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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 89-1069


North West Company fur traders licences fonds. -- 1789-1803. -- 1 folder.

Biography / History

The North West Company was a major force in the fur trade between the 1780's and 1821. The Company was formed by Highland Scots, Loyalists and Canadian labourers. Montreal traders pooled their resources to reduce competition amongst themselves and to resist the advances being made by the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1783 and 1784 the North West Company was formally organized with the Frobisher brothers and Simon McTavish holding the controlling shares. The annual trade at this time was approximately 100 000 pounds. Their rivals included the Hudson's Bay Company and Gregory, McLeod and Company. In mid-1787 the Nor'westors and Gregory and McLeod amalgamated, with the Frobishers and McTavish running the business from Montreal, while Alexander MacKenzie led their inland expansion. By 1795 the Nor'westers had another strong rival in the New North West Company or XY Company. The two Companies merged in 1804. In 1821 a parliamentary Act granted the Hudson's Bay Company; and William and Simon McGillivray and Edward Ellice of the North West Company, the exclusive trading rights with Britain. The Companies effectively worked together and expanded their fur trading enterprises together without the competition. (Taken from: "The Canadian Encyclopedia." Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1985.)

Custodial History

This fonds was in the custody of Jim and Bea Clark before it was donated to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of fur trading licences issued to traders by the North West Company.


Title based on content of fonds.

The records are fragile. Please use gloves while handling the records. Do not photocopy the originals.

This fonds was donated by Jim and Bea Clarke.

This fonds is in French.

Restrictions: N

Associated material located at the National Archives of Canada.

For related records see: 95-1003.