American Fur Company

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The American Fur Company was the financially strongest and most politically influential fur trading company in the United States in the early 19th century . Founded in 1808 by Johann Jakob Astor , who originally came from Germany , the company contributed significantly to the economic development of the American West.

When the founding of the first American branch on the Pacific coast in 1811 failed after less than two years in the British-American War , the American Fur Company concentrated its activities on the American parts of the Great Lakes and the upper Missouri River valley, where it was temporarily a quasi -Monopoly established. Astor sold its shares in the company in 1834, and in 1864 the company was completely taken over by another trading company. It was already meaningless.


  • Hiram Martin Chittenden: The American Fur Trade of the Far West. Francis P. Harper, New York, 1902, unaltered reprint of the 2nd revised edition from 1936 by Augustus M. Kelley, Fairfield, New Jersey, 1979, ISBN 0-678-01035-8 (first comprehensive publication on the subject, still authoritative today Standard work)
  • David J. Wishart: The Fur Trade of the American West. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1992, ISBN 0-8032-9732-7 (economic geography study)
  • Dietmar Kuegler: Freedom in the wilderness - trappers, mountain men, fur traders - the American fur trade. Publisher for American Studies , Wyk 1989, ISBN 3-924696-33-0 (Methods, personalities and companies in the fur trade)
  • Ray H. Mattison: The Upper Missouri Fur Trade. In: Nebraska History. Volume 42, Number 1, March 1961 - also online on the National Park Service website (historical overview of the most competitive hunting area)
  • Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied : Journey to Inner North America from 1832 to 1834 . 2 volumes with illustrations by Karl Bodmer , Koblenz, 1840–41. Reprint by L. Borowsky, Munich, 1979. (travel report with many contemporary paintings)

Web links

  • David J. Wishart: American Fur Company . In: Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, University of Nebraska