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Memorable Manitobans: Médard Chouart des Groseilliers (1618-c1690)

Furtrader, explorer.

Born in France, he came to Canada around 1641 and spent sometime in the West. By the early 1650s he began investigating Hudson Bay, and hespent most of his time in the Upper Country trading furs with the Indians. In1660 he and his brother-in-law Pierre Radisson conducted a highly successful fur-trading expedition to Lake Superior, but upon their return to New France were thrown in jail by the authorities for trading without licences. The twomen resolved to deal instead with the English or the Dutch in New York, and ended up in London in 1665, where they argued that the best way to gain access to the rich trade of the Bay was not overland but in large ships sailing directly to the heart of the continent. They convinced Charles II to grant a charter to the Hudson's Bay Company, and began a complex period of changing allegiances while continuing to visit the Bay for trading purposes. Groseilliers was at the Bay in 1689, after which he returned to London.

More information:

Caesars of the Wilderness by Grace Nute (1943, 1975)

Médard Chouart des Groseilliers, Dictionary of Canadian Biography I, 223-28.

Sources:

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Page revised: 31 July 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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