A history of the North American fur trade, based on primary sources. The North American fur trade, set in motion by the discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century, was this continent's biggest business for over three hundred years. Furs harvested by Ojibwa natives in the north woods ended up on the sleeves and hems of French princesses and Chinese emperors. Felt hats on the heads of every European businessman began as beaver pelts carried in birchbark canoes to trading posts dotting the wilderness. Iron tools, woolen blankets, and calico cloth manufactured in England found their way to wigwams along the remote rivers of North America. The fur trade influenced every aspect of life—from how Europeans related to the Indians, how and where settlements were built, to how our nation formed. Drawing on primary sources, including the diaries of Ojibwa, American, and French traders of the period, this Society of School Librarians International Honor Book gives readers a glimpse of a little-known story from our past.
About the Author
Cris Peterson is the author of eight award-winning books for children, including Century Farm: One Hundred Years on a Family Farm and Horsepower: The Wonder of Draft Horses. After earning a degree in history and education from the University of Minnesota, she moved to a dairy farm in Wisconsin, where she and her husband raised three children and continue to farm today. The idea for Birchbark Brigade formed from her love of the north woods and the obscure stories buried in its remote wilderness past.
"The author's enthusiasm for her subject will communicate itself to readers, even those who never dreamed they'd be interested, making this the best kind of discovery. (time line, notes, bibliography, suggested reading, places to visit, index)" --Kirkus Reviews
"A well-researched account. . . . This will fill a gap in many history collections." --Booklist