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234   HISTORY OF CANADA.

and the Alaska boundary question. The latter has arisen from the very general language used in the treaty with Russia in 1825, just mentioned. A joint boundary commission is now (1896) at work making exact surveys of the region with a view to the final settlement of our north-western boundary line. The Behring Sea dispute must be discussed in a later chapter.

The Pacific Coast Fur Trade.—After the close of the war of 1812 the North-West Company held the exclusive control of the fur trade beyond the mountains. After the union of the two companies in 1821, Fort George (the old Astoria) was aban

doned for a better site higher up the Columbia River, where a strong palisaded and bastioned post was established, and named Fort Vancouver. It remained the head-quarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in New Caledonia until the Treaty of Oregon (1846) gave the region of the lower Columbia to the United States. Fort Victoria (formerly Fort Camosun), on Vancouver Island, was then made the

company's headquarters. During all these years the fur trade was vigorously carried on, not only through the interior posts, but also all along the coasts to Alaskan territory. For many years, indeed, the Hudson's Bay Company held a lease of the strip of land at the south of Alaska. They carried on a profitable trade at all times with the rival Russian-American Fur Company, to whom they sold provisions in return for furs.

The Red River Settlement Acquires Stability.—At the other extreme of the company's domain, Selkirk's Red River settlement slowly acquired stability. While in the colony in 1816, Lord Selkirk concluded a bargain with the Indian tribes of the Red River region, by which, in return for an annual gift of one hundred pounds of "good marketable tobacco" to each of the two tribes (Crees and Salteaux), they transferred to him the territory included in the colony. A free grant of one hundred acres was made to each of the settlers, and Lord Selkirk promised to send them a Presbyterian minister. The promise was not

BASTION, FORT VANUOU A' ER.

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