Selkirk Concession

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The Selkirk Concession was a land grant issued by the Hudson's Bay Company to Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, in 1811. The Selkirk Concession, also known as Selkirk's Grant, included the portions of Rupert's Land, or the watershed of Hudson Bay, bounded on the north by the line of 52° N latitude roughly from the Assiniboine River east to Lake Winnipegosis, then by the line of 52° 30′ N latitude from Lake Winnipegosis to Lake Winnipeg, and then by the Winnipeg River, Lake of the Woods and Rainy River; on the west roughly by the current boundary between Saskatchewan and Manitoba; and on the south by the (mostly very slight) rise of land marking the extent of the watershed. This covered portions of present-day southern Manitoba, northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, in addition to small parts of eastern Saskatchewan, northwestern Ontario and northeastern South Dakota.[1][2]

Douglas planned to create an agricultural colony in the area, and to do so he would populate the territory with impoverished people from Scotland and Ireland. Douglas had been profoundly upset by the poverty his people faced and believed that emigration to Western Canada would be their salvation.[3] In return he was to provide the Hudson's Bay Company with 200 employees per year, allow for the company to set up trading posts in the colony and to give land for company employees when they retired. In 1812 the first settlers arrived when Miles MacDonell brought a small group of Scots to the colony. The settlement, commonly known as the Red River Colony but also referred to as the District of Assiniboia, met resistance from fur traders of the North West Company as well as from the local Métis population, culminating in the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. This confrontation involved Cuthbert Grant of the Métis and Governor Robert Semple. This battle claimed the lives of 23 men, including that of Robert Semple. (see Pemmican War)

By the 1830s agricultural production of flour was over 50,000 pounds, with over 1,000 settlers residing at the colony.[4] The promise of free land ensured there was no shortage of settlers arriving at the area. By the 1850s the Hudson's Bay Company lost interest in providing financial aid to the colony, which was followed by a second spate of troubles with the Métis. These troubles resulted in the Red River Rebellion of 1869-70, which eventually led to the creation of the province of Manitoba.


  1. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Morris, Alexander (1880) The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories Including the Negotiations on Which They Were Based, and Other Information Relating Thereto, Chapter I
  3. ^ Friesen, Gerald (1984). The Canadian Prairies: A History. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-8020-2513-7. 
  4. ^ Gibson, James R. Farming the Frontier, The Agricultural Opening of the Oregon Country, 1786-1846. Vancouver, B.C.: University of British Columbia Press. 1985, pp. 10-13.