Hudson Bay Company
Hudson Bay Company, a joint-stock company founded in 1670 lor the purpose of obtaining furs and skins from North America. The charter of incorporation granted by Charles II. conferred on Prince Rupert and his seventeen associates the sole right of trading in the waters within Hudson Straits, and on the contiguous coasts, a region which was held to include all lands watered by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. At the same time the government of this territory, which was called Rupert's Land, was placed in their hands, and they were encouraged to extend their trading operations by a promise of the same special privileges in all lands into which they should penetrate "out of the limits or places aforesaid." In 1685 the English were deprived of most of their factories by the French, but they were restored by the Peace of Utrecht. (1713), and the French were never able to regain them. The trade of the Company prospered from the first, but they were slow to explore the interior, and as late as 1749 their possessions consisted merely of four or five forts on the shore of Hudson Bay. After Canada became a part of the British dominions (1763), they suffered much from the competition of the North-West Fur Company of Montreal. In 1821 the two companies sank their differences and obtained a joint monopoly, which was to extend throughout all the district to the west and north of the original settlement and to last for twenty-one years. A new licence was granted in 1838 to the Hudson Bay Company alone. On its expiration in 1859 the monopoly ceased, excepting in the Company's original possessions. These, however, were sold to the British Government in 1869, and in 1870 they were incorporated in the Dominion of Canada. But the Company still retains a considerable quantity of land, especially in the neighbourhood of its numerous forts.