Coureur de Bois Societies and Territories

It was in 1645 that the coureurs des bois were founded in New France. Over time, the coureurs des bois played an important role in trading furs. There had been around 500 coureurs des bois in the region of Great Lake.

The native people went to see the French at their trading posts in the St. Lawrence Valley. The market for the trade went big and later on, more French men began to see the Native people so they could trade directly with them. Later, these men were called the coureurs de bois or the wood runners. They used goods as a currency in exchange of the furs of the Native people.

Many young men hoped to prove something by going deep into the woods. They came from different backgrounds. Some were sons of farmers, merchants, and soldiers. These men were generally young at around twenty to thirty five years old. They became traders of fur and were known to be wood runners.

Ottawa River was the best route for the trade. The route was formed by lakes, small rivers, rapids and waterfalls. From the river they take the Abitibi River to reach the Hudson Bay. And then to reach the great lakes, the traders had to turn left at the Mattawa fork, and then take the small river, crossing the Lake Nipissing, and later the Riviere des Francais so they can reach Lake Huron. Michillimakinac was an important trading post and is located at the junction of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, around 1500km from Lachine. Coureurs des bois reached the post within a month of paddling including 36 portages. The posts were occupied by fur trade employees and also military people, tradesmen including missionaries. Also, a few Aborginal people will settle around the trading posts to develop bonds with the people there.

After Michillimakinac, the coureurs des bois began to continue their exploration. They were able to establish many other trading posts which include the one at Detroit. They had traveled along the Mississippi River and it took them to Louisiana. They also travelled over the Rocky Mountains, and were able to reach the Arctic Ocean. After such conquest, a network with central point at grand-portage was established by the Northwest Company. It was a trading post located at the western end of the Lake Superior. After the post, many other trading posts were established, as far as the Pacific Ocean, some of which also became one of the few department stores during the 20th century.

The North American continent rivers led those that took part in the fur trade away from the homes of the colony. The drive of the people hungry for more exploration led to this break through exploration. While they continued the trading, some actually traveled by foot, also others by dog sled or canoe moving from one trade post to another. Some others traveled to Montreal. The workers at the posts includes armories, they worked with iron and coopers.

This is how the coureur de bois had been identified in society and with their territory.


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