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Banner: Pathfinders and Passageways: The Exploration of Canada About This Site
The Mapmakers: An Essay in Four Parts
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Mapping the Northwest

18th Century

1763 saw the end of nearly two hundred years of European conflict over the possession of northern North America, as France was forced to relinquish its claims in Canada. In the latter part of the eighteenth century, a renewed struggle was in command of the still-lucrative fur trade, this time, between rival companies and partnerships.

Competition for trade produced a remarkable series of explorers and mapmakers  --  Canadian, Native, British, and American. Fuelled by the fur-trade, these explorers pushed back the northwestern boundaries of the British claims in Canada and ultimately reached the Pacific Ocean by land. It had taken three hundred years for explorers to cross the country.

The mapping and gathering of information in this era laid the foundation for the mass western immigration of the next century, by which time the fur trade would be almost non-existent.

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