The question regarding the beaver exploitation and the relation of the Native Americans towards the issue seems to be significantly important to examine. As a matter of fact, Indians played an essential role in the depletion of the beaver population in Canada. The major objective of the paper is to discover the arguments provided by Ann Carlos and Frank Lewis in the article entitled Indians, the Beaver and the Bay: The Economics of Depletion in the Lands of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1700-1763. The authors stress that the market competition and financial issues of the Native Americans contributed to the overexploitation of the beavers.
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As a matter of fact, the reduction in the number of beavers on the territory of Canada is linked to economic factors (Richards and McNeill 32). The Hudson’s Bay Company took the dominant position in the fur market (Carlos and Lewis 465). The beavers were seen as the source of money. Native Americans realized that the beaver’s fur is the essential element for European production (Walton and Rockoff 52). The Indians saw an excellent opportunity for making a profit, and it resulted in overharvesting. Commerce had a negative effect on the density of the population of beavers.
The tense situation on the market was rooted in the presence of the French on the territory where the English were monopolist. To win the competition, the Hudson’s Bay Company responded by the increase of price on the beaver’s fur. Getting more money became the priority for the Native Americans that consequently led to the overexploitation of the animals. The company encouraged Indians to bring more beavers to them.
The authors of the article claim that there is a significant connection between the price and the depletion of the beaver population. According to the findings, in Fort Albany during the period of thirteen years, there were no price changes and it resulted in rising of the beaver population (McNeill and Mauldin 156). However in 1730, when the cost increased by 40 cents, the beaver population got affected and reduced by 50%. The same situation occurred in the York Factory (Muller-Schwarze 158). When the fur price increased by 30 cents, the population declined.
Hudson’s Bay Company was able to protect the beaver from overexploitation, as it was the most powerful organization on the market (Spraakman 44). The managers tried to show the Native Americans that they do not need summer beaver by burning the coat. However, the strategy changed when the French appeared on the market. They implemented persuasive techniques as well as the increase of price to compete for the dominant position and to attract Indians to their posts. The objectives of the company did not take into account the depletion of the stocks. It worth stating that the company did not realize that the issue is serious and demands the solution. Overexploitation had a severe consequence, and only in 1821, the company responded appropriately to tackle the problem.
In conclusion, it should be highlighted that the willingness of the Hudson’s Bay Company to hold the leading position in the market resulted in dramatic consequences for the beavers. It is no doubt that the Native Americans responded to the increase in the fur price by overharvesting. The recent findings prove that Fort Churchill, being a distance from the competition showed the relatively stable index of the beaver population. The financial side of the issue played a significant role in the depletion of animals.
Carlos, Ann M., and Frank D. Lewis. “Indians, the Beaver, and the Bay: The Economics of Depletion in the Lands of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1700–1763.” J. Econ. History The Journal of Economic History 53.03 (1993): 465-494. Print.
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McNeill, John, and Erin Mauldin. A Companion to Global Environmental History. Chichester: Willey, 2012. Print.
Muller-Schwarze, Dietland. The Beaver: Its Life and Impact. Ithaca: Comstock Associates, 2011. Print.
Richards, John F., and John R. McNeill. The World Hunt an Environmental History of the Commodification of Animals. Berkeley: University of California, 2014. Print.
Spraakman, Gary. Management Accounting at the Hudson’s Bay Company: From Quill Pen to Digitization. Bingley: Emerald Group, 2015. Print.
Walton, Gary M., and Hugh Rockoff. History of the American Economy. 20th ed. Mason: South-Western, 2010. Print.