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Add fur traders and managers of trading posts to this project. There is a separate project for fur trappers. You can visit HistoryLink to find out which projects include your ancestors.


"Two realms of trade: The Rocky Mountain Fur Trade and the Upper Missouri. The two regions had different circumstances and hence very different methods of operating business. The Upper Missouri trade relied on the Indian tribes to bring their buffalo skins to trading posts. There, the robes were bought and sent to St. Louis via the river.

"The Rocky Mountain Trapping system was quite different. In the Rockies, beaver was the fur of choice. It was trapped mainly by the Euro-American mountain men traveling in company groups. The pelts were sold at a yearly rendezvous where the buyers would travel overland to the designated site and then haul the furs via mule train and wagon to the city to be sold. This system allowed the mountain men to stay in the wilderness year round, as they did not have to travel to a trading post to sell their catch. These two systems were not sealed from one another. Depending on the terrain, available capital, and the attitude of the nearby Indian tribes, a fur company would often use both the rendezvous system and trading posts.

"The first of the fur giants was the British Hudson's Bay Company, chartered in 1670. The Hudson's Bay Company dominated the trade of Northern Canada and the Oregon territory well into the 19th Century. The first substantial American venture was the Pacific Fur Company started by John Jacob Astor in 1810. Astor's dream was to create a corporation that covered all of the West, starting with a fort at the mouth of the Columbia River. He sent one group by ship to build the fort and another by land to establish a useable overland route. The fort "Astoria" was erected as planned and the overland group arrived in 1811. The French North West Company was already trapping in the vicinity and provided keen competition for Astor. With the coming threat of British invasion during the War of 1812, Astor sold his fort to the North West Company for a fraction of its cost. The British did invade and take over the fort, renaming it Fort George. After the United States won the war, the post was returned to America, but not to Astor.

"The American fur trade was dormant from 1814 to 1819 due to the economic and political turmoil caused by the War of 1812. The loss of Astoria and trouble with the Blackfeet Indians on the Missouri also dealt a blow to the trade. Manuel Lisa did manage to run the Missouri Fur Company from about 1807 to 1820; this group built Fort Raymond in 1807 and trapped and traded with the Indians on the Upper Missouri. In 1822, John Jacob Astor again made a debut into the fur industry by establishing the Western department of the American Fur Company in St. Louis. A year earlier, the Hudson's Bay Company and North West Company had merged, resulting in British dominance of the Columbia River. Also in 1822, William Henry Ashley advertised for "one hundred young men to ascend the Missouri River to its source, there to be employed for one, two or three years." This marked the beginning of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Though it would change hands several times, this company would innovate the industry by creating the "free trapper system" and the rendezvous.

"Both Astor's new American Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company would be successful in creating the Rocky Mountain trading system. As both companies branched out, they would eventually compete for control of the Upper Missouri trade. The stiff competition ended with the American Company's collapse in 1834. This was just as well. By 1834, the decline in demand for beaver hats (the fashion had turned to silk) combined with an increasing scarcity of resources (the beaver had been nearly trapped out) to weaken the market. In the early 1830's, beaver was worth almost $6/lb in Philadelphia; by 1843 the price was not even $3/lb."

Source: The Fur Trade: "Beaver Powered Mountaineering"


  • American Fur Company (1808-1842) - Founded by John Jacob Astor and William H. Ashley in 1808, the American Fur Company would become one of the largest businesses in the country at the start of the 19th century.

Famous Traders

  • James Beckwourth (1798-1866). Mountain man, fur trader, and explorer.
  • Charles Bent (1799-1847), Fur trapper and 1st Territorial Governor of New Mexico.
  • Benjamin Bonneville (1796-1878). Fur trapper, fur trader, explorer, and military man. He was educated at West Point.
  • Jim Bridger (1804-1881). Fur trapper, fur trader, and army scout.
  • Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809-1868). Fur trapper, fur trader, army scout, and buffalo hunter.
  • John Colter (1774-c1813). Fur trapper, fur trader, army scout, farmer, and explorer,. He was picked for the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Lucien B. Maxwell (1818-1875). Fur trapper, fur trader, and rancher.
  • Jedediah Smith (1799-1831). Fur trapper, fur trader, and explorer. He Joined William Ashley's Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1822.
  • William Sublette (1798-1845). Fur trapper, fur trader, and explorer. He was a partner in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.
  • William Sherley Williams (1787-1849). Fur trapper and fur trader. Known as Old Solitaire or Old Bill.

Trading Posts



  • Fort Assiniboine
  • Beaver Lake Cree Nation
  • Buckingham House
  • Fort Chipewyan
  • Fort Edmonton
  • Fort de l'Isle
  • Jasper House
  • Fort McMurray
  • Rocky Mountain House
  • Fort Vermilion
  • Fort Victoria

British Columbia

  • Alexandria
  • Barkerville
  • Fort Babine
  • Fort Berens
  • Fort Chilcotin
  • Fort Connelly
  • Fort Fraser
  • Fort Halkett
  • Henry's House
  • Fort Kluskus
  • Kootanae House
  • Fort Langley
  • Lower Post
  • Fort McDame
  • Fort McLoughlin
  • Fort Nelson
  • Fort Resolution
  • Fort St. James
  • Fort St. John
  • Fort Simpson
  • Trout Lake Fort
  • Fort Victoria
  • Fort Ware
  • Fort Yale


  • Fort Alexander
  • Fort Bourbon
  • Brandon House
  • Brunswick House First Nation
  • Fort Dauphin
  • Fort Douglas
  • Fort Ellice
  • Fort Garry
  • Lower Fort Garry
  • Fort Gibraltar
  • Fort La Reine
  • Fort Maurepas
  • Fort Paskoya
  • Prince of Wales Fort
  • Fort Rouge
  • York Factory


  • Fort Garry
  • Fort Gibraltar

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Eyelich Trading Post

Northwest Territories

  • Aklavik
  • Baillie Island
  • Fort Collinson
  • Fort Franklin
  • Fort Good Hope
  • Fort Liard
  • Fort MacKay
  • Fort MacLeod
  • Fort McPherson
  • Fort Providence
  • Old Fort Providence
  • Fort Simpson
  • Fort Smith

Nova Scotia

  • Fortress of Louisbourg


  • Amadjuak
  • Baker Lake
  • Bathurst Inlet
  • Port Burwell
  • Gjoa Haven
  • Killiniq
  • Padlei
  • Fort Ross


  • Lake Abitibi
  • Fort Albany
  • Allanwater Bridge railway station
  • Asp House
  • Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation
  • Attawapiskat First Nation
  • Henley House
  • Flying Post
  • Fort Frances
  • Frederick House Post
  • Fort Frontenac
  • Fort Kaministiquia
  • Fort Lac la Pluie
  • Fort Matachewan
  • Moose Factory
  • Fort Saint Pierre
  • Fort Severn First Nation
  • Fort William


  • Fort D. Smith


  • Vieux-Poste
  • Fort-Coulonge
  • Nabisipi Trading Post
  • Fort Témiscamingue
  • Rupert House
  • Whapmagoostui


  • Battleford
  • Beauval
  • Fort Carlton
  • Fort de la Corne
  • Fort Espérance
  • Île-à-la-Crosse
  • Fort Pelly
  • Fort Pitt
  • Fort Qu'Appelle


  • Fort Selkirk
  • Teslin Post

United States


  • Massacre Isle


  • Little Rock
  • Arkansas Post


  • Fort Stikine
  • Fort Yukon


  • Hubbell Trading Post


  • Fort Ross
  • Yerba Buena


  • Bent's Fort on the Santa Fe Trail, near present day La Junta, Colorado
  • Fort Uncompaghre, Alta California Territory
  • Fort Vasquez


  • Fort Huys de Goede Hoop, New Netherland


  • Fort Boise
  • Fort Hall, Oregon Country
  • Kullyspell House


  • Fort Vincennes


  • Fort de Buade
  • Fort Detroit
  • Fort Mackinac
  • Fort Michilimackinac
  • Fort St. Joseph
  • Sault Ste. Marie


  • Grand Portage
  • North West Company Post
  • Fort St. Charles
  • Fort Snelling


  • Fort Carondelet
  • Fort Osage


  • Saleesh House
  • Fort Union, located partially in North Dakota


  • Fort Atkinson
  • Cabanne's Trading Post, Nebraska Territory
  • Fontenelle's Post, Nebraska Territory
  • Fort Lisa, Nebraska Territory

New York

  • Fort Nassau, New Netherland (present-day Albany)
  • New Amsterdam, New Netherland
  • Fort Orange, New Netherland (present-day Albany)

North Dakota

  • Fort Berthold
  • Fort Clark
  • Grand Forks
  • Fort Lisa, Dakota Territory
  • Fort Union, located partially in Montana


  • Fort Astoria
  • Fort Umpqua, Oregon Country
  • Fort William, Oregon Country


  • Fort Duquesne
  • Fort de la Rivière au Bœuf

South Dakota

  • Hazen Mooers' Post
  • Lac Traverse Post
  • Lake Traverse Post
  • Sieche Hollow Post
  • Spencer Fur Post
  • Vermillion Post


  • Fort Buenaventura
  • Fort Robidoux (Alta California Territory)


  • Fort Vancouver (Oregon Territory)
  • Fort Colville
  • Fort Nez Percés
  • Fort Nisqually
  • Fort Okanogan
  • Spokane
  • Spokane House


  • Fort Bonneville
  • Fort Bridger, Nebraska Territory

Source: List of fur trading post and forts in North America