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Saguenay River: Rumours of More

Fur traders hear tales of distant wealth

More on the Saguenay River:
Saguenay River:
Essence of French Québec

Aluminum Toil:
The river and its people make the modern metal

A World Apart:
The stronghold of Quebec nationalism

Sad Ballerina:
Beluga whales face extinction from pollution

Left Behind:
Arctic life survives deep in the fjord

Rumours of More:
Fur traders hear tales of distant wealth

Tide of Destruction:
Flash flood ravages a valley

Europeans came to North America in search of gold and a direct route to the wealth of China. It was for fish and fur that they stayed.

Fur was an important item of clothing in the late 1500s. It was warm, it durable, and it was beautiful. Only the rich could afford the luxury of fur, but their demand was insatiable — especially for beaver.

The beaver had become extinct in Europe, so when the presence of plentiful beaver in North America became known, fur traders soon followed.

Tadoussac was a traditional meeting ground for the Algonquian and Iroquoian First Nations. It naturally became the centre of the early French fur trade in North America.

By the end of the 16th century, hundreds of fur traders sailed there every summer to bargain with the First Nations for furs. The First Nations in return, were eager to acquire European goods, particularly products made of metal.

It was here that Jacques Cartier visited in 1535 and first heard from First Nations traders tales of a rich “Kingdom of the Saguenay.”

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