Anglo-French conflicts on Hudson Bay

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Anglo-French conflicts on Hudson Bay: When the English built trading posts on Hudson Bay the French tried to drive them out. This lasted from 1672 until 1713 when British sovereignty over the Bay was recognized by the Treaty of Utrecht. In 1782 Fort Churchill was captured by the French.

Since the posts were held by at most a few dozen traders and laborers they could easily be captured by a small group of soldiers, but it was difficult to send soldiers to the Bay and impractical to keep them there over winter. The short ice-free season made it difficult to take all the posts in one year. Thus the posts changed hands more or less at random whenever one side or the other sent a force into the Bay. Only in 1697 did significant British and French forces meet on the bay. Before 1689 the two kingdoms were at peace and the use of force was questionable.

  • 1658-68: Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers learn that the best furs come from north of Lake Superior. When their plans are rejected at Quebec they turn to the English.
  • 1668/69: Proto-HBC trades for one winter at Rupert House. See Médard des Groseilliers.
  • 1670: Hudson's Bay Company founded.
  • 1670-79: English trading posts built on James Bay. These were: Rupert House (1668, southeast), Moose Factory (1673, south) and Fort Albany (west). See Canadian canoe routes (early)#Hudson Bay.
  • 1672: Father Charles Albanel travels from Quebec to Rupert House, but finds it deserted.
  • 1674: Albanel again reaches Rupert House. He and Groseillers are sent to England. Father Albanel and French money induce Groseillers to return to the French service.
  • 1679: Radisson in Paris. He and Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye soon form the Compaignie du Nord.
  • 1682: One French and two English groups reach the mouth of the Hayes River. The French capture the English. See Médard des Groseilliers
  • 1686: A large French force from Montreal captures the three HBC posts on James Bay. The HBC now has only York Factory. See Hudson Bay expedition (1686).
  • 1688: Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in the Soleil d'Afrique returns to James Bay to pick up the remaining furs. He defeats two English ships and returns to France.
  • 1688: England's Glorious Revolution leads to renewed war with France (King William's War 1689-1697).
  • After the peace there seems to have been little action.
  • 1709: During Queen Anne's War 100 French try to capture Fort Albany but are driven off. This seems to be the only case of a fort being successfully defended.
  • 1713: Treaty of Utrecht: British sovereignty over Hudson Bay recognized by France. France had won most of the battles but lost the peace. The fate of Hudson Bay was decided not on the Bay but on the battlefields of Europe.
  • After 1713 military competition was replaced by economic as the French, and later other British traders, tried to divert trade from the HBC to Montreal. This lasted until 1821 when the HBC absorbed the Montreal traders. In the interior there were scattered fights involving the traders and their Indian allies, but these have left few records.
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris: France cedes all of Canada to Britain.
  • 1782: La Perouse raids Prince of Wales Fort and York Factory (Hudson Bay expedition).

References[edit]

  • Arthur S. Morton, 'A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71', no date, but circa 1940
  • Peter C. Newman, 'Empire of the Bay', 1998