Chapter 4 Competition for Trade Name: Chapter Inquiry



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The Fur Trade: The Foundation of an Economy

Trading occurs when each side has something that the other would want/like.

1. What items did the First Nations people like to get from the Europeans? Pots, knives, axes, copper wire, and guns, blankets, cloth, and thread.

2. Why were these goods desirable to the ones that they already had? Stronger and lasted longer.

3. What kinds of goods did the Europeans want to get from the First Nations People? Lots of furs. What types of this item did they have?(8 Marks) fox, marten, otter, bear, lynx, muskrat, wolf, and beaver.

4. The Europeans used these things for fashionable trims on coats and jackets.

5. The First Nations People and the traders used the barter system when trading their goods. The First Nations people were already good at using this system when they traded corn, tobacco, furs, copper, pottery to trade with their neighbors. What did the Europeans usually use when they bought something back home? Metal coins.

6. Before trading they would show respect and trust by sharing the peace pipe and offering wampum that is a string of shells to honour new friends and create harmony. The Europeans were paid about 10 times more for the pelts (furs) than they paid for the goods that they traded them for. This mark-up made them a big profit.



Three Key Players – There were three major groups involved in the fur trade. List them in the spaces below and explain the role that each played in the process.

1. First Nations – hunted and trapped animals in winter. Women skinned and prepared the pelts. In spring men and women loaded canoes with furs and travelled to trading posts to trade furs for goods.

2. Merchants – in both French and English fur trade, merchants financed and organized the trade. Puchased and shipped goods from Europe to Canada. Shipped furs back to Europe to sell to hat makers.



3. Coureur de bois and voyageurs – French traders paddled on long journeys into the wilderness to trade with the First Nations. Then paddled back to trading posts in Montreal.

Relying on First Nations – The Europeans didn’t know how to live in the harsh North American wilderness, First Nations people helped Europeans in the following ways:

  • Showing them how to find food.

  • Teach them to make medicine to cure diseases like scurvy.

  • How to dress in cold weather.

  • Transportation in the form of canoes.

  • Share knowledge of their regions.

  • Translating deals with various groups.

  • Help negotiate trade deals.

  • Provide a workforce to cook food, sew moccasins, prepare pemmican, snare animals, lace snowshoes.

Although the First Nations Women did not hunt for furs, they still played an important role in the fur trade. In the space below list the ways that they played a role.

  • Prepare furs

  • Worked in forts making moccassins and clothing. Gathered food.

  • Working on the road – paddled canoes and worked in camps.

  • Shared language and geography skills.


The French Fur Trade – How did the French government influence the fur trade and the economy of New France?

  1. Coureurs de bois spent their wages in shops - shop owners bought food from the farmers, farmers used that money to buy from other business/cooper

  2. In the early days of New France the fur trade was the foundation of the economy. Who controlled the fur trade in New France? The French King.

    Jean Talon

  3. Who was Jean-Baptiste Colbert and what was his role in New France? (4 items) Man in charge of planning the economy in New France. Wanted the mercantile system. Did not allow trading posts in the interior of North America to avoid conflict with First Nations. Relied on the Wendat for furs brought to Montreal



  1. Who was Jean Talon and what was his role in New France? (4 items) In charge of the economy after 1665. Used money to attract more colonists. Supported local industries. Doubled the the number of colonists.

  2. Who was Governor Frontenac and what was his role in New France?(5 Marks)Nobleman, governor in 1672, needed new trading partners due to death of Wendat and Haudenosaunee wars. Sent coureur de bois into the interior knowing if he didn’t, the English would.



  1. In the Great Peace of Montreal, 3 nations joined together to fight the Haudenosaunee. After 60 years of war the First Nations and French began to negotiate peace. They signed a peace treaty and finally the trappers and the coureur de bois could travel safely.



  1. When the local beaver supply began to decline the French expanded their trapping farther north and west. This resulted in them exploring the entire continent. This Peace lasted until the 1750s.
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