A history of the North American fur trade, based on primary sources. The North American fur trade, set in motion by the discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century, was this continent's biggest business for over three hundred years. Furs harvested by Ojibwa natives in the north woods ended up on the sleeves and hems of French princesses and Chinese emperors. Felt hats on the heads of every European businessman began as beaver pelts carried in birchbark canoes to trading posts dotting the wilderness. Iron tools, woolen blankets, and calico cloth manufactured in England found their way to wigwams along the remote rivers of North America. The fur trade influenced every aspect of life—from how Europeans related to the Indians, how and where settlements were built, to how our nation formed. Drawing on primary sources, including the diaries of Ojibwa, American, and French traders of the period, this Society of School Librarians International Honor Book gives readers a glimpse of a little-known story from our past.