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Why was the beaver so important to the fur trade?

Why was the beaver so important to the fur trade?

Beaver fur, which was used in Europe to make felt hats, became the most valuable of these furs. The demand for beaver increased rapidly in the early 1600’s, when fashionable European men began to wear felt hats made from beaver fur. Such furs as fox, marten, mink, and otter also were traded.

What did Europeans trade beaver fur?

A 1733 Standard of Trade for the Fort Albany HBC post outlines the cost of various items in beaver pelts. For example, one beaver pelt could buy either one brass kettle, one and a half pounds of gunpowder, a pair of shoes, two shirts, a blanket, eight knives, two pounds of sugar or a gallon of brandy.

How many beavers were there before the fur trade?

​Before European settlement of North America, beaver populations have been estimated at 60-400 million. The population was decimated by trappers throughout the 1700s and 1800s. Beaver fur was used to make felt hats and their castoreum was used in perfumes.

What happened to the beavers in the fur trade?

The killings of beavers during the fur trade were devastating for the local beaver population. The natural ecosystems that came to rely on the beavers for dams, water and other vital needs were also devastated leading to ecological destruction, environmental change, and drought in certain areas.

Why are beaver pelts so highly valued?

Thanks to the dense fur of the undercoat, the felt produced from the beaver pelt made a luxurious hat, waterproof, with an incredible sheen. The hats were so precious that a man might leave one to his son in his will. Two grades of pelt were recognized.

Is beaver pelt waterproof?

They produce an oil called castor oil that they rub through their fur with a split toenail called a grooming claw, making their fur water proof. The waterproof fur keeps the skin dry and warm while the beaver is immersed in cold water.

How much did a beaver pelt cost in the 1800s?

From 1713 to 1726, before the carotting process had become established, coat beaver generally fetched a higher price than parchment beaver, averaging 6.6 shillings per pelt as compared to 5.5 shillings.

How much is a beaver pelt worth?

Pelt prices for beaver should be about what they have been in the last few years: $10 to $15 for a good prime blanket. Raccoon – Like beaver, they take more effort to prepare than other pelts. Expect the usual $10 to $15 for a good, big, heavy pelt.

How much money do you get for a beaver pelt?

What furs were traded in the fur trade?

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 furs were mostly traded in China for tea, silks, porcelain , and other Chinese goods, which were then sold in Europe and the United States.

Who are famous fur traders?

Alexander Culbertson (1809-1879) – Fur trader and diplomat, Alexander Culbertson was born at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania on May 20, 1809. John Day (1770?-1820) – A fur trapper and frontiersman, he worked for both the American Fur Company and the North West Company .

What were the negative effects on the fur trade?

The fur trade resulted in many long term effects that negatively impacted Native people throughout North America, such as starvation due to severely depleted food resources, dependence on European and Anglo-American goods, and negative impacts from the introduction of alcohol-which was often exchanged for furs.

What did Europeans trade for beaver fur?

They harvested a wide variety of furs (beaver being the most valuable) in the region’s woodlands and waterways. In exchange for these furs, French, British, and US traders provided goods such as blankets, firearms and ammunition, cloth, metal tools, and brass kettles.