This comprehensive history of the native and maritime fur trade in Alaska during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is without precedent. The Bering Strait formed the nexus of the circumpolar fur trade in which Russians, British, Americans, and members of fifty native nations competed and cooperated. The desire to dominate the fur trade fed the European expansion into the most remote regions of Asia and America and was an agent of massive change in these regions.
Award-winning author John R. Bockstoce fills a major gap in the historiography of the area in covering the scientific, commercial, and foreign-relations implications of the northern fur trade. In addition, the book provides rare insight into the relationship between the Western powers and the Native Americans who provided them with fur, ivory, and whalebone in exchange for manufactured goods, tobacco, tea, alcohol, and hundreds of other things. But this is also the story of the enterprising individuals who energized the Alaskan fur trade and, in doing so, forever altered the region's history.