The Infrastructure of the Fur Trade in the American Southwest, 1821-1840

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John Barton


Careful study of the published history of the American Southwest reveals that historians have not provided a comprehensive analysis of the infrastructure that enabled the fur trade in the American Southwest to thrive. Analysis of that infrastructure unveils an amalgamation of blended characteristics derived from the French, British, and American systems along with characteristics derived from the Southwest's own evolutionary development over time and space. This paper will detail and explain the shared characteristics of the Southwestern fur trade's infrastructure, emphasizing the animals, people, depots, and supplies, during the era of the soft fur trade, which dealt primarily with beaver from 1821 to 1840. This work will show how that infrastructure was significant to the success of the Southwestern Fur Trade.

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