By 1680, despite repeated prohibitions from both the church and colonial authorities, some 500 coureurs de bois were in the Lake Superior country attempting to outdistance the Indian middlemen. As a result, fewer Indians brought furs to trade at Montréal and Trois-Rivières, inducing colonial merchants to hire some coureurs de bois in order to remain in business.
Licensing was eventually introduced by the authorities to control the seasonal exodus into the hinterland. Thus professional, "respectable" VOYAGEURS, usually associated with particular interior posts, came into being. Renegade traders persisted, becoming the primary bearers of the designation "coureur de bois" after the emergence of New Orleans as an alternative focus of the trade in the 18th century. The independent coureurs de bois played an important role in the European exploration of the continent and in establishing trading contacts with the Indians.
Author TOM WIEN
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Raid on Deerfield
A narrated history of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield and its aftermath from Native and European perspectives. Also features fascinating stories about Native societies, cultures, trade practices, and traditions. This multimedia website is from the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Glossary: North West Company
A glossary of special fur trade terms and indexes to personal names, geographical place names and native tribes. A website from McGill University.