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  Constitution Act 1791 | Guy Carleton | Jay's Treaty | Black Loyalists | Alexander Mackenzie | Simon Fraser | David Thompson | John Graves Simcoe | Captain George Vancouver | The Northwest Company | Prevost's Conciliation | Tecumseh | The War of 1812 | Lord Selkirk | Newfoundland

The Northwest Company was officially created in 1783 in opposition to Montreal fur trading interests and the Hudson Bay Company. Many traders who had pushed west from the Great Lakes had been considering various partnerships for a few years before the launching of the Northwest Company and some had cooperate associations, working with other traders or some sort of organized effort to compete.

In 1779 a sixteen share partnership was formed but broke down over the next few years only to be succeeded by the 1783 agreement. Their competition in Montreal was Gregory, McLeod and company wit Alexander Mackenzie as a shareholder. By 1787 the Northwest company had taken over that partnership by offering them 4 shares in the newly reorganized Northwest Company which then had a total of 20 shares. This became the favoured method of overcoming competition and in 1800 a "New Northwest Company", which was to become known as XY Company, began to compete with the Northwest Company but they were also absorbed in 1804 with a 1/4 share interest the Northwest Company which now had 100 shares.

The real competition throughout these years was the Hudson Bay Company which was a chartered company formed on May 2nd, 1670 by King Charles II. The HBC was not a partnership of its workers so its' employees rarely worked as hard or as aggressively to find the new furs or explorer new territory. They did however grow into a formidable organization across the expanses of Canada and continually expanded its trading system and its forts throughout Western and Northern Canada and the North Western United States. In 1812 Lord Selkirk who owned a considerable amount of stock in the HBC was granted land in present day Manitoba to begin a colony. This area was right in the middle of many of the trading routes of the Northwest Company and threatened its flow of furs.

The Northwest Company paid out profits to it's partners and did not retain earnings for the company itself. This served to centralize the decision making process of how the run the company. Until 1812, the company had expanded and grown as it's explorers such as David Thompson and Alexander Mackenzie opened up vast new territories for trade and development. While the HBC could use all of the waters that flowed into the Bay to transport its furs downstream, the Northwest Company had to ship all of its furs across thousands of miles of wilderness to Lake Superior where they were then shipped to Montreal. The Selkirk settlement cut off this route and threatened the survival of the Northwest Company.

Another assault that fell on the Northwest Company came form the south. With the outbreak of the war of 1812 one of the first actions by the Americans was the invasion of Sault Ste. Marie and the subsequent destruction of the Northwest Company trading post. The over harvesting of furs and particularly beaver in many of the areas of trade also served as a negative factor in the fortunes of both the HBC and the Northwest Company.

Matters came to a head in 1816 with the massacre of Seven Oaks resulting in the death of 21 people. One June 19th the HBC attacked the Northwest Company's Fort Gibraltar at the fork of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and killed most of the North western men. The HBC then refused to compensate, withdraw or allow North Western fur brigades through the area.

in 1820 the British Secretary of State for War and Colonies was forced to step in and issues directives to both companies to restrict and cease their aggressive actions against one another. By July of 1821 a merger was forced upon the Northwest Company which resulted in their 97 posts and forts being amalgamated into the HBC system at the end of the great company. George Simpson became the new head of the HBC and their new head quarters was located in Lachine Quebec.