Hudson's Bay Company is Formed
The king of
England's cousin, Prince Rupert, knew that there was money to be
made in the fur trade. The king gave Prince Rupert and his partners
(known as "The Company of Adventurers Adventurers of England tradeing
into Hudsons Bay") a charter,
which gave the company a monopoly.
On May 6, 1670, Hudson's Bay Company (or HBC, for short) was
formed. It was given all the land whose rivers drained into the
Hudson Bay, which became known as Rupert's Land.
HBC motto is "pro pelle cutem," which may have a clever
double meaning. One interpetation is that it means they wanted
the skin, cutem, for the sake of the fleece, pro pelle.
The other is that it means "for the pelts which we collect,
we risk our skins." They believed they were taking a risk with
their money by going into the business. For the traders in Canada,
the risk could even more real: weather, accidents, animals,
or hostile traders could kill them!
was very profitable
from 1714 until the late 1740s. Since Hudson's Bay Company
was the only company allowed to trade fur, they had no competition.
Hudson's Bay officials were satisfied to let the Native people
deliver fur to the trading posts. There was no reason to go in search
of new sources of fur.
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: Fort Albany.
It would be 16 years before Britain regained the others.
Hudson's Bay Company Products
Battle of the Bay
did HBC stop looking for new sources of fur?
Bonus: What effect do you think
this might have had in the long run?
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