Role Of Fur Trade In The Dynamics Of The Relationship Among European Natives

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Role of Fur Trade in the Dynamics of the relationship among European natives

Role of Fur Trade in the Dynamics of the relationship among European natives


The fur trade in North America began almost as soon as Europeans began their explorations of the North American mainland. This is a brief description of the most significant events in the 250 years during which the fur trade flourished. This period of time can be roughly divided into three sections, the "French Era" from 1600 to 1760, The "British Era" from 1760 to 1816, and the "American Era" from 1816 to 1850. By 1850, the fur trade had mostly come to an end, but not for the reasons you might assume. You can read through the events in the order they occurred, or you can move to a particular period by clicking on the "Era" that interests you the most. However, you may have trouble following some later events if you haven't looked at earlier ones first (Weber, 1971).

The Natives were a crucial part of the French Fur trade. They showed it with the knowledge they had about the land, they were natural hunters and they were very resourceful in terms of the climate and landscape of the fur trade (Van Kirk, 1999). If not for the Native involvement in the Fur trade the French could have lasted long enough in New France to develop an economically stable trade of furs. This paper will argue that the French fur trade could not have survived without the assistance and knowledge of the Natives.


The land was much different from that of France. The French were unaccustomed to the North rugged North American land. The Natives introduced trade routes and taught the French how to conquer rivers and live off the land. The French the French depended on the Natives means of transportation as canoes were foreign to them. Deny's mentioned " Boats cannot go up this river higher than eighteen to twenty leagues because of the falls and of the rocks which are scattered there, thus compelling a resort to canoes." The natives also taught the French their methods of transportation during the snowy winter. The toboggan and the sledge replaced the canoe and the French copied the Natives snowshoes in order to prevent them from sinking into the snow. Yet as Le Clerq mentions, "Even with adequate equipment the French generally experienced difficulty in forest travel when unaccompanied by the Indian guides. (Van Kirk, 1999) The Natives, having had years of experience on the land, had developed a way of living on the land that became indispensable to the French. In no time the Frenchman started learning the techniques that the Indians taught for example: it is mentioned Under the guidance of the Indians, the Frenchman took over the technique of fishing, hunting, canoeing, and other forest pursuits which in time transformed the settled European peasants into as experts a coureur de bois as was his dusky fellow savage (Trigger et al, ...
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