1798 - The Missouri Company founded

Intrepid fur traders navigating the Missouri River

       St. Louis entrepreneur, Manuel Lisa, founded the Missouri Company to help drive the English out of upper Louisiana.  

(click here for more on the fur trade)

       Upstream on the Missouri, plains tribes were anxious to acquire manufactured goods: more guns, metal kettles and dutch ovens, and simple items such as steel awls that made their daily lives so much easier.  These demands were being met by traders at the Mandan Villages many years before Lewis and Clark's expedition. (click here for more on Lewis and Clark)

       The Indians played all suitors off one another - the French, English, and Spanish - to their own advantage.  The French and Spanish never succeeded in establishing a strong presence on the upper Missouri, but the British were very well established there when the Americans finally arrived in 1804.          

        Despite the American's intention to dominate commerce on the upper Missouri, the British held onto many of their fur trading posts well into the reservation period of the late 1800s.  Their most lucrative years spanned four decades which roughly paralleled the career of the famous Canadian cartographer, David Thompson, who drew many of the maps of the British fur trading network, between 1780-1820.