George Bonga And The Fur Trade

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The fur trade was one of the earliest and most important industries during the 16th,17th, and 18th centuries. The fur trade began in the 1500’s as an exchange between Indians and Europeans. The Indians traded furs for such goods as tools and weapons. Beaver fur, which was used in Europe to make felt hats, became the most valuable of these furs. The fur trade prospered until the mid-1800’s, when fur-bearing animals became scarce and silk hats became more popular than felt hats made with beaver. The fur trade contributed to the development of British and French empires in North America. During the 1600’s, the prospect of wealth from the fur trade attracted many Europeans to the New World. The Indians of North America began trading furs with…show more content…
There is theory in the matter of whether Henry Hastings Sibley used slave work at his exchanging post, since it is vague in respect to regardless of whether Joe Robinson, his cook, was a free man (Green). At times these slaves were liberated by their experts, yet frequently they remained part of the exchange business. George Bonga was the child of a previous slave and an Ojibwe lady and was active portion of the fur trade in the 1800s (Green). Bonga was educated in Montreal and was well-known for his physical stature and strength. Often sought out for his skills as an interpreter, Bonga could speak French, English and Ojibwe. The Bonga family is just one example of the diversity and cultural exchange that resulted from the fur trade in the Northwest…show more content…
Although fur trade did continue in many other areas. It continued until the 1850s, but in many ways it was a declining business as early as the 1820s. Beaver had become over-hunted by the 1790s, and by the 1820s the species was nearly extinct in southern Wisconsin (Wisconsin U). Some species such as muskrat, deer, and marten remained abundant, but prices for these pelts were often low. Moreover, once the government began buying the Indians' land, in the 1830s, the Indians had an alternative source of income. Traders still took furs, but during the 1830s and 1840s they made more money selling goods to the Indians in exchange for their annuity money from land sales. In the 1850s, the Indians lived on reservations and could no longer harvest furs in their old hunting grounds (Wisconsin U). Numerous Indians swung to different types of job, especially logging and timber factories. The American Fur Company stopped operations in 1842 when it sold its interests in the upper Mississippi valley to Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and Company of St. Louis. By 1854, the partners who shaped this organization had stopped the fur trade and moved into different organizations. A little gathering of men assumed control over the American Fur Company's operations at Mackinac Island in 1834, yet by 1854 this worry had likewise closed down. The Great Lakes

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