The first American trading post in North Dakota was Fort Lisa, established by Manuel Lisa along the Missouri River in 1809.
The War of 1812 stopped the fur trade business for about 14 years.
James Kipp established Kipp’s Post in northwestern North Dakota in 1826 and Fort Clark in 1831.
Upper Missouri refers to the northern part of the Missouri River.
John Jacob Astor founded the American Fur Company, the largest and most successful fur company in the United States.
Kenneth McKenzie built Fort Union, the largest post on the Upper Missouri. It was in business almost 40 years.
Kenneth McKenzie, nicknamed the “King of the Upper Missouri,” used alcohol to trick Indians into trading their furs cheaper.
A cat was one of the most prized possessions of a fur trading fort because it helped control the population of mice.
The Yellowstone was the first steamboat to travel on the Missouri River in North Dakota, reaching Fort Union in 1832.
George Catlin and Karl Bodmer were artists who became famous for drawings and paintings of American Indians and landscapes in the Upper Missouri.
Prince Maximilian was a German scientist who studied and wrote reports on the customs of American Indian tribes, as well as animals, plants, and minerals of the Upper Missouri.
The steamboat St. Peter brought the worst smallpox epidemic ever to North Dakota.
Millions of bison were killed as their hides and tongues became more valuable than beaver pelts.
By the 1860s the fur trade business was declining because the U.S. Army sent its own traders to army forts, fewer fur-bearing animals were available, and steamboats made more money carrying other kinds of cargo.
Fort Clark closed in 1861, and Fort Union closed in 1867.