The fur trade between the First Nations people of North America and the Europeans was central to the history of Canada and the United States. The commerce in furs made fortunes, it changed the lives of the First Nations people forever, it encouraged the French to explore deep into the interior of the continent, and it gave work to hundreds of people.
The names of some of the companies that controlled the trade in beaver pelts are still remembered today. The early trading companies that operated as monopolies in the days of New France included the Compagnie des Cent-Associés (Company of One Hundred Associates), 1627-1645, and the Compagnie francaise des Indes occidentales (French West India Company), 1664-1674. Later, the North West Company, 1789-1821, and the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1870s, competed for dominance.
The Company of One Hundred Associates was created in Paris in 1627 by Armand Jean Duplessis, better known as Cardinal Richelieu. Among the leading members of this trading company were explorers, fur traders, merchants, ship owners, bankers, governors of New France and Acadia. They included Samuel de Champlain, Martin Anceaume, Thomas Bonneau, Jacques Bulteau, Henry Cavelier, Antoine Cheffault, Sébastien Cramoisy. Charles Daniel, Jean David, Jacques Duhamel, Arnault Dumas, Thibault Dumas, Jean Guenet, Charles Huault, Pierre de La Haye, Gabriel Lattaignant, Claude de Launay-Razilly, Jean de Lauzon, Simon Lemaistre, Raoul L’Huillier, François de Magny, Adam Mannessier, Georges Morin, François Mouet, Antoine Nozereau, Jean Papavoine, Claude Potel, Guillaume Prévost, Isaac de Razilly, Claude de Roquemont, Jean Rozé, Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, Jean Taffet and André Terru.
Perhaps your ancestor owned or helped to run one of these trading companies. Perhaps he was a coureur de bois who traveled by canoe into the interior of the continent to trade with the indigenous people, and perhaps he married an indigenous woman. Whatever your interest, the attached compilation can help you better understand the roles these companies may have played in your ancestor‘s life.
Click here: Trading Companies
Next week’s post will cover the ports of departure in France associated with the merchants who traded with New France. Following that, I will look at authors who have written about this period and archives where you can find more information.
“The Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, part 1, A-G” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/
“The Merchants, Fur Traders and Ship Owners of New France, part 2, H-Z” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/10/the-merchants-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-2-h-to-z/
photo copyright Janice Hamilton
2 thoughts on “The Trading Companies of New France”
See 6 April 1707 – Engagement – Translated by Suzanne Boivin Sommerville [additions in brackets]
a contract written during the time that Antoine Laumet dit de Lamothe Cadillac was in charge of the trade at Fort Pontchartrain, page 15 of Diane’s set of contracts.
Thank you for your compilation. Like most commentators on the French Fur Trade, you have omitted a very significant phase when the commandants of the posts in the interior were granted permission to be in charge of the trade at their posts. See, in particular, my article on the Fur Trade in Nouvelle France, link at the url below, and the other items on this page, which include sample Fur Trade Contracts compiled by Diane Sheppard.