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Three ships of the Hudson's Bay Company off Greenwich.

Three ships of the Hudson's Bay Company off Greenwich.
Three ships of the Hudson's Bay Company off Greenwich.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: PZ6954
Description: Beaver fur was greatly prized by European hatmakers. They pressed the thick underhair of beaver into a velvety, waterproof felt that lasted a lifetime. In 17th-century London, beaver was so valuable the floors of hatter shops were often scoured for lost hairs. Beavers were trapped to extinction in England by the 16th century. However, the animals were still common in eastern Canada. After its formation in 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company set up trading posts where its agents traded with the native peoples. They exchanged knives, axes, guns and blankets with Indian trappers for hundreds of thousands of beaver pelts a year. For 150 years they kept up their trade, pushing further and further west. The furs that the agents obtained were then shipped back to London every summer when Hudson Bay was clear of ice.
Creator: John Hood
Date: 1769
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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