Canadians in the West 1818–30


Map Code: Ax00716

The Canadian exploration of the American West sprung from the corporate rivalry between the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company, both seeking rich new sources to supply their lucrative fur trade. Donald Mackenzie and Finan McDonald were employed by the North West Company. From 1818–21, Mackenzie explored the basin of the Snake River in a series of annual trapping expeditions, during which he helped to establish Fort Nez Percés. McDonald, at the head of a party of 52 trappers, explored the east of the basin in 1823. Peter Skene Ogden, employed by Hudson Bay, had a far broader itinerary. After first traversing the Snake River basin, he went on to reach the Great Salt Lake, (where he was ordered out by Americans, although technically on Mexican territory) and on into California. On his final expedition in 1830, he reached the Gulf of California before returning via the Tehachapi.

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