In 374 Basilea, a Roman military station, was first mentioned in the records as a bishop’s seat. In 1225 the first bridge was built across the Rhine thus laying the foundations for the center of trade and commerce. In 1460 the University of Basle was founded by Pope Pius II. The famous Erasmus of Rotterdam made it the center of humanism. In 1501 a long conflict with the House of Habsburg ended and the town joined the Swiss Confederation.
The Hudson’s Bay Company
In the seventeenth century, the demand for furs was so great that white men traveled everywhere in search of them, often threatening the local ecology and peoples. Among the most daring traders and explorers in New France was Pierre Esprit Radisson, who had an extraordinary knowledge of the region. On his return from a long and difficult expedition to Hudson Bay in 1665, he was discouraged by the French lack of interest and approached the English. Vast resources, as well as a passage to the East, were to be had in the north. On May 2, 1670, English King Charles II granted a charter to “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay,” better known as the Hudson’s Bay Company, or, as it is called today, the Bay.
In 1739, once French-English territorial disputes were settled, the trading posts in Hudson Bay sent to London 69,911 beaver pelts, the furs of 15,196 martens, 355 otters, 1,011 lynxes, 853 wolverines, 266 bears, and 454 wolves, and the hides of 76 moose and 14 deer.