Political & Economic Organizations - Additional Reading
B. The Northern Fur Trade
Once the HBC was firmly established in the territory south and west of the Hudson Bay, the company cast its eyes north. Beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, they made repeated attempts to establish trade with Inuit peoples. For decades they did not succeed.
Then, in 1839, they sent an Inuk employee north from Fort George in search of trade. That first summer, he brought a single family back, but the next year he returned with about thirty families with furs and skins for trade.
After that, Fort George enjoyed rather regular trade with Inuit peoples,. In 1851, the HBC opened a northern post at Little Whale River in order to expand the northern trade. The post operated for the next forty years.
Seal pelts and sealskin clothing made up a good portion of the Inuit trade goods. Skins were more valuable when their layers of blubber were left intact. There was a growing shortage of whale oil, used in lamps and candles, and seal oil made from blubber was an excellent substitute.