Hudson's Bay Company

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The Hudson's Bay Company (French: Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson), abbreviated HBC, is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. The company was incorporated by British royal charter in 1670 as The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay. Now domiciled in Canada and headquartered in the Simpson Tower in Toronto,[1] it has legally adopted the more common shorter name.[2]

It was once the de facto government in parts of North America before European based colonies and states were established. It was at one time the largest landowner in the world, with Rupert's Land having 15% of North American acreage. From its long time headquarters at York Factory on Hudson Bay, the company controlled the fur trade throughout much of British controlled North America for several centuries. Undertaking early exploration, its traders and trappers forged early relationships with many groups of First Nations/Native Americans. Its network of trading posts formed the nucleus for later official authority in many areas of Western Canada and the United States.

In the late 19th century, its vast territory became the largest component in the newly formed Dominion of Canada, in which the company was the largest private landowner. With the decline of the fur trade, the company evolved into a mercantile business selling vital goods to settlers in the Canadian West. Today the company is best known for its department stores throughout Canada. The Hudson's Bay Company Archives are located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The company is owned by Hudson's Bay Trading Company, the portfolio company of the United States private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners, which also owns Lord & Taylor, a high-end department store chain in the U.S.


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