Rupert's Land

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Rupert's Land, also sometimes called "Prince Rupert's Land", was a territory in British North America, consisting of the Hudson Bay drainage basin, that was nominally owned by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870, although numerous aboriginal groups lived in the same territory and disputed the sovereignty of the area. The area once known as Rupert's Land is now mainly a part of Canada, but a small portion is now in the United States of America. It was named after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a nephew of Charles I and the first Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Areas once belonging to Rupert's Land include all of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, northern parts of Ontario and Quebec, as well as parts of Minnesota and North Dakota and very small parts of Montana and South Dakota.


Fur trade

In 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) was granted a charter by King Charles II, giving it a trading monopoly over the watershed of all rivers and streams flowing into Hudson Bay, thereby making the HBC owners of the whole of Rupert's Land (named in honour of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the king's cousin and the company's first governor). This covered an area of 3.9 million square kilometres (1.5 million sq mi), over one-third the area of Canada today.

The Hudson's Bay Company dominated trade in Rupert's Land during the 18th–19th centuries and drew on the local population for many of its employees. This necessarily meant the hiring of many indigenous and Métis workers. Fuchs (2002) discusses the activities of these workers and the changing attitudes that the company had toward them. George Simpson, one of the most noted company administrators, held a particularly dim view of mixed-blood workers and kept them from attaining positions in the company higher than postmaster. Later administrators, such as James Anderson and Donald Ross, sought avenues for the advancement of indigenous employees.[1]

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