To what extent was income from fur trading responsible for the development of Canada?
Part A: Historical Significance
The fur-trade was not only of importance to the development of Canada because of the source of new resources for European settlers, but also because of the vast amount of wealth to be earned. It is crucial to understand the historical significance because it not only outlines the direct effect of the income from fur-trading, but it also explores many factors that may not be easily correlated to the fur-trade.
The fur-trade can be summarized as the earliest and most impactful industry in North America. The fur-trade was started in the 1500’s due to the Europeans exchanging goods like knives, pots, axes, and other goods for the extremely popular fur. Soon after the trades had been started the fur industry began to boom. After the first French explorers sent the valuable fur back to Europe, it soon became very fashionable to wear these furs. The popularity of the furs made some explorers realize how vast the amount of wealth to be made in the fur industry was, and set sail to North America. This led to the sudden surge in Europeans coming to North America to settle.
The key idea in my inquiry question is the extent and responsibility the fur trade’s income has on the development of Canada. The first substantial effect on the development of Canada that has been initiated by the fur trade is the friendly relations between the Indigenous Peoples and European settlers. The economic bond between the Indigenous Peoples and European settlers is a critical point, especially in the Seven Year War. If not for the temptation of furs, European explorers might not have settled in Canada or even maintained friendly relations with the Indigenous Peoples after a while. The furs was a reason to keep putting money into sending explorers and investing in the European businesses.
The second key contribution to the development of Canada we see is the settlement of Europeans. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded a trading post which is now the present-day Quebec.This trading post became one of the most impactful factors in the development of Canada. The income from the fur trade not only enticed settlers to expand and extend their reach on the fur trade, but it also brought many more European explorers with a crave for wealth. Trading posts and trading routes began to spring up everywhere and development of Canada had begun.
Another key concept my researches has shown is the destruction of racial barriers. With the influx of European settlers coming to settle due to the grand profits to be made, population growth soon ensued. Although there was the Filles du Roi that jump-started the population growth in Canada, soon after European settlers began to build families with the Indigenous Peoples. This led to a race called the Métis to be born. The Métis were half-Europeans, half-Indigenous peoples. This was another scenario of friendly relations with Indigenous Peoples, but it was also a social change in the contemporary mindset. Albeit, the métis people faced racism at the start.
Cause and Consequence:
The original exchange of gifts between the first European explorers and the Indigenous Peoples occurred due to a meeting of foreign parties. The two parties simply wanted to express their goodwill and peace. The consequences of the Indigenous Peoples and the European settlers forming a strong economic bond was that the bond attracted more Europeans to come and partake in the booming trade. This soon led to Europeans taking away land from the Indigenous Peoples without their consent and agreement.
This also led to new European technologies being brought over to Canada. However, this had both negative and positive consequences. The negative consequences of the new European technology was that it brought an imbalance to the stability in the Indigenous tribes. The positive consequences was that Indigenous Peoples acquired innovative and new technology which helped the Indigenous Peoples advance.
Although the settlement of Canada inevitably caused a loss of land for the Indigenous Peoples, it also provided the foundation for the development of Canada. The trade routes also brought a lot of income to Europe, but once more, it was at the sacrifice of Indigenous Peoples lands and property.
The influx of European explorers and settlers into Canada was not considered a big, ethical deal to the Europeans. The Europeans only saw the settlement of Canada as a quick way to earn cash and a place with free resources. The Europeans did not think they were doing any harm to the Indigenous Peoples since they were just taking advantage of free resources and land.
However, with our current moral values and standards, this sort of behavior is deemed heinous and disrespectful. The Indigenous Peoples had ownership over the land since they were here first and the European explorers should have discussed terms with them instead of forcefully seizing their land.
Part B: Social Studies Inquiry Processes:
In conclusion, I can say that the main factors that contributed to the development of Canada that were reliant on the income from fur trade are friendly relations with Indigenous People, settlement in Canada, vast amounts of income and resources, and the breaking of racial barriers. Although there were many factors that contributed to the development of Canada, the main and easiest ones to connect and correlate to the fur trade are those listed above. Building the nation of Canada was not only a tedious task, but a task that took many setbacks and long periods of time. It is impossible to consider every single factor that contributed to such a broad topic like the development of an entire nation. However, my research has already shown a lot of insight onto the effect and consequences that come with any decision and how they have specifically effected Canada through the fur trade. The fur trade was an extremely impactful event in Canadian history and it was definitely one of the cornerstones in the founding of our nation.