American Fur Trade Rendezvous System, Hudson Bay Company, Rocky Mountians, Fur Trade


In 1825 Wtlliam H. Ashley, co-owner of the Ashley-Henry Fur Company operating out of St. Louis Missouri, instituted the annual rendezvous system. The rendezvous, a summertime gathering of fur trappers, allowed Ashley's employees to remain in the West year-round to trap beaver. A yearly caravan brought supplies out from St. Louis to the rendezvous, where trappers sold their year's catch of beaver and purchased supplies for the oncoming season. Lasting through the summer of 1840, this system of resupplying trappers attracted a variety of people to the rendezvous sites, including Native-Americans, Protestant missionaries traveling to Oregon, adventurers from Europe, and representatives of rival fur trade companies. Ashley's company, and all of its subsequent incarnations, of which the Rocky Mountain Fur Company is the most well-known, competed directly with the American Fur Company and the British-owned Hudson's Bay Company.