By W. H. New (auth.)

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The wanderings of two coureurs-de-bois, Radisson (c. 1632-1710) and Groseilliers (c. 1618-c. 1690), had led to the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company in the first place; the North-West Company followed; and 27 new trading posts sprang up wherever company employees - Pond, Mackenzie, Fidler and Thompson - subsequently moved. ) Government by company was a standard pattern, one later repeated in the story of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Napoleonic wars had meanwhile established the Maritimes in the timber trade (New Brunswick was a source for sailing ship spars).

Most often, the colonies in North America were mere pawns in the give-and-take of European power games. Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1537-83) set up an English colony in Newfoundland in 1583; Pierre leMoyne d'Iberville (1661-1706) attempted to destroy this English settlement in the 1660s and settle the French there instead. Three times during the seventeenth century, the British conquered parts of Nova Scotia only to return them to French control. The eighteenth century saw several more military upheavals and distant political agreements.

The differences in documentary record also distinguish between European social expectations of wilderness and those that began to emerge in Canada in the nineteenth century. The three major journals of Canadian land exploration are Thompson's Travels in Western North America 1784-1812, Hearne's Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean, and Mackenzie's Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, Through the Continent ofNorth America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans; In the Years 1789 and 1793.

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