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Sir George Simpson


c.1787 - 1860

Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada, who became known as the father of the Canadian fur trade. Born illegitimate, Simpson was brought up by his aunt in Dingwall. He was sent to England at the age of 14 to work in his uncle's sugar brokerage and later obtained a position with the North West Company in London. In 1820 travelled to Canada to take charge of one of the company's trading posts. The Northwest Company merged with the Hudson Bay Company in 1821 and Simpson was appointed a Governor, a position in which he served until 1856. He worked hard to bring the former vicious rivals together and brought order and efficiency to the company's operations. He was the effective ruler of western Canada, but with a reputation as a womaniser, his treatment of native women, particularly, left much to be desired.

Simpson encouraged exploration of the vast expanse of Arctic Canada, regularly travelling between trading posts. In 1841-2, he undertook a major expedition from Canada across Siberia to St. Petersburg. This was described in his Narrative of an Overland Journey round the World (1847).

He was knighted in 1841. His journal was published as Fur Trade and Empire in 1931.


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