Hudson's Bay Company

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Hudson's Bay Company

Parallel form(s) of name

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      Other form(s) of name

      • HBC

      Identifiers for corporate bodies

      Description area

      Dates of existence

      1670 - present day


      Established by royal charter as an English fur trading company mandated to explore and exploit large parts of North America.


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      General context

      Incorporated by English Royal Charter on May 2, 1670 as a fur trading company to explore and exploit parts of North America centered around Hudson Bay. This area was given the name "Rupert's Land" for Prince Rupert, cousin of King Charles II. The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) operated an extensive network of fur trading forts from York Factory (now in the province of Manitoba, Canada). Challenged by French fur traders and later the North West Company of Montreal, the HBC did enjoy periods when it monopolized trade with the Indigenous peoples. By the late 19th century, free trade efforts brought an end to the HBC monopoly.

      In 1869, the company returned Rupert’s Land to Britain as part of the Deed of Surrender. British parliament then gave the territory to the Dominion of Canada as per the Rupert's Land Act of 1868. In 1870, Rupert's Land was renamed the Northwest Territories. Many towns and cities grew around old HBC forts, and often took their names from these forts.

      The HBC itself transformed into a retail empire, offering everything from furs to dishes at its stores. It continues to operate today.

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          AMICUS No.: 112196

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