Make your own free website on

Fur Trade - The exciting story of the fur trade is a preface to the history of the development and civilization of the country west of the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Northwest.

The fur traders, or "mountain men," were a race apart.  They were venturesome and fearless, and many operated alone, penetrating sections of Indian country no white man had ever seen before.  Some married indian women, lived with Indian tribes, and later became traders and established settlements.

The great fur companies, such as Hudson's Bay Company, the Northwest Company, the american Fur Company, and the Missouri Fur Company, served to open up much of the West and Northwest.  Their forts later became towns and cities, the portages where their canoes were claimed overland between bodies of water became canals, and the paths they cut through the wilderness became highways.

Fur Traders or Mountain Men

Furs in the old days were used as money for barter and exchange.  In the north, "one skin" that of the full grown land otter or beaver - was the basic unit of trade.  (Today the white man's slang for a dollar bill is a "skin.")  Indians in the fur country counted their wealth in skins, just as those of the plains counted theirs in ponies.

The fur trade established in history such picturesque characters as John jacob Astor, Kit Carson, Joe Meek, William and Milton Sublette, Jedediah Smith, David Jackson, and Jim Bridger.

Related Information within this Site
[ Beaver ][ Carson ][ Chinook ][ Fur Country ]
[ Otter ][ Trading Posts ][ Trails ]