Hudson's Bay Company Archives [textual records (predominantly microform]

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    Documents textuels
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    Contexte de cette notice :
    • Hudson's Bay Company Archives
      Hudson's Bay Company Archives
  • Fonds comprend :
    8 description(s) de niveau inférieur
    Voir description(s) de niveau inférieur
    Date(s) :
    Lieu de création :
    Lieux divers
    Étendue :
    2731 microfilm reels of textual documents.
    1,95 m of textual documents; transcripts and photocopies.
    Langue du document :
    Portée et contenu :
    The fonds of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives is composed of microfilm copies of the manuscript records of the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as some transcripts and extracts of selected portions of these records. The records in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives are organized according to the classification system established by the Company itself which utilizes seven basic sections: A-Headquarters Records, B-Post Records, C-Ships' Logs, Books, and Papers, D-Governors' Papers and Commissioners' Offices Records, E-Private Manuscripts, F-Records of Allied and Subsidiary Companies, G-Maps, Plans, Charts, etc., and H-Western Department Land Records. Those sections are described in Library and Archives Canada system as sous-fonds. It should be noted that the Section G was not microfilmed. The series within the sous-fonds/sections correspond exactly to the Hudson's Bay Company system.
    Provenance :
    Biographie/Histoire administrative :
    Husdon's Bay Company: The Hudson's Bay Company was incorporated in 1670 under a charter which provided a monopoly to trade extending over the territory drained by the rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. However, the history of the Company is typified more by the development of techniques to combat fierce competition from a number of rivals, both within and without the fur trade, rather than by the sheltered development of monopolied capitalist enterprise. Throughout its long history, the Company successfully contended with French military and economic competition, challenges to its chartered rights from various interests in England, and bitter rivalry from the North West Company. The charter was surrendered only as portions of its territories began to develop from fur trade outposts to organized settlements and colonies. The essential strength of the Company derived largely from its administrative structure which preserved integrity of purpose in its enterprises and exploited the advantages of the Hudson Bay route. Under the original Charter of 1670, control of the organization was vested in a governor, deputy governor, and a committee of seven members; all were required to be shareholders. The decisions of these directors were subject to approval by the shareholders at the annual General Court. Establishments on Hudson Bay were subject to the supervision of the resident Governors reporting to the Governor and Committee in London. The Charter notwithstanding, a dominant theme in the Company's early history is the struggle with the fur trading empire of New France. Strong competition from French traders disrupted the Company's trade from 1686 until the peace of Utrecht in 1713. The restoration of York and Moose Factories together with the development of Churchill and Eastmain initiated a long period of steady if unspectacular growth. Throughout the eighteenth century, the Company pursued a policy of gradual expansion while confining its activities primarily to the shores of Hudson Bay. This policy produced continuous dividends but provoked severe criticism from Arthur Dobbs, an Irish M.P., who maintained that the Company had refused to explore the full extent of its territories and had therefore violated its Charter. Although the Parliamentary Inquiry convened to investigate the charges in 1749 vindicated the Company's conduct, it could not disguise the potential vulnerability of the Company's position on the shores of Hudson Bay. After the conquest of North America by the British in 1759, the old challenge of the French fur traders was renewed by a new group of independent traders operating from Montreal. The Company responded to this challenge by establishing Cumberland House, 450 miles inland from York Factory in 1774. On moving inland, the Company found surprising numbers of independent traders throughout large tracts of the North West. The two major rivals, the XY and North West companies merged in 1804 under the name North West Company and began spirited and often violent competition for the furs of the far west. The Hudson's Bay Company retaliated by establishing inland forts from Lake Superior to Lake Athabasca. However, the expansion placed a serious strain on the Company's financial resources and brought about a corresponding decline in dividends. The North West Company also found itself in serious difficulty because of the struggle, and in 1819 negotiations began for a merger of the two companies. Union of the two companies in 1821 led to a reformation of the Hudson's Bay Company's organization in North America. Under the terms of the merger, the governor, deputy governor, and committee hierarchy remained intact except for the addition of an advisory board composed of two men from each company who reported to the governor and committee. This advisory board was short lived and lapsed in 1824. In North America, the Company was organized into specific territories or departments. The Northern Department, with its main depot at York Factory, included the territory from Rainy Lake on the western end of Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean. It also included the posts in the old Oregon Territories. The Southern Department, with its headquarters at Moose Factory, controlled the trade of certain posts in what is now Ontario and Quebec. Later the Montreal Department was established to supervise the trade on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, the Labrador, and some Districts previously controlled by the Southern Department. Under the agreement of 1821, the Northern and Southern Departments were each controlled by a governor. However, by 1826, all departments were placed under the administration of George Simpson as Governor of Rupert's Land. Within each department, councils of commissioned officers from the various districts met annually to advise the governors on the conduct of the trade. The merger of 1821 extended the Company's undisputed control over a territory stretching from Labrador to British Columbia. Though a chain of forts encompassed much of this area, it remained largely unsettled country. With the exception of Lord Selkirk's Red River colony and the settlement of Fort Victoria, the Company had yet to encounter the problems of administering a settled area. However, by mid-century, the expanding population of Upper Canada was agitating for access to the unsettled territories of Rupert's Land. A Select Committee of the British House of Commons inquired into the Company's license for exclusive trade in 1857, and recommended that Vancouver Island be given the status of a Crown Colony, and that the Company's license should extend only over areas unsuitable for settlement. The Committee further suggested that areas such as Red River be ceded to Canada when suitable arrangements could be made. The Company itself was divided on the issue but began a series of negotiations with the Province of Canada and the British Government. The issue remained unsettled until the British Government devised the terms of the agreement which eventually comprised the Deed of Surrender of 1869, given Royal assent in 1870.
    Instrument de recherche :
    (Papier) All finding aids for the Hudson's Bay Company records in MG 20 which are not included with the records themselves will be found under the designation Finding Aid No. 65, wherein they are coded by the manuscript group number to which they refer. For example, the finding aid to Officers' and Servants' Wills in MG 20, A 65 will be found under Finding Aid No. 65-MG 20, A 65. The microfilm shelf list for the entire collection will be found under Finding Aid No. 65-Microfilm Shelf List. MSS0065 (90 90: Ouvert)

    Information additionnelle :
    Historique de la conservation :
    The Archives of the Hudson's Bay Company were transferred from London, England, to Winnipeg, Canada, during the Fall of 1974, and were deposited in the Provincial Archives of Manitoba. The microfilming of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives for the period 1670-1870 was completed in 1966 and positive copies of the microfilm have been deposited in the National Archives of Canada and the Public Record Office in England. The microfilming of the Archives for the period 1872-1904 was started in May 1980 and copies are being sent to the two repositories. The transcript records of the Hudson's Bay Company were copied between 1905 and 1921 at the Company Archives, London, England, and consist of 21 volumes of minute books, memorial books, minutes of council, and journals. The extracts and selections included in the Supplementary series were presented in 1925 and 1936 by the Hudson's Bay Company.
    Note sur l'emplacement des originaux :
    Originals with the Hudson's Bay Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    Groupes de documents reliés :
    In addition to the Hudson's Bay Company records, the National Archives holds other material for the study of the fur trade. RG 88, Surveys and Mapping Branch, includes several references to plans of Hudson's Bay Company properties. The records of New France referred to in MGs 1 to 9 comprise a rich source for the study of the French fur trade. MG 11, Colonial Office, includes correspondence (C.O. 134) and entry books (C.O. 135) relating to the Hudson's Bay Company for the period 1670-1789. A calendar for C.O. 134 has been published in the Report on Canadian Archives of 1883 and Report on Canadian Archives of 1895. MG 18, Pre-Conquest Papers, provides a large number of references to the Company and its personnel. MG 19, Fur Trade and Indians, includes papers of prominent individuals connected with the Company, such as Lord Selkirk, as well as a wide variety of source material on other prominent figures and companies engaged in the fur trade. MG 21, British Museum, refers frequently to the fur trade in general and the Hudson's Bay Company in particular. MGs 23 and 24, Late Eighteenth Century and Nineteenth Century Pre-Confederation Papers, are also fruitful sources for the study of later phases of the Company's history. MG 29, Post-Confederation Manuscripts, describes much material relating to the fur trade after 1867 and includes the papers of Sir Donald Smith, first Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. A significant collection of maps and blueprints, including a series of the Arrowsmith maps of the North American continent, and the maps accompanying Ernest Voorhis' Historic Forts and Trading Posts of the French regime and of the English Fur Trading Companies, are located in the Cartographic and Architectural Archives Division of the National Archives. In addition, the National Archives Library holds an extensive collection of published works relating to the Hudson's Bay Company, including one of the six annotated copies of E.E. Rich's History of the Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1870. Used in their entirety, these sources provide a rich context for the study of what is the most important single collection concerning the history of the fur trade.
    Source :
    Ancien no de référence archivistique :
  • Conditions d'accès :
    Modalités d'utilisation :
    Library and Archives Canada owns only one copy of the microfilms associated with this fonds. These microfilm reels are available at the reference room in Ottawa. Researchers who want to borrow a reel by the inter-institutional loan service must address their request to the Hudson's Bay Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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