This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 42 or Next - Page 44

them the founders of the Hudson's Bay Company joyfully revealed the value of his explorations and discoveries.

When Groseilliers and Radisson felt they had received a dirty deal from the French Governor who would not issue a fur trading license to them (wi th good reasonĀ» they managed, through Sir George Carteret, to capture an audience among the courtiers of King Charles II. Prince Rupert, the King's cousin, became interested in the fur trading prospects and in 1670 the Hudson's Bay Co. was born - when King Charles II granted "sole trade and commerce" rights within the entrances of Hudson Strait upon "our dear and entirely beloved cousin, Prince Rupert" and his associates. The Charter said they were to be "the true and absolute Lordes and Proprietors" .

It is interesting to wonder if King Charles realized the vastness of the territory of which he was making the Adventurers "Lordes and Proprietors!" It actually took in Ontario, Quebec north of the Laurentian Hills and west of the Labrador boundary, the whole of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the southern half of Alberta, and the south-east corner of the Dominion's North West Territories - as it is mapped out in our geography of today!

Trouble was bound to ensue between the English and the French in a struggle for the fur trade, and many are the stories that have been told of foundering ships and burning forts.

By 1784 the North West Company, a group of nine different fur trading interests was in existence with Simon McTavish as its guiding force. The Forsythe-Richardson Co. (nicknamed the X.Y.Co.) was also cutting in on the trade and rivalry was keener than ever. In 1821 all friction and feuds came to an end when they merged into one company - the Hudson's Bay. At that time the currency consisted mostly of Hudson's Bay blankets which were notes for Ā£ 1, 5s, and 1 s each.

"What has all of that got to do with Portage Ia Prairie history?" you might ask. And the answer might well be, "Because the Assini­ boine River, which was used by explorers, voyageurs, Indians and fur traders, skirts the city, and because it is important to relate with the past to give an appreciation of the progress which has been made to this time. An extract from Articles by P. M. Liba, Graphics 1958, says, "David Thompson, the explorer, passed by Portage in the early part of March, 1798, and again in autumn of the following year. Meadow Portage is the name ascribed to this area by Thomp­ son."