Trading post

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A factory at Bathurst (Gambia) around 1900 Trading post Bathrust (Gambia) 1900.jpg
A factory at Bathurst (Gambia) around 1900
A recreation of a typical trading post for trade with the Plains Indians Tradingpostguy.JPG
A recreation of a typical trading post for trade with the Plains Indians

A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory in European and colonial contexts, is an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded.


Typically the location of the trading post allows people from one geographic area to trade in goods produced in another area. In some examples, local inhabitants can use a trading post to exchange local products for goods they wished to acquire. [1]

A trading post can be either a single building or an entire town. [2] Trading posts have been established in a range of areas, including relatively remote ones, but most often near the ocean, a river, or another natural resource. [3]


Major towns in the Hanseatic League were known as kontors , a form of trading posts. [4]

Charax Spasinu was a trading post between the Roman and Parthian Empires. [5]

Manhattan and Singapore were both established as trading posts, by Dutchman Peter Minuit and Englishman Stamford Raffles respectively, and later developed into major settlements. [6] [7]

The Roman Empire could control such a large amount of land because of their efficient systems for spreading information, goods, and other supplies across large distances. Goods specifically were vital to fueling outposts in distant territories, like northern Africa and western Asia. Trading posts played a large part in managing these goods, where they were going, and when. Some goods exchanged at these trading posts and other parts of the Roman trade system were precious stones, fabrics, ivory, and wine. There is also evidence that they traded cattle at the Empúries trading post, established in the 6th century BCE, on the Iberian Peninsula. [8]

North American frontier

A trading house was typically strategically stocked with goods that the Native Americans would trade furs for; some of these goods included clothing, blankets, and corn. Eric Jay Dolin's Fur, Fortune, and Empire provides some historical context on events and the origins of trading posts in North America. One of the first examples given is that of the Kennebec Trading House, established in 1628 by the Plymouth colonists. [9]

The next event from Dolin's book features early conflicts between the French and Plymouth colonists. This occurs in 1631 when the French go to the Plymouth Penobscot trading post. With the masters and most of the crew gone to get supplies, this left only a few servants to attend to the French. When the Frenchmen learned that this was the case, they decided to feign interest in a few of the guns available at the trading post, which they turned back onto the servants. They ordered for all things valuable, leaving with £500 of goods and £300 in beaver pelts. [10]

A good portion of Fur, Fortune, and Empire focuses on the journey of John Jacob Astor, who founded the American Fur Company (AFC). One of the great feats achieved by the AFC was the establishment of a trading post in the native Blackfoot tribe's territory, located in modern-day Montana along the Rocky Mountains. The Blackfoot tribe had killed many Americans and, up to this point, only traded with the Hudson Bay Company. In order to erect a trading post in Blackfoot territory, they would need an inside contact to establish contact on their behalf. Jacob Berger, a trapper, offered Kenneth McKenzie to serve as this contact and get the AFC into negotiations with the Blackfoot. The talks were successful, and McKenzie was able to build a trading post in Blackfoot territory, adjacent to the Missouri and Marias rivers, naming it Fort McKenzie. [11]

Noochuloghoyet Trading Post was an American trading post established in the last 19th century, located in central Alaska adjacent to the Yukon River. This was an important trading post for the fur trade, though it has historically gone by different names and the level of involvement varied greatly while active. [12]

Other uses

Trading posts in North America

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blackfoot Confederacy</span> A name used for a group of Native Americans

The Blackfoot Confederacy, Niitsitapi, or Siksikaitsitapi, is a historic collective name for linguistically related groups that make up the Blackfoot or Blackfeet people: the Siksika ("Blackfoot"), the Kainai or Blood, and two sections of the Peigan or Piikani – the Northern Piikani (Aapátohsipikáni) and the Southern Piikani. Broader definitions include groups such as the Tsúùtínà (Sarcee) and A'aninin who spoke quite different languages but allied with or joined the Blackfoot Confederacy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fur trade</span> Worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur

The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of a world fur market in the early modern period, furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued. Historically the trade stimulated the exploration and colonization of Siberia, northern North America, and the South Shetland and South Sandwich Islands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pacific Fur Company</span> American fur-trading company (1810-13)

The Pacific Fur Company (PFC) was an American fur trade venture wholly owned and funded by John Jacob Astor that functioned from 1810 to 1813. It was based in the Pacific Northwest, an area contested over the decades among the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Spanish Empire, the United States of America and the Russian Empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">York Factory</span> Trading post and settlement on the shore of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada

York Factory was a settlement and Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) factory located on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay in northeastern Manitoba, Canada, at the mouth of the Hayes River, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) south-southeast of Churchill.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Astoria</span> Primary fur trading post of the Pacific Fur Company

Fort Astoria was the primary fur trading post of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company (PFC). A maritime contingent of PFC staff was sent on board the Tonquin, while another party traveled overland from St. Louis. This land based group later became known as the Astor Expedition. Built at the entrance of the Columbia River in 1811, Fort Astoria was the first American-owned settlement on the Pacific coast of North America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American Fur Company</span> Fur trading company based in New York City (1808–47)

The American Fur Company (AFC) was founded in 1808, by John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant to the United States. During the 18th century, furs had become a major commodity in Europe, and North America became a major supplier. Several British companies, most notably the North West Company (NWC and the Hudson's Bay Company, were eventual competitors against Astor and capitalized on the lucrative trade in furs. Astor utilized a variety of commercial strategies to become one of the first trusts in American business and a major competitor to the British commercial dominance in North American fur trade. Expanding into many former British fur-trapping regions and trade routes, the company grew to monopolize the fur trade in the United States by 1830, and became one of the largest and wealthiest businesses in the country.

Anthony Henday was one of the first Europeans to explore the interior of what would eventually become western Canada. He ventured farther westward than any white man had before him. As an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, he travelled across the prairies in the 1750s, journeyed into what is now central Alberta, and possibly arrived at the present site of Red Deer. He camped along the North Saskatchewan River, perhaps on the present site of Rocky Mountain House or Edmonton, and is said to have been the first European to see the Rocky Mountains, if only from a distance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site</span> National Historic Site of the United States in North Dakota

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is a partial reconstruction of the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri River from 1829 to 1867. The fort site is about two miles from the confluence of the Missouri River and its tributary, the Yellowstone River, on the Dakota side of the North Dakota/Montana border, 25 miles from Williston, North Dakota.

Fort Kiowa, officially Fort Lookout and also called Fort Brazeau/Brasseaux, was a 19th-century fur trading post located on the Missouri River between modern Chamberlain, South Dakota, and the Big Bend of the Missouri.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fur brigade</span>

Fur brigades were convoys of canoes and boats used to transport supplies, trading goods and furs in the North American fur trade industry. Much of it consisted of native fur trappers, most of whom were Métis, and fur traders who traveled between their home trading posts and a larger Hudson's Bay Company or Northwest Company post in order to supply the inland post with goods and supply the coastal post with furs.

Albatros was an American-owned ship which brought to W. Price Hunt, partner of the Pacific Fur Company, at its Astoria post, news of the War of 1812.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Factory (trading post)</span> Transshipment zone (5th- to 19th-century name)

Factory was the common name during the medieval and early modern eras for an entrepôt – which was essentially an early form of free-trade zone or transshipment point. At a factory, local inhabitants could interact with foreign merchants, often known as factors. First established in Europe, factories eventually spread to many other parts of the world. The origin of the word factory is from Latin factorium 'place of doers, makers'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wilson Price Hunt</span>

Wilson Price Hunt was an early pioneer and explorer of the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Employed as an agent in the fur trade under John Jacob Astor, Hunt organized and led the greater part of a group of about 60 men on an overland expedition to establish a fur trading outpost at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Astorians, as they have become known, were the first major party to cross to the Pacific after the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marie Aioe Dorion</span> Métis fur trader (c. 1786–1850)

"Madame" Marie Aioe Dorion Venier Toupin was the only female member of an overland expedition sent by Pacific Fur Company to the Pacific Northwest in 1810. Like her first husband, Pierre Dorion Jr., she was Métis. Her mother was of the Iowa people and her father was French Canadian. She was also known as Marie Laguivoise, a name recorded in 1841 at the Willamette Mission and apparently a variation on Aiaouez, later rendered as Iowa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eric Jay Dolin</span> American author

Eric Jay Dolin is an American author who writes history books, which often focus on maritime topics, wildlife, and the environment. He has published fourteen books, which have won numerous awards.

The Iron Confederacy or Iron Confederation was a political and military alliance of Plains Indians of what is now Western Canada and the northern United States. This confederacy included various individual bands that formed political, hunting and military alliances in defense against common enemies. The ethnic groups that made up the Confederacy were the branches of the Cree that moved onto the Great Plains around 1740, the Saulteaux, the Nakoda or Stoney people also called Pwat or Assiniboine, and the Métis and Haudenosaunee. The Confederacy rose to predominance on the northern Plains during the height of the North American fur trade when they operated as middlemen controlling the flow of European goods, particularly guns and ammunition, to other Indigenous nations, and the flow of furs to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and North West Company (NWC) trading posts. Its peoples later also played a major part in the bison (buffalo) hunt, and the pemmican trade. The decline of the fur trade and the collapse of the bison herds sapped the power of the Confederacy after the 1860s, and it could no longer act as a barrier to U.S. and Canadian expansion.

Adriaen Jorissen Thienpoint or Tienpoint was a Dutch sea captain-explorer who commanded several ships to the newly developing colonies of New Netherland and New Sweden as well as other holdings of the Dutch Empire in North America in the early 17th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fur trade in Montana</span>

The fur trade in Montana was a major period in the area's economic history from about 1800 to the 1850s. It also represents the initial meeting of cultures between indigenous peoples and those of European ancestry. British and Canadian traders approached the area from the north and northeast focusing on trading with the indigenous people, who often did the trapping of beavers and other animals themselves. American traders moved gradually up the Missouri River seeking to beat British and Canadian traders to the profitable Upper Missouri River region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alexander Culbertson</span> American fur trader and government agent

Alexander Culbertson (1809–1879), was an American fur trader who founded Fort Benton, Montana, and was a special government agent who played an important role in the negotiations leading to the 1851 treaty of Fort Laramie. Later, Culbertson and his wife Natawista Iksina negotiated with the Blackfoot Confederacy to let the northern Pacific railroad survey of 1853 continue unharmed.

The United States Government Fur Trade Factory System was a system of government non-profit trading with Native Americans that existed between 1795 and 1821.


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