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the United States, and in 1815 a peace treaty was signed with the Sioux Indians.

In the meantime, about the year 1810, John Jacob Astor had entered the picture with a fur trading company, the Mackinac

Company, founded with British associates, and in 1816, when Congress forbade foreign fur trade in the area, Astor, who had become an American citizen, held the monopoly in the fur trade in northeastern Minnesota. The history of the region in the decades which followed can be called the era when "fur-bearing animals made Minnesota's history." It is said that on one fur buying trip two traders came back with 60 canoe-loads of furs. In the old Northwest Company warehouses in Grand Portage as many as 1,400 bundles of fine furs at a time were waiting shipment east: beaver, otter, mink, marten and wildcat. In 1835 the director of the American Fur Company, Henry Sibley, reported the following quantities of furs on hand: 389,000 muskrat, 3,330 mink, 3,200 deer, 2,800 young muskrat, 2,000 raccoon, and more than 1,000 beaver, otter, buffalo, marten and fox. Once, when France had controlled the fur trade, Paris had been the sales center; later it had shifted to London; now, with this rich territory in American hands. the sales center had shifted to New York, through which went the Minnesota furs which the rich of Europe wore with pride.

Those incredible quantities of furs resulted from the Indian zeal for trapping. Although the Indians could not understand the white man - who did not know how to live, who left his home to face the risks of strange lakes and rivers and strange peoples just to get beaver skins - the white man wanted furs and was willing to pay the trapper something in return. For a firstclass beaver pelt the Indian could expect a bit of powdered dye, and one otter, or three marten, or one lynx, or fifteen muskrats were the equivalent of one beaver. Thirty beavers brought a keg of rum. Or, $2000 worth of goods could procure 96 sackfuls of beaver skins, which in turn could be sold on the New York market for $35,000. In 1823, one guide told that he had received 120 beaver skins from the Indians for two blankets, eight quarts of rum and a pocket mirror, and that he had been able to sell the furs in Montreal for $400. During this golden age of profits, these fur-bearing animals were hunted almost to extinction, and even the buffalo disappeared from Minnesota. The buffaloes, of course, were doomed because they and cattle could not share the


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