of the Bay: England and
France at War
In 1697 England
and France were at war in Europe. Both sides used the war to
try to gain control of the fur trade in North America. Each side
sent out raiding parties to try to capture the other company's trading
One of the
most valuable trading posts was York Fort; the French were eager
to capture it. Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville got his chance on
a return trip from France. D'Iberville was the commander of the
Pelican, a 44-gun ship. His ship was part
of a fleet on its way to Hudson Bay. The fleet had been trapped
in the ice. The Pelican broke free from the ice and so
it went ahead.
When the Pelican
was close to the trading post, a group of soldiers were sent
ashore to scout out the fort and see how hard it would be to
capture. Meanwhile, d'Iberville remained on board the Pelican.
In the distance he saw the masts of some other ships. Thinking
it was the rest of the French fleet, he set off to meet them.
It wasn't until his ship got close to the other ships that he realized
that there were not French. Rather, they were enemy ships.