Trading Beyond the Mountains
440 pages, 6 x 9
44 colour illustrations, 9 tables
Release Date:01 Jun 1997
$34.95 Back Order
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Release Date:01 Jun 1997

Trading Beyond the Mountains

The British Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843

UBC Press

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the North West and Hudson’s Bay companies extended their operations beyond the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. There they encountered a mild and forgiving climate and abundant natural resources and, with the aid of Native traders, branched out into farming, fishing, logging, and mining. Following its merger with the North West Company in 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company set up its headquarters at Fort Vancouver on the lower Columbia River. From there, the company dominated much of the non-Native economy, sending out goods to markets in Hawaii, Sitka, and San Francisco.

Trading Beyond the Mountains looks at the years of exploration between 1793 and 1843 leading to the commercial development of the Pacific coast and the Cordilleran interior of western North America. Mackie examines the first stages of economic diversification in this fur trade region and its transformation into a dynamic and distinctive regional economy. He also documents the Hudson’s Bay Company’s employment of Native slaves and labourers in the North West coast region.


  • 1997, Winner - Medal for Historical Writing, Lieutenant Governer
A thoroughly researched and comprehensive history of five decades of the fur trade ... clearly written and well documented ... an excellent resource for students ... and those interested in the fur trade. The Record
This [is] exceptionally well documented history. P. T. Sherrill, Choice
Using complex data from Company records, and extensive unpublished correspondence, as well as reports, contemporary accounts, and unpublished memoirs, Mackie takes us on an in-depth historical tour of the Columbia Department’s multifaceted Pacific Coast operations. We are introduced to the fur trade, the overland transportation and trade system, the coastal carrying trade, and a wide variety of economic activities literally ‘beyond the fur trade’ that gave the Hudson’s Bay Company economic diversification in an age of staple dependencies ... No study to date has provided such depth.
Richard Mackie is a freelance historian and lecturer who lives in Courtenay, British Columbia. He is the author of The Wilderness Profound: Victorian Life on the Gulf of Georgia (1995).

Figures, Maps, and Tables



1 The North West Passage by Land

2 Managing a New Region

3 George Simpson and a New Pacific Commerce

4 Nature Here Demands Attention

5 From Fort Vancouver to the Vermilion Sea

6 The North West Coast

7 New Markets for New Exports

8 Columbia Country Produce

9 Beyond the Mere Traffic in Peltries

10 Crisis in the Fur Trade

11 Simpson's Reorganization

12 The Native Foundation of Trade and Labour





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