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
Richard Mackie’s Trading Beyond the Mountains is a milestone study of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Dick Wilson, Letters in Canada
Mackie covers his selected topic in an engaging, highly readable, and beautifully illustrated book … This is a welcome addition to the literature of commercial policy and history of the Pacific west coast. Carl Beal, Native Studies Review
This solid, narrative-based historical geography should become the standard bearer on the origins and evolution of the eighteenth- and nineteenth century British fur trade in the Pacific Northwest. Keith Edgerton, Oregon Historical Quarterly
Fluently written, abundantly documented, and supplemented with numerous informative and beautifully crafted maps, Mackie’s portrayal of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s dynamic and multifaceted Pacific economy leaves a strong impression… Pekka Hämäläinen, Pacific Historical Review excellent and readable book [that] belongs in the library of every historian and historical geographer with interest in western North America. John L. Allen, Journal of Historical Geography
The book [Trading Beyond the Mountains] is a magisterial history of commerce … The interpretation is illuminating, and accordingly, every student of the northeast Pacific’s history should read this book. David Nicandri, Alaska History
Richard Mackie has made an important contribution, and this work is an essential acquisition for the libraries of scholars with an interest in the maritime fur trade, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the region. James Delgado, The American Neptune
Trading Beyond the Mountains breaks new ground in documenting the scale and diversity of commercial operations by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Booknews
This book will prove extremely useful for anyone seeking information on the HBC’s business in the western part of its territory. Edith Burley, The Canadian Historical Review
This book is an important contribution to western historiography, and it will have a long shelf life as a reference work. Barry Gough, Albion
This book is an original account, splendidly researched, of a neglected period in west coast economic history. Harry Duckworth, The Beaver
An exemplary study – thoroughly researched, clearly written, and voluminous… Joel Martineau, Canadian Journal of Native Studies
A fascinating look at the history of economic development in the Pacific Northwest. Books on Canada
This well-timed narrative provides the first clear account not only of the economic origins of British Columbia but also of the maritime adventures of what had become the largest private landowner in the world Douglas Farnie, English Historical Review
Trading Beyond the Mountains is 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.   Comox Valley Record
Trading Beyond the Mountains provides a long overdue examination of the activities of the NWC and HBC as they expanded into territories lying west of the Rocky Mountains. Linda Hogarth, Musings
The author weaves a detailed account of the scale and scope of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s diverse commercial operations in the region and the expansion of their activities along the Pacific coast of North America. Joseph Leydon, Canadian Book Review Annual
This is not simply a history of the fur trade. Mackie presents a picture of the HBC as a dynamic, flexible commercial enterprise, devising strategies to defeat American competitors and expand trade into new commodities and new areas … The book is a valuable addition to scholarship. Barbara Messamore, British Journal of Canadian Studies
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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