In 1668 two English ships sailed for Hudson Bay to evaluate trade opportunities in the area. The expedition was instigated by two French fur traders called Médard des Groseilliers and Pierre-Esprit Radisson who had discovered from the Cree that the area was good for furs. After approaching a group of Boston businessmen, the two travelled to England where they commissioned the vessels.

Following a successful trade mission, on 2nd May 1670 King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to incorporate the The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay (commonly called the Hudson’s Bay Company) at the instigation of the King’s cousin, Prince Rupert who became the first governor of the company. The Charter granted the Company a monopoly of trade with the indigenous populations in any area where rivers flowed into the Bay. This area, covering approximately one and a half million square miles, was named Rupert’s Land in honour of the first governor.

The Hudson’s Bay Company is still in existence. You can find out more about its history at the Company’s web site, including the full text of the Charter.