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 46 or Next - Page 48

Quote: - "I have checked all the available sources in the Archives and Library and it would seem that the first fort was constructed at Poplar Point and the second fort, built between 1739 and 1744 was built on the site of present day Portage la Prairie."

The date on the Fort de Ia Reine cairn (near the water tower) reads 1738 which we believed to be correct until research for this book was done! However, it is probably as close to the correct date as it would be with any date, chosen without means of verification, between the years 1739 and 1744.

The Hudson's Bay, who are noted for keeping accurate records state in HA Brief History of the Hudson's Bay Company, Quote ­ "The fur trade wealth west of the Great Lakes was not to be left to the Adventurers who traded only from comfortable forts on Hudson Bay. In June 1731, a party of fifty Frenchmen under Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, started westward from MontreaL The merchants of Montreal had supplied them with goods for trading with the Indians."

In the party were La Verendrye's sons, Pierre and Francois, and a nephew, La J emera yeo

This group are known to have built at least eight trading posts, each in the heart of hunting grounds that eliminated the long, hazardous trips to the Bay posts by the Indians.

The lure of rich fur forests was not La Verendry's only reason for invading the west however. He had an ambition to discover an overland route to the Pacific Ocean. He only knew of such a place because of tales told by Indians. They described it as a world of wa ter that was too salty to drink! He was given no financial assis­ tance from France even though the country would benefit and be glorified by the discovery. Their one contribution was to grant him a monopoly to trade in any land he might discover, and permission to trade wherever any other Frenchman traded.

After establishing Fort de 1a Reine at Portage la Prairie he decided to travel westward but hadn't gone very far when he became ill and decided to return to it.

La Verendrye's two sons went exploring on their own then.

Francois is credited with having built Fort Dauphin. Both boys are credited with building Fort Bourbon on the Saskatchewan River, and Fort Pascoyak on the same river farther west. They continued moving westward until they reached the foot of the Rockies in 1743, and not knowing how close they were to the Pacific Ocean they turned

27