Happy Independence Day to My American Cousins!
* 1774 – Samuel Hearne builds Cumberland House
In 1774, the Hudson’s Bay Company established its first inland post, Cumberland House, on the lower Saskatchewan River. It was a momentous step for a company that, up until then, had hugged the shores of Hudson and James bays. The western Canadian fur trade was never the same.
For a century, the rather unimaginative HBC practice of encouraging interior Indians to come to the Bay to trade had resulted in steady returns for its English shareholders.
But that changed in the 1760s when Montreal-based traders moved up the Saskatchewan River to trade directly with Indian bands. No longer did the Cree and Assiniboine need to travel with fur-laden canoes to the Bay. They now enjoyed the convenience of getting their trade goods from these “door-to-door” pedlars.
The HBC grudgingly concluded that Canadian competition had to be…
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