Fur Coats Helped Colonize The World
Unbeknownst to many, the fur trade has been a worldwide industry for as long as man has been in existence. Fur coats were the original garments worn b y human beings, and the role of trading fur and fur coats has played an important and perhaps underrated role in the history of people.
It was actually the trading of fur coats and pelts that played an imperative role in the early contact between European settlers and Native Americans. By the 1500's, the passengers of European fishing vessels would trade objects made of metal, such as knives or silverware in exchange for fur coats made by the Native Americans. That being said, they didn't wear the kinds of furs you'd see making up pls size fur coats nowadays; the Native Americans made their pelts out of beaver, sea otter, skunk, bear, and once the fur trade moved farther west, buffalo.
However, before the first European stepped foot in the America's, Russia was the leader when it came to fur coats. Does that really surprise anyone? There are few places in the world, if any, that have rougher and longer winters than those that occur in Russia. Therefore, there would seemingly be no better place to own a fur coat. In fact, before coal distribution, fur coats were the best resource for surviving against the cold.
Russia was the source of fur coats for Europe before the discovery of North America. Once the fur trade starting flourishing between Europe and America, the market in Russia began to dwindle. However, in their heyday, Russia provided raw fur pelts from martens, wolves, and foxes, to name a few.
A lesser known fact is that it was actually the search for sea otters that led to the expansion of the Russian Empire. Most notably, Russian explorers "discovered" Alaska, due almost entirely to their desire to find sea otter furs, which had become increasing popular.
This led to what was known as the Martime Fur Trade, which was a ship-based system aimed at the elusive fur coats available in the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. While the Maritime fur trade was run by Canadians and Russians, the main purpose of it was to open trade with China, which provided exclusive items such as tea, silk, and porcelain to name a few.
Obviously, there were many reasons for global exploration, and to assume that the fur trade was the only reason for the discovery of the Americas, Siberia, and the Maritime area would be a preposterous assumption. But it is an undeniable fact that the worldwide industry of the fur trade played a large role, if not the most significant role, in the exploration of Siberia an North America.
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