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Here and there these adventurous traders built little forts. Some were nothing more than small log-houses,

others were groups of buildings surrounded by high palisades, with bastions, or low towers of squared logs, on which small cannon were mounted. A mere handful of men could hold one of these forts against a whole tribe of angry Indians. But, as a rule, the Hudson's Bay officers managed the redmen so well that the strength of their defences was not tried.

The   About 1783 the fur-trad-North-West ing merchants of Mont-

Company.   real formed the North-INDIAN MASK FROM THE

West Company, and it soon became   PACIFIC COAST.

very important. Its trading-posts were often built close beside those of the older company, and its traders also did good service in exploring the country.

Alexander A notable man

Mackenzie. amongst them was Alexander Mackenzie, a S c o t c h Highlander. In 1789 he made a journey of over two thousand miles, from Fort Chippewyan, on Lake Athabasca, to the Arctic Ocean and back. He travelled with a few Indians in a birch-bark canoe, by Slave Lake and the great Mackenzie River (c a 11 e d after him), and was away less than four


Mackenzie now made up his mind to cross the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, but before starting he went to London to learn how to find the latitude and


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