Talk:Maritime fur trade

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Good article Maritime fur trade has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Quibbles[edit]

  • It lasted until the middle to late 19th century. Russians controlled the Alaskan coast during the entire era.

Well, the exception is 1839-1867, when the British controlled the trade in the southeast Alaska Panhandle (south of 56'30"); the wording should also be "what is now the Alaskan coast" as before 1867 "Alaska" as a term meant the "Alaska mainland", i.e. west of 141st longitude..

Ya, that could be worded better. I was trying to say something about the difference between the "northern sector" vs. the "southern sector", divided approximately at Sitka--just used the word "Alaska" as shorthand--perhaps could be better put. Pfly (talk) 15:45, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Somewhere else I can't find just now the article says that the triangular trade had no great impact on other economies; that must be an opinion from one of your sources because I've read materials - have to think who later - that say that the sea otter trade launched the porcelain trade and inherently was a foundation of the China Trade, both the UK and the US; thereby, please note, laying the seeds of the trade imbalance that led to the Opium Wars; traders had to accept porcelain instead of silver in Canton by Chinese law; then the shipping of porcelain via/into British Indian instigated the reverse trade in tea/opium which brought about so much grief later; others have observed that the marine fur trade laid the foundations for the long-standing trade connections between China and BC; at least as far as familiarity with the routes used; likewise the old and still-established bond between Hawaii and BC. I'll see if I can remember which authors said things like that; the Akriggs possibly, Bancroft also possibly.Skookum1 (talk) 15:08, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Yea, the source for that part is the Gibson book. His point was that the effect on Chinese society (not just economy) as a whole was not huge, and that the fur trade was relatively small compared to the china trade in general. As far as I know the general China trade predated the fur trade in Canton. At least the East India Company was already operating there, and the first America traders in China were not fur traders. Gibson's got a few tables about trade volumes and such on the topic. He sums up the whole topic by saying something like, the China Trade ended up with the Opium Wars and the forcing open of China, etc, but that the maritime fur trade was a relatively minor aspect of the China Trade. It's a topic I know little about though, so perhaps there are other better sources. Anyway, off to Portland for a couple days. Pfly (talk) 15:45, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Just to note: I fixed the date error for Fort Taku in the first map. Pfly (talk) 07:17, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Maritime Fur Trade/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Xtzou (Talk) 21:59, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

(beginning review)

I linked to Specie (disambiguation) specifically because none of the links on that page seemed quite right. Looking for other options, perhaps Precious metal#Bullion would be better, as it includes metal ingots as well as coinage. Would there be a need to source the meaning and relevance to this historic era? Perhaps not the best source, but this page says: Initially, China showed an interest in purchasing three items from American merchants: Spanish bullion, ginseng from the Appalachian Mountains, and furs, particularly sea otter pelts. Bullion, also known as specie, was usually in the form of Spanish silver mostly mined in Latin America, and Silver, used as a commodity and not a currency, was not charged an import fee and also made it more desirable for Americans to use for exchanging goods. Or it could just say something like "bullion (also known as specie)" for the first use. Or perhaps we can assume readers know what "specie" means and not wikilink it at all? Hmm, well for now I'll just go with linking to bullion, "also known as specie"--the term specie seems more commonly used, from what I've read on the topic.
As for Cassia, as I understand it the term was used loosely at the time for various species. Perhaps it would be best to link to Cinnamomum while explaining it was called cassia at the time? I'll try it.
Made these changes. Pfly (talk) 20:58, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • "Native Hawaiian society was similarly effected by the sudden influx of Western wealth and technology" - "effected" should be "affected"
done.
  • "extirpated" - it would be better if you used different wording
Because people might not know what it means? I'm not sure what other word would convey the same meaning. Perhaps a link to Local extinction, piped to extirpation? The main point being that species like the sea otter did not go extinct totally, just regionally. I assumed the word was generally understood as such. But I'll go ahead and put in the local extinction link.
No. Because it is not a word commonly used in this situation. To me it has the connotation of intentionally destroying. Was the intention of the hunters etc. to exterminate the otter populations? Xtzou (Talk) 12:44, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Origins
  • "New Spain was being extended northward into Alta California and Spanish explorers were charting the coast north." - just seems clumsy
I've rewritten it, in the process expanding from one sentence to most of a paragraph. Pfly (talk) 05:53, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I think this section needs more references
  • "with thousands of islands, numerous straits and fjords, and a mountainous, rocky, often very steep shoreline. Navigational hazardous included persistent rain, high winds, thick fogs, strong currents and tides, and hidden rocks. Wind patterns were often contrary, variable, and baffling, especially within the coastal straits and archipelagoes, making sailing dangerous and frustrating. Early explorations before the maritime fur trade era—by Juan Pérez, Bruno de Heceta, Bogeda y Quadra, and James Cook—produced only rough surveys of the coast's general features. Detailed surveys were undertaken in only a few relatively small areas, such as Nootka Sound and Bucareli Bay. Russian exploration before 1785 had produced mainly rough surveys, largely restricted to the Aleutian Islands and mainland Alaska west of Cape Saint Elias. British and American maritime fur traders began visiting the Northwest Coast in 1785, at which time it was mostly unexplored. Although non-commercial exploration voyages continued, especially by the Spanish Navy, the maritime fur traders made a number of significant discoveries. Notable examples include the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Clayoquot Sound, and Barkley Sound, all found by Charles William Barkley, Queen Charlotte Strait by James Strange, Fitz Hugh Sound by James Hanna, Grays Harbor and the Columbia River by Robert Gray. George Dixon explored the Dixon Entrance and was the first to realize that the Queen Charlotte Islands were not part of the mainland." This whole section is unreferenced. It is written in a "literary" style so it needs references.
I'll work on improving the wording (yes, that first one is clumsy), and inserting references. Some of this text I had originally intended to put in the lead, so left references out. Much of the exploration stuff is mentioned again, with references, but other statements are not referenced, yes. Should be able to get to this over the next few days.
Added cites for most of these claims (all to one book, and some covering many pages since the statements are essentially summaries of fairly long bits of history). The bit about the coast being hazardous came from a book I need to get from the library again, so will take a few days. Pfly (talk) 21:32, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, added reference for the coast's hazardous nature. It was the same as the ref for the Simpson quote (labyrinth of waters). Apparently I put it after the quotation, knowing it was needed there, and forgot to add it again after the rest of the coast info. Anyway, this section should be well sourced now, I think.
Russian American
  • " From 1843 to the founding of the Russian-American Company in 1799 over one hundred private fur trading and hunting voyages to North America, which in total garnered over eight million silver rubles" - This appears to be in the wrong order.
Oops, yes, should be 1743, not 1843. Fixing now. Thanks for reviewing. Pfly (talk) 08:03, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

(will continue) Xtzou (Talk) 21:59, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

(continuing)

British
  • "not far short of mutiny" - what is the reference for this quote?
It's the source cited after the following sentence. I added another note just after the quotation to make it clear. Pfly (talk) 20:58, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Boom years
  • "The trade's boom years ended around 1810, after which there was a long decline marked by increasing diversification." - I'm not clear what "diversification" means here.
I added the word "economic"--increasing economic diversification. Meaning the traders looked for and tapped new sources of raw materials and new markets, in addition to furs. I'm not sure how to make it clearer and am not good at economic terms and theory. I think the term "economic diversity" is fairly common, but can't say for sure. I tried to find a Wikipedia page on the topic, but only found a few related-but-not-quite-right pages. I could explain it, like above ("traders looked for and tapped new sources of raw materials and new markets"), but thought perhaps it would be enough to just say "economic diversification". Either way.. Pfly (talk) 06:10, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • "The Russian entry to the Northwest Coast, beyond Prince William Sound, was slow because of a shortage of ships and sailors. Yakutat Bay was reached in 1794 and the settlement of Slavorossiya, originally intended to be the colonial capital, was built there in 1795." I'm unclear why this paragraph about the Russians, starting with this sentence, is here. Are you covering just the Boom years for the Americans, British, and Russians in this section? The Boom years were 1790 to 1810?
I intended the Boom Years section to cover all nationalities, like the Origins section, but didn't make subsections. It would probably be clearer with subsections for each major participant (Russian, American, British). But your point about not reusing names for sections (Russian America is used twice already) makes me unsure how best to do this. Currently the "Origins" section has subsections "Russian America", "British", and "Americans". It would seem logical to use the same names for subsections in the "Boom years" section--but since that can't be done..any thoughts? Is there a guideline somewhere about how to repeat subsection topics without repeating subsection names? Thanks. Perhaps I'll ask this question at the appropriate Help Desk. Pfly (talk) 19:54, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
I've made some structural changes, sections, subsections, etc, which among other things should have fixed this issue. Pfly (talk) 09:59, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
  • The Russian-American Company (RAC) was incorporated in 1799, a year after Catherine's ukase of 1788, right? Just trying to keep the time line straight. (This is a very interesting article.)
Actually that's eleven years there. Catherine's ukase wasn't all that important in the grand scheme of things, but 1788 is a useful date for splitting the history up--being about when the British and Americans joined in. Pfly (talk) 19:54, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Diversification and transformation
  • Always wondered how the Russian River got its name!
  • "The Anglo-Russian treaty further clearly delineated the boundaries of Russian America, defining the coastal Alaska Panhandle and a line running north along 141° west longitude to the Arctic Ocean." - something is missing in this sentence
It was poorly written. I rewrote and slightly expanded it. Pfly (talk) 06:21, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Hudson's Bay Company
It's the first mention. The topic seemed tangential at best, so I didn't go into it. But I could add a few sentences explaining what happened and why the HBC wasn't involved in the North West before the merger. Maybe something about the NWC's failed hopes of establishing a China trade. Pfly (talk) 19:54, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Added quite a bit about the NWC, its efforts in the Pacific Northwest, merger into the HBC, etc. Also expanded a bit on the HBC's early efforts with the coast trade, managing to incorporate one of the remaining "See also" links into the main text (Cadboro (schooner)). Pfly (talk) 08:04, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
The new North West trade
  • I became lost when I reached this section. I think I need a refresher at the beginning as to who the major players are and what the time period being discussed is.
Yea, it gets messy here. I'm thinking how best to fix. I might make the "New North West Trade" into a subsection under the "Diversification and transformation" section. A bit a structural change might make everything clearer. Pfly (talk) 19:54, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Structural changes to section and subsection names and hierarchy done. I moved the New North West Trade section into a subsection called "American methods and strategies" under the "Diversification and transformation" section. I think this makes better sense and hopefully will help readers keep track of the major players and so on. Pfly (talk) 09:59, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Significance
  • "Fur bearing animals had been devastated, especially sea otters, which by 1850 were virtually extinct throughout the North West Coast and found only in the Aleutian Islands and California." Is there a switch to the present in this sentence?
It was a bit awkward. I split it into two sentences and rewrote slightly. Pfly (talk) 06:24, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • The section heading "Russian America" is used twice, which is against the MOS heading rules.
Changed one of the Russian American subsection names. Will do further structural stuff soon. Pfly (talk) 20:58, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
See also
  • It would be better to integrate as many of the wikilinks there into the text of the article. That shows that they really are related to it.
Heh..I was worried the article was approaching the "too long" point as it was, and doing this would make it longer. But I could certainly do so! Some of the links are not really important, like Kyakhta Russian-Chinese Pidgin. Perhaps some of these should just be taken out. Pfly (talk) 19:54, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Most of the "see also" links have been either deleted or incorporated into the main text by this point. A few remain, but it seems much better now. The remaining links are mostly broad in topic and seem appropriate as "see also" links. Pfly (talk) 09:59, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

This is an extremely interesting article, filled with great information. I really enjoyed it. Xtzou (Talk) 19:24, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Reply on headings and organization
I have done some thinking also, and the solution is not readily apparent to me. The MoS actually says "try" not to reuse headings and gives the disadvantages, see Article titles, headings, and sections. You could ask somewhere, as I have gotten good advice by asking at a help desk. Xtzou (Talk) 20:03, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Additional comments
  • How did this happen (from Lead) "For New England, the maritime fur trade and the significant profits it made helped revitalize the region, contributing to the transformation of New England from an agrarian to an industrial society, especially textile manufacturing." What would furs have to do with textiles?

Xtzou (Talk) 21:27, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I expanded it slightly to clarify: the money made by New Englanders through the maritime fur trade was invested in New England's industrial development, especially textile mills. Btw, thanks for all your edits, much appreciated! Pfly (talk) 06:27, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
  • "extirpated" - to pull out by the roots
My reservations about "extirpated" is that it implies intention. A gardener extirpates weeds. Was the wild life destroyed intentionally? That is, it was the goal of the traders to extirpate the otters? Xtzou (Talk) 13:44, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Further comments

The article looks great. Just a few additional comments.

  • Reservations about "extirpated" (above) are not deal-killing.
You're right--the standard dictionary definition relates the word to extermination and sounds like intentionality would be part of it. I've seen the term used a lot in ecology and history sources without implied intentionality. Or at least without the goal of local extinction--the sea otter hunters (and beaver and others) knew their actions were causing local extinction but their goal was making money, not causing extinction. That said, you convinced me! I hadn't thought about it much until now. After reading dictionary definitions it looks like the ecology type usage is somewhat...specialized to the field. I've never come across the word outside of the ecological/historical sense. It's a ten dollar word anyway--probably not familiar to many people. So, it's gone now. Pfly (talk) 18:27, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
  • A few more references in the "Origins" section and all will be well.
Will get to this shortly. Pfly (talk) 18:27, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm wondering in the "Diversification and transformation" section if the heading "Russians" could be something like "Russian territories" or "Russian treaties" as you have come up with good qualifiers in "American methods and strategies".
Yea, I'm not satisfied with several of the headers and have been trying to think of better titles. It's hard! That subsection called "Russians" currently has just two paragraphs with info on Fort Ross and the ukase and treaties of 1821, 24, 25. But other info could be added. I would like to someday add another paragraph or two about Russian-American activity in this later era. So a broader name seems useful, but harder to think up. Maybe "Russian territories" could do for now. Hmm.. Pfly (talk) 18:27, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, just made some section name changes. I think they are sensible. Under "Boom years" changed "Russian-American Company" to "Russian America" (the text contains pre-RAC info and works into the founding of the RAC and a brief overview). Under "Diversification and transformation" changed "Russians" to "Russian-American Company" (the text is about the RAC specifically, post-founding; there's more info about the RAC I'd like to add someday, makes sense here). Under "Significance" changed "Russian America" to "Alaska" (not quite as happy with this change, but wanted to use "Russian America" earlier on page, and since Russian America's fate was to become Alaska, more or less, the name seemed reasonable). Anyway, still pondering the names, but perhaps these are better than before. Pfly (talk) 19:31, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I made a couple of heading changes that you are free to revert. I think the heads are heading (excuse the pun) in the right direction. I'm not worried about them. The only thing holding up the GA is a few more references, especially under "Origins" and for any new unreferenced material. Xtzou (Talk) 19:44, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Well I just added a bucket of sources to "Origins". Seems well sourced now. I thought the library was open later, but it is about to close, so I'll be offline for a few hours at least. Grr, it also means I don't have time to browse the interesting reference books I found. Ah well. Pfly (talk) 00:42, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I've added more references throughout. It seems like everything is pretty well sourced, although I'll continue checking. There are some paragraphs that touch on multiple ideas and have just one footnote at the end--in those cases the note applies to the entire paragraph. Any cases where the ref ought to be repeated within a paragraph? Also, the "Significance" has a "lead" paragraph with no references--it's intended to be like an article's lead: it is just a summary of the sections made points, which are detailed below with references. Pfly (talk) 05:19, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Xtzou (Talk) 15:21, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Additional comments, Part II
  • I know that you have worked very hard on this article, so I hesitate to express any criticism. My suggestions now have to do with the article organization. Under Origins, the United States is a relatively short section. Under Boom years, the section American ascendancy is short. However, under Diversification and transformation, the section American methods and strategies is huge. Any chance that some of the info in this huge section would fit under the other two short ones?
  • Also, the section Hudson's Bay Company is huge, and either needs subsections or some of the info moved to a daughter article.
  • The article remains fascinating to read, but perhaps it is getting over detailed (I'm not sure) and daughter or sub articles would help out.
  • Also, the writing is high quality and the referenced problem appears to be fixed. But you probably should have a Bibliography for the books used as references, as it is difficult to ferret them out. For example, what is the reference Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and China Goods?

Xtzou (Talk) 15:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Final comments, hopefully
  • I have added a couple of heading as trial balloons. To me, having such headings make all the difference. If you don't like the ones I added, perhaps you could add others that would function better. I think the article is good to pass GA. Xtzou (Talk) 16:41, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh, that's work fine! I was thinking you were suggesting a major cut of the Hudson's Bay Company subsection(s), and was pondering how to do it but also have not had any time lately. Sorry for poking and then not having time. In any case I will add a "Works cited" or "Bibliography" section with the major books listed, to make the references easier to find. Pfly (talk) 18:47, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
The article has more information than I can absorb easily. It is an eyeopener. If you are considering taking it to FAC, please go to peer review first, as the standards are different than for GA. This is an article I will read over and over. Regards, Xtzou (Talk) 20:32, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality: Clearly written; grammatically correct
    B. MoS compliance: Complies with basic MoS
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources: Reliable sources
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary: Well referenced
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects: Sets the context broadly
    B. Focused: Remains focused on the general topic
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail: Pass!

A wonderful article. Congratulations! Xtzou (Talk) 20:35, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Supplementary review[edit]

These are mostly nit-picky things found in a very interesting article.

Map captions

  • Some editors prefer "about" to "c." because not all readers know what "c." means.
Makes sense, did it. Is "about" preferable over "approximately"?
I like short words as opposed to long ones that mean the same thing. This might just be a matter of taste, but I have encountered other editors who agree. "Around" is another option. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Russians

  • "From 1743 to the founding of the Russian-American Company in 1799 over one hundred private fur trading and hunting voyages to North America, which in total garnered over eight million silver rubles." - Word(s) missing?
Yes, added a few. Pfly (talk) 05:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

British

  • "... he spent a month in Nootka Sound, during which time he and his crew traded with the Nuu-chah-nulth from the village of Yuquot" - Delete "time" since "month" already covers this.
Had to read it twice to see it made sense. Good one.
  • "Later, after Cook had been killed in Hawaii, the expedition visited Canton... ". - Wikilink Canton to Guangzhou?
It was linked earlier, but much earlier, so yea, linked.
Ah, missed it. I usually don't link things more than once in the main text and once in the lead, and for things like United States or England, certainly not more than once overall. This is a long, complicated article, though, so maybe twice for Canton is OK. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah you convinced me and I just took out the second link. I did link some things more than once on this page--sometimes it seemed appropriate or useful (and other editors have added multiple links here and there). Canton though, doesn't seem like it needed multiple links. Pfly (talk) 05:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
  • "the exclusive right to British trade on the entire western coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to Bering Strait and for three hundred leagues out into the Pacific Ocean." - Should "leagues" also be expressed in miles and kilometers?
Doh, of course. Linked League (unit) and gave miles and km. Must be "approximate" since "league" is not fully standard, and might have been nautical or land based, I think. I almost added this zone to the global map, but it seemed overkill (and would have been tricky to do anyway).
  • "and the first woman known to have sailed, openly as a woman, around the world" - "Openly as a woman" seems repetitious. Isn't this covered by the phrase "known to have sailed"? Maybe just "and the first woman known to have sailed around the world"?
That makes sense, but apparently there was at least one, perhaps several other women who were known to have sailed around the world before Frances--just that when they did they were disguised as men--only later was it known about, but still before Frances's time. The details are in the source cited. That's why it says "openly as a woman". And, hmm, the "first woman known to have sailed" bit is supposed to indicate that there might have been others before her we don't know about, but who "sailed openly as a women". Make sense? But yes, an odd combination of phrases. Perhaps we could lose the "first known", making it just: "the first woman to have sailed, openly as a woman, around the world"? Or would it be better to actually explain it like I just did. Seems rather tangential though.
Maybe "the first woman to have sailed, undisguised as a man, around the world"? The word "openly" carries a hint of something anatomical that is not intended. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Heh, I hadn't thought about it like that. Actually I borrowed the phrase "openly as a woman" from the source used. Anyway, just reworded the passage. Rereading that source shows that two woman were before Frances, one disguised as a man, the other a stowaway (the captain, her husband, was in on it--basically taking her along but trying to keep it a secret). I decided to simply mention these two. One has a WP page anyway, Jeanne Baré. Pfly (talk) 05:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
  • "Spain rejected both claims; the true facts of the matter have never been fully established." - Would it be helpful here to add a phrase here making clear why Spain was involved? Maybe, "Spain, which sought control of Nootka Sound, rejected both claims... "? Or something like that. This is all explained in the next paragraph, which might have to be revised slightly to avoid repetition if you add something here.
I've added more about Spain and Russia in the section's "lead", and a mention of Nootka Sound. I'll have to read again, more fully, to get a sense of whether more needs to be said about Spain here. Actually, I would like to add more about Spain in general--there were a few Spanish attempts to join in the fur trading system. Quadra was into the idea. It was hard to figure out how to add such info--there are already so many threads, I fear making a tangled mess. But hmm, if nothing else your suggestion of "Spain, which sought control of Nootka Sound, rejected both claims" sounds just fine.
Yes, your mention of Quadra reminded me of the island and other islands (Gabriola, Cortez) and other geographic entities (Strait of Juan de Fuca) so common in the region. There's lots of possible material, hard to organize coherently. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Unlink Nootka Crisis in the last sentence of this section since it is linked earlier in the same section?
Righto.

Americans

Yep.
  • "The arrival of the Columbia at Boston was celebrated for being the first American circumnavigation of the world." - This needs a source even if covered by the ref at the end of the paragraph. Otherwise, it's almost certain to be challenged.
Heh..isn't that common knowledge? :-) Will do. Just need to figure out *which* source. I'm sure I have one around here *somewhere*..
In general, the article might be a bit undersourced rather than oversourced. This particular claim jumped out at me because it's so clearly extraordinary. I have sometimes oversourced things and had to remove some of the redundant citations, but this is a much easier thing to do than to track down sources from library books that have been returned. In general, I try to source as I go, citing at least one source for every paragraph (except the lead) in the article, as well as sources for statistics, direct quotes, and any claim that is apt to be challenged. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh hey, I was joking. Always had the impression that in Oregon the tale of Gray and the Columbia was drilled into schoolkids from an early age. :-) Anyway, added two sources, both older and interesting for being uncommon, I think.
  • The last paragraph of this section needs a source.
I think I'm just going to take out that last bit for now. It should be better written and researched. I probably got one or two company names wrong anyway. Don't remember where I found the names. The text works without it. I'd like to describe the American companies a bit, but need to do some research, which may or may not be easy. So, for now, best left unsaid, I think.
Oop, just realized I still need to source the text I didn't cut. Will do.
Done. Added a bunch of refs, took out a few less notable names. Also took out the vessel names as captains and ships did not always stay together. Perhaps someday I'll add another bit about "notable vessels", as some were famous in their own right, like the Tonquin. Pfly (talk) 18:40, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Boom years

  • "Its charter was laid out in a 1799 ukase (proclamation) by the new Tsar Paul... ". - Explaining ukase in parentheses is good, but this should occur on first mention of ukase in the "Russians" subsection of "Origins".
done. Pfly (talk) 03:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Diversification and transformation

  • "the Khlebnikov Ranch in the Salmon Creek valley about a mile north of the present day Bodega" - Metric equivalent?
Sure.
  • "Ships sailed from Boston to the Pacific via Cape Horn" - Link Cape Horn?
Yep.
  • "As fur resources dwindled and prices rose, ship captains increasingly concentrated on few key ports of call and stayed longer." - Missing word? Maybe "a few key ports of call"?
Doh.

The New North West trade

  • I'd shorten the head to "New North West trade".
I have a plan to change the section/subsection structure a bit, and this one's name. Will take a bit more thought though.
The Manual of Style advises telegraphic style for heads and subheads, which generally means avoiding "a", "an", or "the" as the first word. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

North West Coast

Sure. Not venereal disease?
Yes, that too. Good catch. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Russian America

  • Needs a source or sources.
Done. Pfly (talk) 09:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Hope this helps. Finetooth (talk) 03:56, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Ah ha, great, thanks, and perfect timing. I was just about to print some of this stuff and try to get back to working on it more. What a crazy weekend this was--total chaos! At least it was sunny and beautiful; PNW summer is ready to GO. That strange ball of fire in the sky has returned with a vengeance. Pfly (talk) 04:22, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm ready for it. Biking this winter was easier than usual, but April was not as good because of rain and wind; the wind on some days seemed to blow in my face no matter which way I went. Finetooth (talk) 19:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

To do list[edit]

Before I lose my jumbled pile of notes and forget it all, here's some possible things to add someday:

  • A "Sea Otter" subsection under "Significance", in which the details of the near-extinction of sea otters can be described a little. As I understand it, the creatures were driven to total extinction through the Northwest Coast, from Prince William Sound to south-central California, where a tiny remnant survived. They survived in some number in the Aleutians and Kurils, and in more recent times sea otters from these places have been transplanted along a few areas of the Northwest Coast, with mixed results. Also, somewhere I read that the collapse of the fur trade--due to a change in fashion and the Chinese trade falling apart during the economic crises of the early-mid 1800s, iirc--probably saved the sea otter from total extinction. Something to research anyway. Seems worth including, as the poor sea otter is central to this whole thing.
  • More on Tlingit-Russian relations--mixture of working together and violent conflict. The case of Sitka being destroyed by the Tlingit and re-established only after a major battle is one thing, but not the end of the story. Apparently in 1805 the Tlingit attacked and destroyed Slavorossiya, AKA Yakutat. The settlement had been meant, at one point, to be the colonial capital. After the Tlingit attack it was never rebuilt. The Russians apparently tried, "persistently", to blame the Americans, who had sold guns to the Tlingit, for the attack. Tlingit oral tradition offers a number of different reasons, including the Russian practice of sending (some) Tlingit children to a school at Kodiak, where they were treated, in the Tlingit view, as slaves. There's more on this topic. Info above comes from pages 141-143 of: Russians in North America, Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Russian America. Sitka, Alaska, August 19-22, 1987. Edited by Richard A. Pierce. A couple short notes from this source:
    • Population at Yakutat is unclear, but estimated as 15 Russian promyshlenniki, 9 settlers with families, a clerk, a blacksmith, and a mechanic. Also 20 kaiury and 15 kaiurki lived at the fort.
    • Russian sources do not detail the destruction of Yakutat. Tlingit oral tradition says the attack came when most of the Russians were out to catch fish. The few who stayed behind were killed. Then the Tlingit attacked the promyshlenniki returning from fishing, killing them all. After taking control of the fort, the Tlingit plundered and burned it, taking, among other things, five cannons.
    • estimates of the number of Russians lost at Yakutat: Rezanov wrote that of 40 people at Yakutat, only 8 men, 2 women, and 3 boys escaped. The RAC claimed that 14 Russians died along with "many islanders" (natives). It is likely that some of Yakutat inhabitants were taken captive.
    • The maritime fur trade influenced the role and power of native women of the North West Coast. The natives of the coast had a sophisticated system of trade that differed from the Western world's system in several ways. In the traditional system of the coast natives there were ceremonies associated with initating trading sessions. Male elders and chiefs were in charge of the opening ceremonies, which usually involved gift-giving and unprofitable trades. The purpose of the gift-giving and ceremonial trading was not to make a profit, but as a means of confirming and maintaining the status of household groups and heir lineages. Once the gift-giving ceremonies were complete, a less formal and more family-oriented trading phase began. During this phase women had a decisive role. They checked the goods, kept track of prices, and generally drove hard bargains in an effort to maximize profits. Many maritime fur traders were frustrated by the time-consuming rituals that first accompanied trade. They had no use for the prestige associated with gift-giving. While many fur traders were forced into gift-giving exchanges, they recorded their dislike for the practice and declined as much as possible. In effect, the maritime fur traders rejected the traditionally male role in trade transactions and placed valued on the traditionally female role, where maximizing profit was the sole criterion. Thus the role of native women in the maritime fur trade was ensured and enhanced. Many fur traders noted the role played by women in trading. As early as in the 1780s traders wrote about Nuu-chah-nulth and Haida women being not only present during trade transactions, but principally in control. Other accounts recorded women playing a similarly active role in trading among the Tlingit and Tsimshian. Manuel Quimper reported the same role for women among the Makah. Other elements that encouraged a greater role for women included the increasing competition between tribal groups brought about by the infusion of new wealth. The maritime fur trade created new disparities of wealth between tribal groups, which resulted in an increasing need for chiefs and their households to validate their status. In order to maintain and improve social status, households had to accumulate more wealth than other households. Some traders noted this competition between different households in trade transactions. Competitive trade aimed at maximizing profits enhanced the role of women in bargaining and monitoring prices.
    • The links between Russian America and Siberia were weakened in the 19th century due to Russian circumnavigation voyages. Twenty-five circumnavigation voyages were initiated between 1801 and 1825, largely for the purpose of expanding Russia's imperial and commercial influence. They created links between Russian America and the Russia capital at Saint Petersburg, altering the way Russians thought about their empire. Places like Sitka, which had previosuly been thought of as part of Russia's most remote frontier, came to be seen as having better access to Saint Petersburg than the continental towns of Siberia and most of the Russian interior. The colonization efforts in California and Hawaii grew out of the circumnavigation voyages and would have been inconceivable without them. Another effect of these voyages was a separation between Russians and the indigenous people of North America. Travelling to Russian America via Siberia required the assistance of indigenous Siberians and the sibiriaki, or Russians of Siberia. The sibiriaki had a history of living and working closely with indigenous Siberians and were "nativized", or acculturated in many ways. In contrast, the Russians who visited America by sea directly from Saint Petersburg—many of whom were well educated and culturally "European", bypassed the legacy of centuries of Siberian experience. They were far more conscious than were the sibiriaki of the social and ethnic distinctions between themselves and the indigenous people they encountered. While the Russian naval officers did not create a racialist ideology, like some European colonizers, they did introduce new attitudes. For example, miscegenation between Russian and natives in Siberia had been common, even encouraged, for centuries, and the practice continued in Russian America as an ordinary way of life. After the initiation of circumnavigation voyages, however, the children of Russian and indigenous Americans came to be labeled as a separate group—a social category known as kreoly (Creoles). Nikolai Rezanov, a participant in the first Russian circumnavigation, is the first on record, in 1805, to use of the term kreol. By the time of the RAC's second charter in 1821 the Creoles of Russian American were made into a de facto separate social estate, formalized as members of a distinct group of people who were neither fully Russian nor fully native. The creation of the Creole category was specific to Russian America and had no precedent elsewhere in the Russian Empire. In Siberia, legitimate children of Russian and indigenous Siberians continued to be classified as Russians, provided family conversion to Orthodoxy and baptism of the children. The origin of the word kreol in Russia is not known for certain, but it likely came from Spanish and Portuguese colonies frequently visited by the Russian circumnavigators. During the 18th century Russian America was colonized and managed by sibiriaki. Very few Europe-oriented Russians visited. The situation changed in the 19th century. An increasing proportion of the RAC's workforce came to America by ship from European Russia. The sibiriaki were gradually replaced by European Russians, a multiethnic category that included Finns, Baltic Germans, and other ethnicities. Furthermore, after the forced retirement of Baranov in 1818, every chief manager (glavnyi pravitel, in effect governor) of Russian America was an officer of the Imperial Russian Navy, appointed directly from Saint Petersburg. Thus the highest-ranking official in Russian America was always a nobleman with Europeanized education and naval training.

Pfly (talk) 08:55, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Globalize[edit]

This article seem to handle the Maritime Fur Trade as a British and North American phenomenon, while in fact it involved other areas and was not exclusively traded by Anglosaxon areas. The lead begins with:

  • The Maritime Fur Trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska.

This fails to introduce the the reader to the global scope of the trade that did also include part of the Russian Pacific, Juan Fernández Islands and Patagonia. Whiel this is perhaps the main error in the lead, the sections that continues in the article fail to adress the fur trade in South America during the same epoch. I do think that the trade migh have had most impact on the Pacific North West but to exclude other areas afected by the trade would not be fail and would lead to the creation of new articles, while the fur trade of the 19th century was an international phenomenon. Dentren | Talk 19:18, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. But as the page points out in the first sentence, "The Maritime Fur Trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska." Later in the lead it says "The term "maritime fur trade" was coined by historians to distinguish the coastal, ship-based fur trade from the continental, land-based fur trade [of North America]". There are plenty of sources that define "Maritime Fur Trade" this way, and are used on the page. In fact, that is why I capitalized the term, instead of naming the page "maritime fur trade" (although I sometimes wrote the term in lower case--if it would make more sense to always use caps that can be done). It's a proper noun about a specific historic era in a specific region. Also, the page describes the non-Anglosphere aspects of the trade--in China and Russia mainly--in detail. Pfly (talk) 19:12, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Still, Dentren does have a point about the Patagonian aspect, though it's definitely outside the usual maritime pattern....but where did th Patagonian furs go? - across the sea to China, or directly back to Europe or ?? It may even have involved some of the same ships; but the basis and core of the maritime fur trade was specifically the sea-otter, not (at first) any land-based furs; and to my knowledge (and I may be wrong) the sea otter was not present in South America. I agree about the term being a proper name as defined/used by historians; and as Pethick and others point out, there's an intrinsic link also to the Old China Trade article, which does have a USPOV bias/perspective so far.Skookum1 (talk) 19:25, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
As far as I know fur trade in South America was based on the Juan Fernández Fur Seal and the South American Fur Seal. Having read Pfly comments, I have too agree that the North American maritime fur trade deserves an own article due to its importnace and the amount of information in the article. To contrinue improve the topic on fur trade efforts should be put on integrating and cleaning and globalizing the the fur trade article (will move the template to that article). I also think that a South American and Antarctic fur trade article should be created to cover that topic. Dentren | Talk 19:49, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I'll reply later, no time right now. Pfly (talk) 21:26, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok, it's later. I tried to write a fairly short reply, but alas, it is a bit long:

I could write about this at length, but will try to keep it short. I probably won't be able to write much again until next week--going camping. The main point is that the Maritime Fur Trade (that is, the "Old North West Trade" or "Sea Otter Trade") was indeed "focused" on acquiring sea otter furs by trade with the natives of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Over the years the traders had to "diversify" in order for the voyages to remain profitable (for reasons explained on the page--overhunting of sea otters and too many traders creating a "seller's market", mostly). The trading voyages were still focused, even defined by their visits to the PNW and trade with the natives for sea otter furs, but "side-ventures" were increasingly taken up, wherever profitable trade could be found. These side-ventures increased in importance over time, but what made a "Maritime Fur Trade" voyage part of the "North West Trade" was the continued visits to the PNW coast and trade with the natives for sea otter furs--although beaver furs eventually were traded in much larger numbers.

In short, there were two key factors that defined the trade. First it involved visits to the PNW coast (and Canton, albeit sometimes via third party trans-shipments). Second, the PNW furs were acquire by trade with the natives. This second point is not quite as important among historians, but it is for a significant number of them. It is one of the main differences between the British and American systems and that used by the Russians--who did not trade with the natives, but rather employed (or "enserfed") them (eg, Aleuts), to hunt sea otters. The Russian method of acquiring sea otter furs was quite different from the British and American method. In addition, the Russians did not take the furs to Canton by ship, but overland to the Mongolian-Chinese border. For many historians these several differences are enough to regard the Russian system as something other than the "North West Trade" or "Maritime Fur Trade", although closely related. Many historians write about the Maritime Fur Trade as a strictly British and American system only, excepting a handful of minor ventures by the French and Spanish (Lapérouse is a particularly notable example of a French venture to the PNW--but his fame comes from much more than just trading sea otter furs). Anyway, my point is that many historians write about the Maritime Fur Trade as something almost entirely British and American. Others include the Russian system, although differing in some ways. So there is already a fairly strong "Anglosphere" focus among historians. I opted to take the broader approach used by historians such as Gibson. But even then the trade was largely "Anglo"--especially when looking at the Canton end.

All that was to explain the sentence: "The Maritime Fur Trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska." The key word being "focused". The trade was not exclusively about these things. But once the American (and later the British) traders abandoned the PNW coast trade, they were no longer part of the North West Trade or Maritime Fur Trade. In many cases the "side-venture" diversification efforts became the new trading focus, once the PNW trade was abandoned. One of the most important of these side-ventures that became the focus of new trading system was sealing.

I admit the term Maritime Fur Trade makes the issue of sealing confusing, since seals are marine mammals that were hunted for their furs. But of the many sources I've gone through on the Maritime Fur Trade, AKA Old North West Trade, sealing was at best a "side-venture". Sealing boomed after the PNW coast trade was abandoned, over vast regions. I know less about the history of sealing, but from what I understand it operated under systems differing in several key ways from the old sea otter trade. Former sea otter traders also turned to whaling in growing numbers, a trade which also boomed. I admit that the history of these large, complex trading systems were inter-related in various ways, and there's no totally clear bright line we can use to separate one "old trade" from another. Nonetheless, unless I've quite misunderstood what I've read, the Maritime Fur Trade is not the same as sealing. This is why I wrote about sealing as part of the "diversification' of the Maritime Fur Trade, along with sandalwooding and other obviously "non-fur" goods, and why the Juan Fernández Islands and Patagonia are not given much weight outside the diversification sections.

More could be said about the Russian sea otter hunting done in the Kamchatka and Kuril Island areas. There's a bit about it on the page, but I have hoped to add a bit more in time. On the other hand, I think it was a relatively minor aspect of the whole. Plus, the Russians did not trade these furs in Canton but rather in Mongolia. The Canton connection seemed more important to spend time and text on. I have also wanted to add a bit about the handful of Spanish attempts. I haven't gotten around to trying yet, but there were only a handful, with very small cargoes, over a few short years.

Anyway, to finish up (damn I wrote more than I hoped to!), perhaps the main issue here is sealing. I can certainly see why one would consider sealing a "maritime fur trade". Perhaps the text could be adjusted to make more clear the difference? Even if sealing were to be considered part of the Maritime Fur Trade,as defined above, I can't imagine trying to add info about it to this page in detail even close to what is already here. The page is already rather long (and should be fleshed out a bit more, making it even longer). Sealing is a huge topic--probably larger than the PNW-Canton sea otter trade.

Ok, I must stop now. I hope this explains things a bit. Would it help if the page spent more text on the kind of large-scale, semi-abstract stuff I wrote about just now--especially the stuff about sealing and perhaps the Russian system being different enough for some historians to not include it as part of the Maritime Fur Trade (or part of it in a tangential way only)? My apologies for the typos I'm sure I made. It's late and I am too tired to proofread. Thanks! Pfly (talk) 10:04, 9 September 2010 (UTC)