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Fur Traders

Fur Traders

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Fur Traders

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  1. Fur Traders Chapter 6

  2. Fur Trade Era 1811-1846 • Fur traders and missionaries were the first permanent white settlers to live in the area that is now Washington • British and American fur companies sent trappers and traders to Oregon country to obtain the valuable pelts of beavers and otters

  3. Companies Make A Significant Profit

  4. Trappers Native American Trappers • Didn’t overhunt • Trapped what they needed for warmth and protection • Familiar with the land, excellent trappers White trappers • took more than they needed • Learned what they could from Native Americans • Used barter system • Worked for Pacific, Rocky Mountain (American), Hudon’s Bay, or Northwest fur company (British)

  5. The Boom

  6. The Boom

  7. Life of a fur trapper and trader • The mountain men of the Rocky Mountain fur company were independent and hardy • Lived a life more like the Native Americans • Survived for months without trading posts • Had summer trading gatherings called rendezvous

  8. Rendezvous “There is … a great variety of personages amongst us, most of them calling themselves white men, French-Canadians, half-breeds, &c., their color nearly as dark, and their manners wholly as wild, as the Indians with whom they constantly associate. These people, with their obstreperous mirth, their whooping and howling, and quarrelling, added to the mounted Indians, who are constantly dashing into and through our camp, yelling like fiends, the barking and baying of savage wolf-dogs, and the incessant cracking of rifles and carbines, render our camp a perfect bedlam. I . . . am compelled all day to listen to the hiccoughing jargon of drunken traders, the sacré and foutre [French swear words; many more of the traders and trappers spoke French than English] of Frenchmen run wild, and the swearing and screaming of our own men, who are scarcely less savage than the rest, being heated by the detestable liquor which circulates freely among them.” [Townsend, 83-84.]

  9. The Bust • Trappers began finding that on stream after stream, the beaver were no longer repairing their dams, and beaver ponds were drying up. They were disappearing. • Trappers had been killing them too fast. • In Europe, stylish men were starting to like silk hats—demand decreased as fur went out of style

  10. Results • Lack of planning quickly minimized the region’s advantages in the trading industry • Established permanent settlements in Oregon Country • Rocky Mountain Fur Company discovered a wagon route through the Rocky Mountains