Building an Empire
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 6 to 7
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||cookware, staples, trapping, monopoly, worthless, survival, allegiance, pelts, refused, better, successful, fashion, posts, provided, exploration, government
||Hudson Bay, North America, Lawrence River, Great Lakes, Pierre-Esprit Radisson, Medard Chouart, Bay Company, Prince Rupert, North West Company, Canadian West
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Building an Empire
By Mary Lynn Bushong
1 Imagine spending the winter on the shore of Hudson Bay two centuries ago. On a bright snowy day, you would have to wear special goggles to keep from getting snow blindness. Somewhere in that whiteness the native people were busy trapping, skinning, and stretching beaver pelts. They would eventually come to the trading post, bringing hundreds or even thousands of pounds of fur.
2 When the French began to trade in North America, they dealt with tribes along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. They traded iron tools for thousands of pounds of fur.
3 One of these trader/adventurers was Pierre-Esprit Radisson. He and his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart des Groseilliers, heard that the quality and quantity of furs was better in the north on the frozen sea.
4 The two men thought it would be a good idea to put a trading post there. Ships could come in the summer and load up with furs bound for Europe. They tried to convince their government to do that but were refused.
5 They went to see businessmen in Boston but received little support. Finally, they went to Britain and found the support they needed. It took five years, but the Hudson's Bay Company was formed on May 2, 1670. The first director of the company was Prince Rupert of the Rhine.
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