The Fur Trade in the Minnesota River Valley

Dr. William E. Lass
Issue Date: 
Fall 2016

The Fur Trade was conducted from 1700 to roughly 1851. Beaver pelts were the primary medium of exchange, however finer furs were traded, such as mink and otter. The French, British and American traders were most involved in trading with Native Americans. The French existed in a period ruled by mercantilism, in which trapping licenses were strictly distributed and monitored. The British period of fur trading was marked by extensive intermarriages between the indigenous tribes and colonial traders. It was also heavily influential in Buffalo hunting and the exhaustion of the beaver population in the Midwest. The American period is significant in its role in purchasing Dakota lands and displacing the native population onto reservations. It is known as the period in which the fur trade collapsed due to the rejection of traditional trading alliances. 

Key Word Search Terms: 
Beaver, France, Fur Trade, France, Britain, America, Beaver, Buffalo