19868: Hudson’s Bay Company

The Hudson’s Bay Company, founded by Royal Charter in 1670, is the oldest chartered trading company in the world. Its main interest for the first two centuries was the fur trade, controlled from its headquarters at York Factory on Hudson’s Bay in northern Canada. The company played a seminal role in the exploration and settlement of Western Canada by Europeans.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century its vast territory of Rupert’s Land was incorporated into the Dominion of Canada. With the downturn in the fur trade the company moved into mercantile business selling goods to settlers. The Company was subsequently best known for its department stores.

Many Outer Hebrideans were hired by the Company and a 1940s article from the Stornoway Gazette suggests they were particularly sought after as hardy and capable employees. 

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