The Quebec Natives in the Fur Trading Industry
The fur trade in Canada is one of the oldest businesses dating back to as earlier as 16th century and it involved both native Amerindians and European explorers and was one of the ancient businesses whose establishment was based chiefly on natural resources. During this time fishermen who were operating off the St. Lawrence Gulf and New founder’s Grand Banks established a close friendship with the Indians who supplied them with fur and fresh meat in exchange for trinkets, cloth and tools (Martin, 2010).The history Quebec cannot be complete without the history of the fur trade, as this trade formed an integral part of the lives of the people of Quebec; with its returns promoting exploration, religious establishment and settlement, and at the same time enriching different Europeans. This trade had a significant impact on the lives of the province’s natives as well as the entire region.
Two hundred years prior to the establishment of European pioneers and Philemon Wright’s America in Gatineau region, individuals involved in fur trading travelled through this region and the native Amerindians used to ensnare various animals for this business. By the beginning of the 17th century trade in the North America region had become a significant and developing phenomenon. It became a great market for freshly-trapped skins of different fur bearing animals and initially-worn beaver outfits. These goods were collected and taken to a central place for their destination in Europe. The natives acted as both transporters and trappers; while the merchants and agents, who were mainly Europeans owned several bases for collection in North America (Martin, 2010).
In exchange the natives received utilitarian items like cloth, needles, axes in addition to luxury goods such as beads etc. The trade expanded in subsequent centuries attracting new players like the French and Dutch. But in 1672, the French colonials established a monopoly after taking control of the region and the monopoly was granted to a French owned company, Company of New France.Therefore, the Quebec natives played a central role in the establishment of the Fur trade industry by acting as transporters as well as trappers of the fur bearing animals.