An extended scene from Oregon Experience: Fort Vancouver. Watch the full film on OPB.
Produced by Beth Harrington for Oregon Public Broadcasting, and edited by Dan Evans, Fort Vancouver explores the nexus of the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest. In the 19th century, the Hudson’s Bay Company controlled large swathes of North America, all in pursuit of beaver pelts, which could be fashioned into men’s hats.
“Those beaver hats were incredibly valuable. They were like having a Rolex watch today. It was a status symbol.”
– Doug Wilson, Archaeologist, National Park Service
Fort Vancouver was the Hudson’s Bay Company’s main trading outpost on the West Coast. It became a melting pot of Native Americans, Europeans, mixed race Métis, and Hawaiians. And when American settlers entered the mix, conflict over the fort led directly to the foundation of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia as we know them today.