An introduction to the canadian fur trade

Introduction The community of Baker Lake is located near where the Thelon River connects to the north-east portion of Baker Lake, in the "barren plains" of the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. It's Inukitut name is "Qamani'tuaq", aptly meaning, "huge lake adjoined by a river at both ends" [1].

An introduction to the canadian fur trade

Introduction[ edit ] Harold Innis begins The Fur Trade in Canada with a brief chapter on the beaver which became a much desired fur due to the popularity of the beaver hat in European society.

In such case studies, Innis had been taught it was necessary to understand the nature of a commodity or staple product and to adopt a comprehensive view of it by studying its geography.

Lawrence River especially in the deciduous forests of the Pre-Cambrian Shield with its abundance of waterways. He suggests that beaver fur could be carried long distances because the pelt of the average adult weighed less than two pounds.

The animal itself was a good source of food. Innis points out that the beaver "migrates very little and travels over land very slowly. These biological characteristics made their destruction in great numbers inevitable, especially after Indian hunters acquired European axes that could chop through beaver lodges and dams.

European guns, knives and spears also made the sedentary beaver easy prey. In this movement, the waterways of the beaver areas were of primary importance and occupied a vital position in the economic development of northern North America.

Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. July Learn how and when to remove this template message Harold Innis meticulously traces the fur trade over more than four centuries, from the early 16th century to the s. It is a story filled with military conflict between French and English imperial forces and among warring Indian tribes.


It is also a tale of shrewd barter and commercial rivalry. Yet Innis, the economic historian, tells the story in pages of dry, Euro-centric and dense prose packed with statistics. The company eventually ruled an area stretching from Labrador to the Pacific. Innis begins by chronicling the first contacts between European fishing fleets and eastern native tribes in the early 16th century.

Champlain joined forces with the Huron Confederacy and its tribal allies against the Iroquois Confederacy in the long struggle to control the fur trade.

The Company finally surrendered its northwestern empire when it sold its land to Canada in following the decrease in profits and demand for furs. The coming of steam boats to the West and the building of railways brought increasing competition from independent traders and new companies from the American West as well as firms from WinnipegEdmonton and Vancouver.

Improved transportation also brought increased control of the trade and cheaper goods. Increased control led to more inspections, better accounting, conservative policies, decreased aggression, and expansion of districts.

An introduction to the canadian fur trade

Problems that arose included the difficulty in monitoring large districts and policies that were sometimes too rigid. The increase in agriculture also brought competition through decreased reliance on game for food.

A beaver felt hat The importance of iron to a culture dependent on bone, wood, bark and stone can only be suggested. The cumbersome method of cooking in wooden vessels with heated stones was displaced by portable kettles.

Work could be carried out with greater effectiveness with iron axes and hatchets, and sewing became much less difficult with awls than it had been with bone needles.

To the Indians, iron and iron manufactures were of prime importance. The French were the gens du fer. The native peoples became dependent on European traders for fresh supplies, ammunition and spare parts.

More efficient hunting with guns led to the extermination of the beaver and the need to push into new hunting territories in search of more furs. This competition led to outbreaks of fighting.

Birch-bark canoes enabled traders to travel in spring, summer and fall; snowshoes and toboggans made winter travel possible; while Indian cornpemmican and wild game provided sustenance and clothing. Alliances were formed and wars were favoured to increase the supply of fur. Goods were traded that would encourage the Indian to hunt beaver.

They encouraged war or promoted peace as ways of winning First Nations support. He notes these policies led to an increase in the overhead costs of trade that decreased profits and encouraged the growth of monopolies.

It also explores the effects of the staples trade on the more technologically advanced home countries of France and Britain. Later staples included lumber, pulp and paper, wheat, gold, nickel and other metals. The colony put its energies into producing staples while the mother country manufactured finished products.

Thus, the staples trade promoted industrial development in Europe, while the colony remained tied to the production of raw materials. As time passed, colonial agriculture, industry, transportation, trade, finance and government activities tended to be subordinated to the production of staple commodities for industrial Britain, and later for the rapidly developing United States.Fur, or leather with the hair retained, has been used by man for insulation against the cold throughout our history.

That’s about , years. A Country by Consent is a national history of Canada which studies the major political events that have shaped the country, presented in a cohesive, chronological narrative.

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Many of these main events are introduced by an audiovisual overview, enlivened by narration, sound effects and music. This was the first digital, multimedia history of Canada. In his introduction to this new edition, Arthur J.

Ray argues that The Fur Trade in Canada is the most definitive economic history and geography of the country ever produced. Innis's revolutionary conclusion - that Canada was created because of its geography, not in spite of it - is a captivating idea but also an enigmatic proposition in light.

Canadian governments at the federal level have a tradition of liberalism, and govern with a moderate, centrist political ideology. Canada's egalitarian approach to governance emphasizing social justice and multiculturalism, is based on selective immigration, social integration, and suppression of far-right politics that has wide public and political support.

The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History by Inni See more like this THE FUR TRADE IN CANADA () by . As an item on the balance sheet of French external trade, furs were minuscule, and their share was shrinking proportionately as trade in tropical produce and manufactured goods increased; however, the fur trade was the backbone of the Canadian economy.

Fur trade - Wikipedia