The American Fur Trade of the Far West - Vol. 1

The American Fur Trade of the Far West - Vol. 1

The American Fur Trade of the Far West - Vol. 1

The American Fur Trade of the Far West - Vol. 1

Synopsis

The American Fur Trade of the Far West is the premier history of its subject. Its publication in 1902 invited historians and general readers to look more closely at the intricate connections of the fur trade with the development of North America.

Excerpt

By James P. Ronda

Rocky Mountain fur trade -- few phrases in our western vocabulary evoke a greater sense of romance and adventure. the trappers and their ways exercise a special appeal for Americans living far from the high times of a Green River rendezvous. the mountain man now holds a unique place in the American imagination. But it has not always been so. WhenHiram Chittenden published his American Fur Trade of the Far West in 1902, the trans-Mississippi West was not a focus of attention for American historians and their readers. Busy writing about New England towns and British commercial policy on the eve of the Revolution, scholars had little time for the Rocky Mountain West and its fur trade. the region's history was left to novelists and pulp writers. But Chittenden, a captain in the U.S. Army Engineers, set about to remedy that neglect. His years of western experience convinced him that the fur trade was at the very heart of American history. At a time when Frederick Jackson Turner's notions about the frontier and American character were just beginning to attract attention, Chittenden argued that the fur trade was "indissolubly connected to the history of North America."1 Chittenden saw himself as a proponent of fur trade studies as well as a historian of the trade and its colorful characters. and time proved the captain right. Western historians now recognize the importance of the fur trade not only as a pioneer industry but as a focal point in the long and complex encounter between Europeans and Indians.

When Chittenden began his research at the end of the . . .

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