North West Company:
Rivals for the Fur Trade
West Company was formed in 1783 by fur traders from Montreal. Many
of the Nor'westers (as they were known) were former coureurs
de bois. After the French lost New France to Britain in the
Years War, they had nobody to work for. Others were young men
who had come from Scotland to join the fur trade.
Bay Company faced fierce competition from the North West Company.
Both companies wanted to control the fur trade. As a result,
a bitter rivalry developed. By the 1800s the two sides were at
war with each other. It was a fur trade war.
In order to
control the fur trade, it was important to find new trading partners.
Soon both companies sent out people to explore and find new sources
of fur. This meant traveling in unknown wilderness both on dangerous
rivers and difficult land routes.