This is one of the oldest merchandising companies in the English speaking nations. Eighteen merchants and noble men, who were encouraged by two French explorers, Sieut des Groselliers and Pierre Esprit Radisson that the area surrounding Hudson’s Bay held economic potentials, incorporated the company. The company was named The Governor and Company of Adventures of England Trading in Huston Bay and has never changed the name since then. In 1670, it received a royal charter that granted it governmental authority and monopoly of trade in the whole region that was drained by the waters flowing at the bay. That region was called Rupert’s land.
Additionally, the company developed fur trade, researched for a northwest passage to Asia, and colonized the area at the Hudson Bay by 1812 when the Red River settlement where it is currently called Manitoba was established. It built trading post forts and created profitable business.
The French also claimed to have control over the Hudson Bay that led to them raiding the company’s earlier depots and outputs. This created warfare between the company and the French that did not end until 1763 with the British Conquest of Canada. The company built its first inland post in 1774, which was called Cumberland House between the Churchill and Saskatchewan rivers. It later expanded to the west over the pacific slope. It absorbed its strong rival, the North West Company in 1812 where it received license permitting it exclusive trade in regions outside Rupert’s Land. The company held successful monopoly on the fur trade from Labrador to the Pacific Ocean, and from the Yukon and the Arctic to the United States (Simmons, 34).
The parliament failed to renew the license when it expired in 1859. It later surrendered its monopoly and governmental powers in 1869 to the Dominion of Canada. It exchanged this for $1, 500, 000. It was also granted 7, 000, 000 acres, which is equivalent to 2, 833, 000 in western Canada. It later sold all the land but maintained extensive mineral rights. The company ventured into retail trade in order to satisfy the needs of new settlers and opened its first store in Winnipeg in 1881. Queen Elizabeth II granted a new charter to the company in 1970 then it moved its headquarters from England to Canada.
The company played an important role in the Canada’s development. Before the Hudson Bay and the North West companies, the current Canada was just a wilderness. The company employed French Canadians and urged these employees on peaceful coexistence with the Indians who provided them with fur. This coexistence led to the emergence of the Metis, whose language was a combination of Cree, Indian and French dialects.
The Aboriginal people traded for European goods such as metal tools and pots though they did not have iron making technology, therefore, they also needed trade for these technologies. The company also needed trade for fur, which it did not have Beattie and Buss, 336-342). This led to the formation of a partnership between the company and the aboriginal people in the exploration of Canada. The company aided the European trade with the provision of fashionable animal pelts, which had its European desire dating back to the middle ages. The company also provided storage facilities to the European traders besides providing them with the products that they majorly dealt with. It collaborated with the Aboriginal people and created maps for navigating through the wilderness. Finally, it explored the waterways, which the European traders used for ferrying their goods.
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Simmons D. Keepers of the Record: The History of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press. 2007. Print.
Beattie H, J. and Buss M. H. (p 336-342). Undelivered Letters to Hudson’s Bay Company Men on the Northwest Coast of America, 1830-57. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. 2011. Print