first because the Europeans thought had reached India.

Frobisher, Sir Martin
Explorer and pirate born 1535 or 1539, died 1594. Martin Frobisher was the first European to sail into what later became known as Hudson Strait. In his time, he was most famous as a pirate and privateer (a pirate with a license from the king to attack ships from other countries).

Frontenac, Governor
Born 1622, died 1698. Governor of New France 1672 to 1682 and 1689 to 1698.

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H
Hoe

A gardening or farming tool with a long handle and a flat blade to turn the soil or pull up weeds.

Hudson, Henry
Born about 1575, died 1611. Henry Hudson made four journeys that are recorded in the history books, and is credited as the European discoverer of Hudson Bay. He is also remembered for the sad end of his last voyage. Most of his crew mutinied against him, leaving Hudson, his son and several other crewmembers to die in the bay that is now named after him.

Huron
A First Nations people that lived along the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes area. By the middle of the seventeenth century, they had been defeated by the Iroquois, and scattered.

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I
Inuit

A people who live in the north of Canada and Greenland. Traditionally, they lived from animals and fish. They arrived in North America much later than the other First Nations. When there is only one person, she or he is called an Inuk.

Iroquois
A powerful group of Native nations in the northeast of North America, which came to include the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora. The Iroquois Confederacy was most powerful around 1680. After that, war and European diseases gradually weakened them.

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L
Land Bridge

A small strip of land that joined North America and Asia in the last ice age, 80 000 to 12 000 years ago. Huge sheets of ice built up in the ice ages, and covered the earth. With so much of Earth's water frozen on land, the sea levels fell by about 130 metres. In the last, they went down by about 130 metres. This uncover land - a land bridge. The ancestors of Canada's First Nations peoples probably crossed this land to come to North America.

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M
"Made" beaver pelt

A beaver pelt in prime condition. It was the unit of exchange - all goods were compared in value to made beaver.

Marine
A type of soldier that fights on ships or from ships.

Merchant
Someone who buys and sells goods (for example: food, clothing, furs, etc.).

Métis
A person of both French and First Nations heritage. There were many French fur traders who married First Nations women and had families. Their children, and those that came afterward, came to see themselves as a separate people - the Métis. The term now also includes people not of French ancestry.

Mission
A place people live who travel in order to persuade others to join their religion. A missionary is someone who travels to persuade others to join their religion.

Monopoly
Whenever one person or company is the only one buying or selling a certain kind of product in a certain place.

Musket
A type of gun used hundreds of years ago.

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N
Nipissing

A First Nations people living in the Great Lakes region.

Northwest Passage
The route through the islands north of Canada that ships can pass through from east to west or back again. In the past, many explorers tried to find this passage in the hopes that it would be a useful shortcut to Asia. They failed because of the ice until Roald Amundsen finally made it through in one try in 1906. By then, it was no longer as important.

Nor'wester
A person working for the North West Company.

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O
Odawa

Part of the Ojibway Nation. The Odawa lived mainly on Manitoulin Island in the northern Lake Huron, Georgian Bay area.

Organization
Group formed in order to do business or carry out some common purpose.

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P
Pelt

The skin of an animal with the fur still on it.

Pemmican
Dried and powdered meat, usually buffalo, that has been mixed with an equal amount of animal fat. Sometimes berries or other items were added. Pemmican was stored and carried in leather bags and was the perfect food for fur traders to carry on long voyages because it did not spoil. Developed by the Chipewyans, Peter Pond introduced it to HBC in 1779.

Plains Nations
Any First Nations people who lived on the Great Plains of north America. The Plains area was the grasslands (prairies) from central Canada - Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta - south to Mexico and from the Midwest westward to the Rocky Mountains. Most Plains Nations were buffalo hunters, though not all. Some Plains Nations include the Blackfoot, the Mandan, the Hidatsa, the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Arapaho, the Shoshone and the Comanche.

Portage
To carry a canoe or other boat from one lake or river to another or around rapids or water falls.

Prairie
Level or hilly grassland that is found in the centre of North America. In Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta contain large areas of prairie that once had millions of buffalo.

Profit
To make money, or gain in some other way, from a business. A business that makes a lot of money is profitable.

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R
Resource

Something that is useful to people. It could include, fur, metals (like gold or iron), oil, and many other natural things and man-made things, and even things like time.

Riel, Louis
Born 1844, died 1885. Leader of the Métis and the Métis rebellions of 1869 and 1884. He is regarded as the father of Manitoba.

Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land was the name given to the land draining into Hudson Bay, a huge area of northern and western Canada granted to Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. It was named for Prince Rupert, the company's first governor.

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S
Scurvy

A disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, which is most often found in fruits and vegetables. It usually happened in winter or on long sea voyages. It is very unusual now.

Seigneur
A person who owned a seigneury, which was a large area of land given to someone by the King of France.

Seven Years War
A war from 1756 to 1763. Although most of the fighting took place in Europe (and involved many European countries) fighting between France and Britain in North America decided who would control the northern half of the continent. At first, the French were more successful. In 1759, though, the British captured Quebec City by defeating the French on the Plains of Abraham. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the war and gave Britain control of all French territories in North America except the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon near Newfoundland.

Sioux
A group of First Nations peoples living on the northern Great Plains of North America. The Plains area was the grasslands (prairies) from central Canada - Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta - south to Mexico and from the Midwest westward to the Rocky Mountains.

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T
Taunt

To tease in a hurtful way.

Theories
Ideas to explain something.

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V
Voyageur

A person, European or Aborigianal, who transported furs to and from fur posts. The word is sometimes used for coureurs de bois.

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W
Wendat

A part of the Huron Nation, originally in the Georgian Bay area. It was scattered by 1750, decimated by disease and war.

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