Samuel Black

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Samuel Black (ca. 1780 – February 8, 1840) was a Canadian fur trader and explorer noted for his exploration of the Finlay River and its tributaries in present-day north-central British Columbia, which helped to open up the Muskwa, Omineca, and Stikine areas to the fur trade; as well for his role as Chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company for the Columbia District.

Early life and career

Black was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and went to work for the North West Company, headquartered in Montreal, in 1803. Assigned to work in the Athabasca Department (mostly in present-day Alberta) in 1805, Black served as a clerk there for fifteen years. For much of this time, he took an active role in the sometimes violent competition between the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company.

By 1820, Black's violent activities against Hudson's Bay Company employees had so imperilled his safety that he withdrew across the Rockies to the North West Company fort at McLeod Lake in New Caledonia. With the merger of the two fur trading companies the following year, Black was appointed to the post at Fort St. John as Chief Trader.


In the summer of 1824, at the behest of Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, Black was assigned to set out with a crew of ten from Rocky Mountain Portage (now Hudson's Hope) "to the Sources of Finlay's Branch and Northwest Ward". The purpose of the expedition was to assess the region's suitability for extension of...
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