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HISTORY OF CANADA.   141

Mackenzie Reaches the Pacific.—The most distinguished of the many explorers in the service of the North-West Company was Alexander afterwards Sir Alexander Mackenzie. In 1789,

leaving the company's post, Fort

Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca, Mackenzie, by way of the river which bears his name, reached the Arctic Ocean. Again, in 1792, he ascended to the head waters of the Peace River. Then, after spending the winter trading with the Indians of this region, he crossed the Rockies and made his way to the coast of the Pacific, proudly inscribing upon a rock which faced the sea, "Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada by

land, July 22nd, 1793." While on SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE. the coast he heard from the natives

of Vancouver's presence in that region. Fort Chippewyan was again reached late in August, after an absence of eleven months.

Simon Fraser—David Thompson.—Others soon followed. In 1805 the North-West Company decided to take possession of the region beyond the Rocky Mountains by planting their trading posts there. To Simon Fraser the task was assigned, and in that same year the first post in what is now British Columbia was established at Rocky Mountain Portage. In the following years other posts were planted, and in 1808, by the river which bears his name, Fraser reached the Pacific. David Thompson, the astronomer, after whom the Thompson River is named, is another notable figure among these pioneers of British Columbia, or New Caledonia, as it was then called. By a more southerly route than that followed by Fraser, he crossed the Rocky Mountains in 1800 by the Bow River Pass, through which the Canadian Pacific Railway now enters British Columbia. He continued his explorations during the years following, and, in 1811, by way of the Columbia River, reached the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria.—At the mouth of the Columbia, Thompson found a post being planted by a new rival. This was the Pacific Fur Company, of which John Jacob Astor, of New York, was the leading

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