By 1801 the Hudson’s Bay and XY companies had established fur-trading posts in the area. That same year the North West Company’s Alexander Henry abandoned Chaboillez’s post and built a new one, later called Fort Henry, on the opposite bank of the Red River. Henry established posts in other parts of what is now North Dakota and wrote enthusiastically of his visits to the Mandan. Fur-trading companies continued to build trading posts throughout the area until the late 1830s when the fur trade began to decline. In time a community of Native Americans and Métis (people of mixed Native American and European ancestry) grew up around the fur-trading posts. Métis staffed the trains of carts carrying furs and merchandise between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Permanent white settlement had started in 1812, when a group of Scottish and Irish settlers under the sponsorship of Thomas Douglas, 5th earl of Selkirk, left Winnipeg in what is now Canada to start a colony at Pembina. These settlers began farming and built log houses and a stockade, which they named Fort Daer. In 1818 they founded the state’s first church and first school. Britain and the United States agreed on the 49th parallel as the boundary between the territory of the two nations in 1818, and when a U.S. survey in 1823 showed that the Fort Daer settlers were no longer in British territory, the colony moved across the border to Canada. During the last years of the fur trade many prominent people visited the area of present-day North Dakota, including the naturalist John James Audubon; Paul Wilhelm, the prince of Wurttemberg; and Maximillian, the prince of Wied.
The famous artist George Catlin also visited in 1832, riding aboard the Yellowstone, the first steamboat to sail up the Missouri River to Fort Union. During his eight-year stay, Catlin wrote, painted, or sketched much of what he experienced on the upper Missouri River. Especially valuable are his descriptions of many of the ceremonies of the Mandan prior to their decimation by smallpox in 1837. The remaining Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa moved near Fort Berthold, where their descendants live today. "North Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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