"Then, toward the end of the 1500s, the evolution of style transformed the beaver hat into a necessary accoutrement for the well bred and well heeled. Suddenly the beaver--one of the world's most intriguing creatures--became the most sought-after commodity of the fur trade. Its popularity would not be surpassed for more than two hundred years" (FFE, 13).
"In 1658 two French explorers, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers, became the first whites to circumnavigate Lake Superior by sailing south along the North Shore. When they returned, they brought a flotilla of Native Americans with fur pelts, beginning interest in the fur trade in the Lake Superior region."
"Benjamin Roberts, the Indian commissary in charge of regulating the trade at Michilimackinac during Robert Rogers’s tenure, wrote that 1767 was 'the first year the traders were permitted to winter amongst the Indians at their villages and hunting grounds.'"
Northwest Company Runs Trade on Superior
1768 - 1804
"From 1768 until 1804, the North West Company brought hundreds of traders and voyageurs to their headquarters at Grand Portage to exchange west-bound trade goods for east-bound pelts."