Hudsons Bay Blankets

The Hudson's Bay Company was chartered by King Charles II of England in 1670. This Royal Charter granted rights to "sole trade and commerce" in a vast wilderness, comprising almost 40% of what is now Canada. As the Company pursued the lucrative fur trade with the native population of this domain, its employees and adventurers explored and established forts and settlements, opening the way for the eventual birth of a nation.

One of the trading commodities most highly prized by the Indians in exchange for their beaver pelts, was the original Hudson's Bay "Point" Blanket. The earliest mention of Hudson's Bay "Point" Blankets is contained in the Minutes of a meeting of the Hudson's Bay Company's London Committee on 16th December, 1779, but there is little doubt that they were an article of trade before this date.

A letter of 1780 to the committee states that: the "Points" are known to every Indian as the price to be paid for each as 2 1/2 points - 2 1/2 beaver, 3 points - 3 beaver, etc.

Hudson's Bay "Point" Blankets were used twice by Admiral Byrd's expeditions to the Antarctic; early Mount Everest expeditions depended on them, and Colonel and Mrs. Charles Lindbergh wore "Point" blanket coats on their flight to Europe by way of Greenland and Iceland. "Point" blankets and "Point" blanket coats were prized for their warmth and durability by prospectors and miners during the gold rush days of the Klondike and Yukon. They have been used in emergencies by Inuit and Eskimos as kayak sails, and to wash the gold out of river graved by excited prospectors. One Hudson's Bay point blanket was used in a Canadian home for over 50 years after being salvaged from a wreck on Lake Superior and spending several years under water!

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