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The Red River Rebellion Essay

1947 words - 8 pages

The Red River Rebellion

During the late 1860s the Red River Settlement was rapidly changing and along with these changes came multiple causes and conflicts that would subsequently lead to a resistance called the Red River Rebellion. Many profound changes occurred in the Red River Settlement that had caused problems and hostility among the inhabitants to emerge such as:the arrival of Canadians to the settlement, the economic problems and the decline of the Hudson Bay Company. However, the Red River Rebellion was sparked by the Hudson Bay Company selling Rupert’s Land to the new Dominion of Canada without consulting with the inhabitants nor paying any regard to their interests.The ...view middle of the document...

One of the most prominent members of the Orange Order was Dr. John Schultz. He arrived at the Red River Settlement in the 1860s. Schultz took over the only newspaper in the colony, The NorWester, and published numerous anti-Metis views. Consequently, agitating the Metis and increasing the tension and uncertainty among the Metis. Schultz also organized a small group of anti-Metis supporters into the Canadian Party, which he hoped would eventually gain dominance over the settlement. Schultz actions led to further animosity and rancor with the Metis.

Another factor that contributed to the rising hostility at the Red River Settlement was the economic problems and the decline of the Hudson Bay Company. Before the 1860s, the colonists and the Metis managed to work cooperatively with each other because the economy of the Red River Settlement depended heavily upon the needs of the Hudson Bay Company. However, the depleting bison number, the failing crops and the near extinction of fur-bearing animals all disturbed the fragile balance that existed within the colony as well as aided the decline of the Hudson Bay Company. With all the economic problems mentioned above, the majority of the populace of the Red River Settlement had lost their main source of livelihood. For example, the bison hunt provided the Metis of their main income and profoundly relied upon it to give them their supply of pemmican to last the winter. With the bison resources nearly exhausted, the Metis not only have to find another source of income but they also needed to find an alternative for the pemmican which was a staple for their diet during the winter seasons. On another matter, the failing crops meant that the Hudson Bay Company had lost its main supplier of food and produce for its network of fur-trading posts throughout the Northwest.The failing crops also meant that many Scottish farmers were without income and possibly had very little to no food at their disposal. To complicate matters further, the Hudson Bay Company’s growing lack of interest towards Rupert’s Land was a cause of economic instability as well. Fur-bearing animals were becoming scarce, thus the decline in fur-trade. Consequently, it became the cause of the Hudson Bay Company’s downturn considering its prime commercial focus was the fur-trade. The decline of the Hudson Bay Company meant the company could not properly govern its territory. Maintaining control over such a vast land was not exactly easy thereby the Hudson Bay Company was extremely interested in relinquishing control of Rupert’s Land.

On November of 1869, the Hudson Bay Company resigned its control of Rupert’s Land on the condition that it received a cash payment of £300,000, 2.8 million hectares of prairie farmland and the right to continue the fur trade, although without the monopoly it previously possessed to the Canadian government. The inhabitants of the Red River Settlement, especially the Metis, were greatly angered by this...

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