Many countries, and many events combined to "form" the Furtrade Era. These are some of the more significant, often seen as "turning points" in the history of fur. Flag keys are as follows:

England France
United States Spain

Rival elements under the same flag are identified by text; HBC=Hudson's Bay Company, NWC=North West Company, Montreal=Trading interests originating from the city of Montreal.

1598 (about) Vincente de Zaldivar of Onate's force camped near present Denver, named South Platte Rio de Chato.  
1608 Quebec established as a fur post by Champlain.  
1611 Champlain builds fur post at Montreal.  
1650 Bighorn River region, ancient ruins credited to Spanish.  
1654-61 Radisson and Groseilliers explored southwest of Lake Superior and discovered the Mississippi.  
1669

HBC

Ft. Charles, at foot of James Bay, became Ft. Rupert.  
1671-84

HBC

Forts at mouths of Bay rivers: Moose 1671; Severn 1680; Albany 1683; York, finally on Hayes  
1673 Marquette and Jolliet paddled down the Mississippi to below the Arkansas, where DeSoto had been in 1541.  
1682 LaSalle reached the mouth of the Mississippi, claiming the drainage for France, called it Louisiana.  
1685 LaSalle landed at Matagorda Bay, built Fort St. Louis (LaSalle killed 1687)  
1686 Mackinac region, Rooseboom and McGregor opened trade but were seized by the French.  
1714 St. Denis, French trader, reached the Rio Grande.  
1714-17 Bourgmont explored the Missouri to the Platte, some think as far as the mouth of the Little Missouri.  
1720 Villasur's defeat by Pawnees with French guns, Archeveque, reported murderer of La Salle, among the dead  
1720 French traders among the Pawnees of the upper Platte.  
1734 Jemeraye established Fort Maurepas on Lake Winnipeg, third of the Verendrye posts (St. Pierre on Rainy reactivated, St. Charles on Lake of the Woods.  
1738-39 Verendryes to Hidatsa, and Mandan, villages of upper Missouri.  
1739 Mallet brothers and traders reached Santa Fe.  
1742-43 Verendrye sons probably reached the Big Horns, buried a plate at the Missouri, found 1913 above Bad River.  
1747 Pickawillany, Colonials set up supply housed for wandering traders, supplied 50 in 1752, but sacked by Langlade in June.  
1750's

HBC

Saskatchewan River region, reached by trade drummers sent out with goods to tempt the Indians to York.  
1750 Hidatsa villages, site of ancient trading fair, now with both French and Hudson's Bay representatives present each summer.  
1751 Fort La Jonquierre built by Saint-Pierre for Verendryes, at foot of Canadian Rockies  
1754

HBC

Anthony Hendry to upper South Saskatchewan, to Ft. La Jonquierre region with presents and trade goods.  
1772

HBC

Mathew Cocking, to Blackfeet country west of Eagle Hills.  
1773 Montreal Ft. La Traite, on Churchill River, by Frobisher to cut into HBC's trade.  
1780 (and before) Montreal Nez Perce village west of Bitterroots. French Trader called Sassaway/Salsway/Salaway, with Indian family.  
1780 Prairie du Chien, Spaniards from New Mexico appeared this far seeking trade and Indian allegiance.  
1782 Montreal Upper Yellowstone, on old Indian trail along east slope of the mountains, challenging Spanish trade goods.  
1784 (and on)

NWC

Built up Grand portage as a general summer rendezvous for all companies and free traders, drawing furs from as far as Oregon and the Artic Circle.  
1785

NWC

Strengthened far west trade through such forts as Athabasca and English River.  
1787

HBC

David Thompson wintered with Piegans on Bow River.  
1793

NWC

Alexander Mackenzie, first overlander to reach the Pacific north of the Spaniards, (by Peace Pass, and then withdrew to XY Company 1798-1804.  
1793

HBC

Brandon House established on Assiniboine, outpost for trade south and southwest to Missouri and Yellowstone.  
1800

NWC

Des Moines River, controlling most of trade to there out of upper Mississippi River posts and Fond du Lac.  
1804 Santa Fe, La Lande trading party from St. Louis.  
1805 Ft. Clatsop, built by Lewis and Clark near mouth of Columbia.  
1807

NWC

Upper Kootenay House, built by David Thompson.  
1810-11 Ft. Henry, by Andrew Henry on fork of Snake.  
1811 Astoria, by Astor's Pacific Fur Company, sold to North West Company in 1813.  
1811 Ft. Okanogan by David Stuart, one of the Tonquin Astorians.  
1811-12

HBC

Selkirk Colony, on 116,000 sq. mi. across North West Company access to western posts.  
1813

NWC

Astoria, bought from Astor's representatives under pressure of War of 1812.  
1817

HBC

Walla Walla (Ft. Nez Perce) on Columbia below mouth of Snake.  
1821 Northwest Company merges with Hudson Bay Company  
1825 South Pass opened to wheels by Wm. Ashley party, to become great emigrant gap to the west.  
1825 Henry Fork of the Green River, first American Rendezvous for wandering trapper brigades, by Wm. Ashley.  
1834 Fort on the Laramie, by Campbell and Sublette, to become treat outpost on emigrant trails.  
1834

HBC

Fort Boise, on the Snake River in what is now southern Idaho.  

HOME!