Canadian Theme Unit
Groseilliers and Radisson

Groseilliers and Radisson
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.3

     challenging words:    short-sighted, evacuate, unsuccessful, fined, refused, impressed, successful, backwoods, death, theirs, born, prisoner, invest, navy, government, power
     content words:    Pierre Esprit Radisson, New World, Medard Chouart, New France, Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Hudson Bay, First Nations, King Charles II, Bay Company

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Groseilliers and Radisson
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Pierre Esprit Radisson was born in France around 1640, but he had no desire to stay there. He craved excitement and adventure. However, he may have gotten more than he bargained for when he came to the New World.
2     Radisson was kidnapped by the Iroquois twice but escaped. The second time, he found his way to a Dutch settlement. At this time he was about thirteen years old and went from there to Amsterdam. By the next year, he was back in Trois-Rivieres.
3     When he was seventeen, Radisson was part of an expedition to a Jesuit mission. He returned the next year to help evacuate it in the face of Iroquois attack.
4     While Radisson was being held prisoner the second time, his sister married Medard Chouart des Groseilliers. Groseilliers arrived in New France in 1642 and became a coureur de bois, a runner of the woods. He went as far west as Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. There he became friends with the Huron people. He even helped establish trade with them.
5     When Radisson was nineteen, he joined Groseilliers on an expedition. They were gone a year and established trade that was to bring some furs down from around Hudson Bay. They returned to New France the next year with 100 canoes filled with furs.
6     Instead of being rewarded for their efforts to improve trade with the First Nations, the French officials were unhappy with them. They fined the men for not getting permits to go inland to trade. Then they impounded the furs and threw Groseilliers in jail.
7     Later, the two men went to Boston. They tried to get businessmen there to invest in the fur trade. A short expedition was funded, but it was unsuccessful.
8     Finally, in 1665, they sailed for London. Where the French had proved themselves short-sighted, the British were more willing to listen.
9     Four years later, the two took ships to Hudson Bay as part of an experiment. They returned the next year with full loads of fur. King Charles II was impressed. He gave the new Hudson's Bay Company a charter on May 2, 1670. It made them the only English trading company to be able to trade in the lands around Hudson Bay.

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