Exploration
the Fur Trade and Hudson's Bay Company
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The Red River Colony: Lord Selkirk has a Plan

 

The great explorer, Alexander Mackenzie, published a book in 1801 about his adventures in the fur trade and his explorations in the North American west. One person who read the book was Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk. After reading the book, he had a plan! His plan was to help farmers in Scotland who had no land on which to farm.

In 1811 Selkirk bought enough of Hudson's Bay Company stock to gain control of the company. In order to provide a new life for Scottish farmers back home, Selkirk decided to give them a place to live in North America. A huge area of land was bought from HBC company - 300,000 square kilometres along the banks of the Red River in what is now Manitoba.

Not everyone was happy about Selkirk's plan, though. The Red River settlement was part of the land that the North West Company lived and traded fur on; they thought of it as their own. The Nor'westers were angry. They believed that Selkirk and Hudson's Bay Company were bringing the settlers on purpose to interfere with their fur trade. The Métis were also angry. They were worried that the settlers would drive away the buffalo, which was their source of food.

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