Talking Beaver – Welcome To Canada
The quest for religious and political freedom is often cited as the reasons Europeans colonized North America, but natural resources were another major draw. These included whales, vast schools of cod, and towering lodgepole pines used for ship’s masts. But the resource that lured explorers across the continent was ACTUALLY the beaver.
After the early European explorers realized that Canada was not the spice-rich Orient, the main mercantile attraction was the beaver, then a population numbering in the millions. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the fashion of the day demanded fur top-hats, which needed beaver pelts. As these hats became more popular, the demand for the pelts grew. Explorers were dispatched deep into the North American wilderness to trap and trade for furs with local natives.
King Henry IV of France saw the fur trade as an opportunity to acquire much-needed revenue and to establish his North American empire. Both English and French fur traders were soon selling beaver pelts in Europe at 20 times their original purchase price.
The first North American coat of arms to depict a beaver was created by Sir William Alexander, who was granted title in 1621 to the area now known as Nova Scotia.
Read More: http://www.members.shaw.ca/kcic1/beaver.html