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Why was beaver fur so important?

4 min read

Asked by: Jorge Crawford

In the past, pelts were so important they were used as a trade medium in place of money. Between 1853 and 1877, the Hudson Bay Company sold almost three million beaver pelts to England. In Alaska today, trappers still harvest these furs. They are highly prized for cold weather coats and hats.

Why was the beaver fur so valuable?

Thanks to the dense fur of the undercoat, the felt produced from the beaver pelt made a luxurious hat, waterproof, with an incredible sheen. The hats were so precious that a man might leave one to his son in his will. Two grades of pelt were recognized.

What were beaver furs used for?

For everyday use or costume and decoration, furs have been used for the production of outterware such as coats and cape, garment and shoe lining, a variety of head coverings, and ornamental trim and trappings. Beaver pelts could be made into either full-fur or felted-fur hats.

Why was beaver fur so popular in Europe?

The Europeans would make hats out of the beaver pelts. A lot of the beavers were decimated in Europe, so that’s why they were coming over here to get it. A brand new beaver pelt has long hair, so the Europeans would pluck the long hair to get down to the pelt.

Why were beaver pelts and hats so popular?

Beaver hats were water-repellent. This fact, coupled with the fact that many hats had wide brims, may help explain their popularity in a rainy climate such as England, prior to the invention of the umbrella. Superstitions surrounding beaver fur may also have contributed to the hat’s popularity.

Why did the French want beaver fur?

The fur trade started because of a fashion craze in Europe during the 17th century. Europeans wanted to wear felt hats made of beaver fur. The most important players in the early fur trade were Indigenous peoples and the French. The French gave European goods to Indigenous people in exchange for beaver pelts.

Why was beaver fur so important to Canada?

Beaver pelts were an integral part of the early Canadian fur trade economy. Beaver pelts were an integral part of the early Canadian fur trade economy. Aboriginal and European hunters supplied trade networks that capitalized on the popularity of beaver pelts in European markets.

What were beaver pelts used for in the 1800’s?

The most desirable hats throughout much of the world were made from beaver felt, and their popularity meant an insatiable demand for beaver pelts. The demand did not slow until the American beaver also became scarce by the mid-19th century — and silk hats became popular.

How much was a beaver pelt worth in 1700?

The Prices of Parchment and Coat Beaver
From 1713 to 1726, before the carotting process had become established, coat beaver generally fetched a higher price than parchment beaver, averaging 6.6 shillings per pelt as compared to 5.5 shillings.

How much is beaver skin worth?

If you have a top quality beaver pelt it’s possible to get $25 or more. But most beaver collections will probably average around $10 this year.

What would Native Americans receive in exchange for beaver fur?

Indian tribes and fur companies enjoyed mutual benefits from the fur trade. Indians obtained manufactured goods such as guns, knives, cloth, and beads that made their lives easier.

Why is beaver fur so warm?

The beaver is one of the warmest furs you can buy. Its durability is astounding – it can last for decades. There are three main types of beaver garments: plucked, sheared, and natural. Plucked and sheared beaver reveal the thick underfur that is the source of warmth.

How many beavers were killed in the fur trade?

Two hundred plus years of the fur trade killed off beaver populations—40 to 60 million beavers basked in North America in the 19th century before hunters massacred them for hats and perfume.

Why is the fur trade important?

The fur trade provided Indigenous peoples with European goods that they could use for gift-giving ceremonies, to improve their social status and to go to war. The French forged military alliances with their Indigenous allies in order to maintain good trade and social relations.

What was fur used for?

Furs have been used principally to fashion outer garments; this is also true for the modern fur industry. A variety of animals are bred or trapped for their pelts, including those that bear the luxury furs (sable, chinchilla, ermine, and mink) and others whose fur is of lesser value (such as rabbit and squirrel).