the Fur Trade and Hudson's Bay Company
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Alexander Mackenzie
Explorer Extraordinaire


Alexander Mackenzie was born in Scotland. He moved to the American colonies when he was 10 years old. He began work for the North West Company in 1774. He was given the job of exploring new land in search of fur supplies. He made several expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage. On his first trip he travelled down a 450 km river, which was later named after him. After five weeks, he reached Ocean, but it was the wrong one. He had reached the Arctic, not the Pacific, Ocean.

Before his next trip, he went to England to study surveying and map making. He returned to Canada, ready to try again. On May 8, 1793, he and his crew started out from Montreal by canoe.

When they reached the Rocky Mountains his crew begged him to return home. They were very tired after such a difficult voyage, but Mackenzie was determined not to give up. He finally reached the Pacific Ocean on July 22, 1793, making him the first European to do so over land rather than by sea.

The fur trade made Sir Alexander Mackenzie rich. In 1799, he returned to England to publish a book about his travels. It quickly became a bestseller. On February 27, 1802 Alexander Mackenzie was knighted and became Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

Ask yourself...
What do you think Mackenzie's most important accomplishment was?

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