Fur Trade Stories   Teaching Tips
  En Français
  Identity, Culture
& Communities
  The Land: People
& Places
  Historical Connections
  Power & Authority
  Economics & Resources

Search the entire site
Search this time
period only
Fur Trade Stories Timeline
  From 1867 to Present Day
Home >> From 1867 to Present Day >> Historical Connections >> Artifacts

The fur trade influenced the historical development of Canada in a number of ways including: the development and expansion into western and northern Canada; the significance of Canadian place names; the origin and rise of the Métis Nation; the impact of interaction between the First Peoples and the Europeans-and these connections can be found in personal and commercial stories about the people and events of the fur trade.

Image 1
Creator: J.E. Barnett and Sons, London
Year made: 1871
Dimensions: 117.9 cm
Location: The Manitoba Museum; Artifact HBC 2327-B
Copyright Holder: The Manitoba Museum

(M25) Trade Gun

Flintlock-type Hudson’s Bay Company trade musket, made by J.E. Barnett and Sons, London. There is a serpent side plate on the gun. The flintlock firing mechanism consists of a hammer that is fitted with a stone flint, a mainspring, a metal striker (frizzen) and a priming pan.

When the trigger is pulled, the mainspring causes the hammer and flint to strike the metal frizzen, creating a shower of sparks that falls on a small amount of gunpowder that has been placed in the priming pan. This action ignites a charge of gunpowder in the barrel of the musket that in turn fires off the ammunition (lead musket balls).

Other Related Material
Read more about hunting - enter 'hunting' in the search box to your left.

Other hunting weapons on this website include: an Inuit bow, a Blackfoot arrow, an Inuit bolas, and a steel trap.

Check the Beaver Index - e.g., HBC Trade Guns, by S. James Gooding, December 1951.

Did You Know?
This musket is a later version of a type that was traded to Aboriginal hunters by the North West and Hudson’s Bay companies from the late 18th century and throughout most of the 19th century.

According to firearms historian S. James Gooding, by 1690 some English gunmakers had turned the French baroque style of loops and scrolls used to decorate the sideplate into a serpent or “dragon” motif.

By the mid-1790s, the brass serpent sideplate had become a standard on British trade guns. Not only did the presence of this sideplate indicate the origin of firearms for Aboriginal traders; it also, according to oral tradition, had spiritual significance for the hunters and ensured successful hunting.

Many of the firearms introduced during the early fur trade period were of inferior quality, and Aboriginal traders often reported their dissatisfaction with them. Some poorly-made firearms also caused severe accidents. In addition, they required repair by a blacksmith located at a post. They were also costly, and supplies of ammunition had to be purchased through trade.

For these reasons, traditional forms of weaponry and hunting equipment continued to be used side by side with firearms, and depending on the circumstances, the guns were less effective than the bow and arrow.